Churchill Said it Best…

Monitoring, Diagnostics, and Reporting Can Ensure UC Presents Well

Matt Christopher

August 31, 2015

Confessions of A UC Blogger

I am a shameless Microsoft UC apologist. I have been involved with Microsoft UC since LCS. I have always been an early adopter and have advocated for Microsoft UC for over a decade. I have gone toe-to-toe with legacy voice and conferencing solutions. I appreciate the flexibility and power of Lync/Skype for Business and I take it personally when people second guess Lync or blame Lync for things that are not Lync’s fault.

Stumbling Along

Over the past several weeks, I have been working with a company that has been struggling with Lync conferencing. They have had challenges with external users being able to dial in. There have been a series of audio quality issues with certain users.

On several occasions, I have heard people sigh in frustration and disgust and direct everyone to their Avaya dial-in bridge or Go-to-Meeting. Then, I sigh in frustration and disgust as I have to dial a bunch of digits, announce my name, and endure the series of beeps and interruptions as people join and introduce themselves.

The Good Ol’ Days Weren’t Necessarily Better

Here are some of my favorite examples of the joys of old school conference calls:

David Grady: The Conference Call

A Conference Call in Real Life

You’ll Still Be Ugly, I’ll Be Sober in the Morning

As I reflect back on this experience, I think of a famous Winston Churchill anecdote.

As the story goes, Winston Churchill was leaving the Commons bar one evening when he came across a tea totaling Member of Parliament.

“Winston, you’re drunk,” the MP admonished Churchill

Churchill gathered himself and responded, “Madam, you’re ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober.” (Enright, 2001)

Advocates of legacy conferencing/collaboration solutions are the contrarian political opposition of my life. They look down their noses with judgement and disgust and declare that Skype for Business/Lync is broken. Some UC deployments are broken, but they can be fixed. Legacy conferencing solutions will always be cumbersome and inefficient.

So, please help your Microsoft UC deployment “sober up”.

  1. Plan and Deploy

    1. Make sure your deployment is properly architected for the size of your planned rollout including servers, networks, circuits and user devices.
  2. Assess
    1. Make sure your WAN, LAN, and wireless infrastructure are ready for all UC traffic: voice, video, and application sharing.

      1. Validate your bandwidth
      2. Validate your QoS settings
    2. Monitor
      1. Give Microsoft UC the best chance of ongoing success by monitoring the servers, the networks, and the circuits.

        1. Proactive server monitoring alerts you before you approach server load thresholds or when certain services randomly falter.
        2. Proactive monitoring on your network can ensure unexpected and unreported configuration drift does not negatively impact UC traffic.
      2. Diagnose
        1. If something does go wrong with your UC deployment, make sure you have tools in place to quickly diagnose the issue, identify the root cause, and effectively remediate.
      3. Report
        1. Your Microsoft UC deployment can suffer from a poor reputation throughout your user community. Effective reporting can serve several purposes:

          1. Trending helps identify potential issues that can be addressed.
          2. Positive trending for user adoption can help validate the investment.
  • Negative to flat trending for user adoption can identify issues with user satisfaction and/or user training.

Your Microsoft UC may be stumbling a bit right now, but with the right tools and some TLC, in too can be sober in the morning.

P.S.:       

Those “Lync” issues that company was experiencing:

  • External users could not dial in because the company had not properly planned for the broad, rapid adoption of Lync and had not ordered enough SIP trunks.
  • Some audio quality issues were from users using their laptop speakers and microphone.
  • Other audio quality issues were from users using “cool gadgets” they had found on Amazon.com.

Sometimes you should not rush to judgement that because someone trips, they’re drunk.

@mc_on_uc