Verizon unveils managed Microsoft Lync service
Verizon's new Managed UC&C for Microsoft Lync Server 2010 can be combined with SIP Trunking using managed session border controllers (SBCs) to create a comprehensive UC&C infrastructure, the U.S. carrier announced last week.
Verizon also noted that Acme Packet's (Nasdaq: APKT) session border controllers, which help set up and complete VoIP communications, recently achieved certification with Verizon SIP Trunking and Microsoft Lync Server 2010.
The U.S. carrier said its Managed UC&C for Microsoft Lync Server 2010 enables businesses to adopt communications and collaboration throughout their organizations while leaving the service and infrastructure management to Verizon. The managed UC&C offering is available in the United States and 19 European countries.
Jeff Neikirk, manager of global unified communications & collaboration for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, noted in an interview with Telecompetitor.com that enterprise customers may have equipment and software from a variety of vendors including Verizon (NYSE: VZ), Siemens (NYSE: SI), Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Avaya, Polycom (Nasdaq: PLCM), IBM (NYSE: IBM), Broadworks, Salesforce.com and others that must interoperate with Microsoft Lync. Verizon already has experience working with many of those vendors and will work closely with customers to determine their individual deployment and integration needs, he explained.
Commenting on the Verizon announcement, Cindy Whelan, principal analyst at Current Analysis, said implementation and integration of new services into enterprise communications environments have been the "greatest challenges" to UC&C adoption. Verizon's ability to deliver managed services and its Microsoft Gold expertise in delivering professional services specifically for Microsoft Lync Server 2010 "can create a catalyst for effective UC&C adoption across a global enterprise," she said.
In a blog, Whelan advised enterprises and carriers to focus on integration of UC with enterprise business processes.
"Starting with a small implementation, maybe a single application or group within the enterprise, could enable the enterprise IT organization to learn how UC-based business process integration might solve a problem. Enterprises should think beyond the 'usual' UC features to understand how these new collaboration models might improve communications with vendors and customers and look to their partners to help them realize these benefits," she wrote.
This is sound advice for enterprises of all sizes. Taking the process one step at a time reduces the risks of implementing UC and enables IT departments to get used to the idea of UC.Starting with VoIP might be a good first step, particularly for smaller enterprises.