By Ed Wilmes
As I’ve said before (see my earlier post An Addiction that Supports the Way I Work), Microsoft Lync is addictive. It cuts out busywork and improves productivity so easily that it quickly goes viral in an organization. If you are instant-messaging someone, you can just click on their name and call them. If you want to share something that’s on your desktop, one click and it’s shared. Say you want to involve a third person; you just click on their name and they are immediately added to the conference.
Microsoft has done a really good job of making Lync integrate with all its products and making it easy for users to adopt quickly. If an enterprise already has Outlook and Exchange, once it’s implemented Lync is generally easy for personnel to figure out.
Lync is easy for an organization to implement with HP AppSystem for Microsoft Lync; AppSystem will provide all the aspects of Microsoft Lync (except group chat) into the enterprise, and help to integrate this solution quickly and cheaply. Group chat is not automatically provided by the AppSystem; the user will want to integrate it as a custom component for its particular system. Not all features would be ideal for every enterprise, but the shared, vital features are all included in the AppSystem.
Once it’s implemented, Lync is easy for individuals to use. My experience with Lync installations is that we get the product into use quickly, and the users seem to train themselves, it’s so easy to pick up. We have never had so few requests for management of change with a new product—that is, so few requests to educate users on how to use this new technology. In addition to the tools being easy and predictable to interface with, the help system is thorough and works well.
Lync removes communications barriers. That’s another reason why it gets adopted fast. I’d say from my observation that Lync has generally been adopted twice as fast as other unified communications technologies. And I haven’t heard of any problems at all with users getting the hang of it. Pervasive user adoption seems to be inevitable. The mundane communications tasks that we’ve all been doing—looking up phone numbers, dialing them, finding out if the person we are trying to reach is there—are eliminated by Lync automation, just like robotizing an assembly line. When you call, you just want to contact the person, you don’t want to dial numbers or leave messages, right? This big reduction in communication barriers is so easy with Lync that it tends to go viral quickly.
The result is more productivity. For example, I’ve often used my PC on Wi-Fi at the airport, talking into a USB-connected headset, making calls using Lync just like I’m at the office, with Microsoft’s real-time CODEC providing voice quality that’s downright spooky, it’s so good. It’s a big productivity boost. My estimate is something like a 20%-30% improvement in productivity, especially if your role requires a lot of interaction.
Organizationally, HP AppSystem for Microsoft Lync gets the enterprise, or a segment of the enterprise, started on Lync quickly, with the flexibility to add capabilities as it proves itself. The AppSystem is intended to take the guesswork out of the deployment cost for Lync based on set parameters. When the product has been adopted into use, the customer can review its success and look at comparative costs. Where the idea has been a pilot, this helps with metrics to carry the idea forward into the organization for cost-effective corporate-wide use, including expanded features if desirable.
The advantages of this “let’s try it out” or “let's just do it” approach have been the following: that IT has happy users who find it easy to use, that Lync is cheaper to manage and more turn-key than prior solutions, and that there tends to be a decrease in user issues regarding communications in comparison to prior solutions.
The disadvantages? There is one. Should I say it? It’s that Lync goes viral. The biggest problem is that once you roll this out partway, in a segment of the organization, users will talk with their peers and all of them will want it. It generates demand.
But is demand for increased productivity a bad thing?
Learn more about HP AppSystem for Microsoft Lync
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Ed Wilmes is a Unified Communications Portfolio Manager. Ed's 23 years of IT and communications experience spans hardware, software and systems engineering; services in a variety of capacities, including R&D; product and system architecture and development (mobility and VoIP); solution development; sales and business development; and new product creation.
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