Successful people learn from their mistakes. Greatly successful people learn from the mistakes of others. Read this, and learn about the mistakes others make when choosing to use Microsoft Skype for Business as a PBX replacement.
Skype for Business is well entrenched as a Instant Messaging (IM) and Presence tool, but it is not a common place application for a phone system. Gartner and all the trade rags give it nearly the highest of reviews, and Microsoft is considered a market leader and visionary in voice. Yet, deployments don’t always work as expected. Here is the kicker. Skype for Business does work, but only if the surrounding cast members are ready for it. Here is what we see.
- Active Directory needs to be cleaned like a sports car before a race. No straggling OU or Group Policies. Devices and Mobility need to have correct security to run Skype for Business, and every endpoint that runs Skype for Business needs to have a path with low latency and large queue buffers to handle the traffic.
- Certificate Services need to work both internally and externally. There is a need to test and confirm that an internal certificate authority is working. Certificates are a part of every endpoint registration and logon. If certificate services stop work, so does Skype for Businesses’s ability to service endpoints.
- People conclude that a successful pilot project means that Skype for Business is ready for full deployment. Not necessarily so. Skype for Business clients require bandwidth. Just because 10 devices in the local IT department work like champs doesn’t mean that all 150 users in accounting will be able to run on that same PSTN network, nor will the internal network be able to support all the additional traffic. Performing a thorough network assessment with recommendations is required to alleviate this before starting. Unfortunately, in an attempt to contain costs, this step is often skipped. The wrong time to learn that the switching infrastructure needs an upgrade is after the budget has been presented and approved.
- End point selections need to occur early in the process, not at the end. Your user’s buy in to Unified Communications is contingent on it being a good experience for them. A good handset, headset or Bluetooth device can be the difference between employees calling Skype for Business, “a new stinking phone system,” or a “cool new way to communicate.”
Hope you can avoid everyone else’s pitfalls.
There is a new Resource Manager at the Network Team.
After several months of development work, Michael Heath will be migrating from the title of Solutions Developer to Resource Manager.
Michael comes into the role with an extensive background across the IT spectrum. He has done networking, structured cabling, PC support, server support, network design and software development, and has more than 20 years combined experience in these industries.
Mike Kelly will continue to work at The Network Team as an engineer, supporting customers and addressing network down emergencies in a timely manner. He shall remain a vital part of the company’s engineering staff.