Maximizing Efficiencies with Unified Communications


We are right in the middle of the New Efficiency Launch featuring Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7 and Exchange Server 2010.  I have been delivering the Exchange Server 2010 Track and thought it would be a good idea to recap a few key items with Exchange (and OCS) that can help an organization be more efficient (IT and End User).

So, how exactly can you maximize efficiencies and cut costs out of IT?  I will focus on capabilities of Exchange Server 2010 and Office Communications Server 2007 R2 in this post.

Exchange Server 2010

Self Service: When help desk has to get involved for simple user tasks, there are soft and hard costs that come into play.  Why should a simple task like creating or managing a Distribution Group require the Help Desk or an Exchange Admin to be involved?  The same goes for the updating of simple user data like an office address or cell phone number in the GAL?  In Exchange Server 2010, users can go to the Exchange Control Panel and have access to Distribution Groups where they can create, manage and join distribution groups on their own.  From this same interface, users can also edit simple meta data such as office address and cell numbers without the need to involve an IT person.

High Availability at an affordable price: With the new Database Availability Groups, many companies can now implement a highly available Exchange infrastructure without the need of expensive hardware and complicated architectures.  We took the best of CCR and SCR from Exchange Server  2007 and made it even better.  Now, you can have up to 16 copies of an Exchange database replicated on multiple servers (only one copy of a database per server).  In terms of configuration and management, the complexities of Windows Server Clustering is also abstracted out and Exchange just “takes care” of it.

For more information on High Availability, visit: http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/2010/en/us/high-availability.aspx 

Unified Messaging offers a great Voicemail solution that integrates with many existing PBXs (may require a gateway).  UM in Exchange 2010 supports custom Call Answering Rules that allow a user to configure custom outgoing messages / options for a specific user or set of users.  Also, with the Voice to Text preview capability, the triage of voicemails is also simplified.

For more information on Unified Messaging, visit: http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/2010/en/us/unified-messaging.aspx 

Office Communications Server 2007 R2

Save on Travel: With features such as Web Conferencing and Audio Conferencing, companies can save on travel costs as well as audio conferencing bridges.  Depending on the needs, the on-premise OCS server can host web conferences for employees as well as anonymous users.  Since video and audio can be easily incorporated, many different meeting scenarios can be met with this solution.

For more information on Web and Audio Conferencing, visit: http://www.microsoft.com/communicationsserver/en/in/audio-video-web-conferencing.aspx 

Enterprise Voice: The Software base Voice over IP (VoIP) solution of OCS provides quite a bit of flexibility for a user as well as the IT Administrator.  Because the user’s “phone” can be their computer, it doesn’t matter if the user has to move offices or has to work from outside the office – their “phone” goes with them and there is no need for rewiring or special expensive equipment. 

For more information on Enterprise Voice, visit: http://www.microsoft.com/communicationsserver/en/in/enterprise-voice.aspx

Please understand that there is SOOOOO much more to Exchange Server 2010 and Office Communications Server 2007 R2 than what I listed above.  I just wanted to highlight a few of the key items that really gets me excited.  If you want more information on either of these two products, you can visit:

http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/2010/en/us/default.aspx or http://www.microsoft.com/communicationsserver/en/in/default.aspx

Harold Wong
blogs.technet.com/haroldwong

Comments (3)

  1. Harold Wong says:

    David: I would recommend putting together a quick little training session (recorded) and get that out.  Focus on some of the key vocal users who will choose to promote to fellow workers just because they love the features themselves.

    Derek: I can see the challenge when comparing to Exchange 2007 LCR, but to me the DAG solution (Mailbox Resiliency) in 2010 is MUCH more affordable than SCC and SCR. In order to use SCC or SCR, you would need to Enterprise Licenses of Exchange Server 2007 as well as a second physical server.  For SCC, you would need shared storage as well.  With Exchange 2010, you could use two Standard Licenses of Exchange Server 2010 to implement Mailbox Resiliency, plus take advantage of SATA drives versus SCSI.  At the same time, I would not put LCR into the same category as SCR or Mailbox Resiliency in 2010.

    Harold

  2. David Yeoh says:

    i like the self service concept. Any tips on how to get user buy in?

  3. Derek Silva says:

    I’d like to dispute that DAG is "affordable." It’s hardly affordable for a small company using Exchange 2007’s LCR or SCC. Purchasing another $4,000 server, another Exchange license (if not covered under EA/SA), etc. It’s increasingly apparent that Microsoft is no longer interested in service SMBs.

Skip to main content