I have real mixed feelings about Microsoft’s Office Communication Server (OCS). I like the assumptions it attacks, and the UC attention it creates – but I find portions of the solution very limiting. It is a different type of beast – that doesn’t quite fit the predefined categories of phone systems. I definately like where OCS is heading, and the significant feature enhancements planned should reduce or eliminate my concerns.
UCStrategies.com published two of my posts on OCS this week. The two posts are completely unrelated except they coincidentally both happen to feature OCS…. kind of an OCS frame of mind lately.
One looks at the role of the mediation server and how the OCS solution could be strengthened with a demarcation gateway. I specifically look at the NET VX series gateways. Basically, the gateway really increases the options and capabilities while simultaneously increasing security. The Microsoft OCS solution offers a lot of UC innovation, but I think it lacks a bit on the traditional telecom side. A demarcation gateway fixes that.
By inserting a demarcation gateway that is endorsed by Microsoft into an OCS environment, the user can significantly increase their capabilities and deployment options. For example, the OCS mediation server can translate between the RT Codec and G.711 codec. With the NET gateway, additional codecs can be selected including the G.729 (compressed) or G.722 (wideband) codecs, or even T.38 (for fax support). This is adding codec support, not translations – the gateways perform direct translation to/from RT Audio.
Full post is here: Making OCS Smarter.
The other piece deals with implementing OCS with consultants and the common pitfall of keeping those consultants focused on the technical aspects. I have lived through an OCS implementation and the technical portion is not easy, but its the easy part. I’ve also lived through the liberation associated with its capabilities – that can be the fun part. Anyone looking at an OCS implementation should be talking to an experienced professional for assistance.
In this post I follow-up with some folks at Aspect. I wrote about their internal OCS implementation a few months back (Hook, Line, and Call Center). This post looks at how they help customers realize UC with OCS.
It is easy to understand why so many users and consultants focus on the technical aspects of an OCS implementation. For one, it isn’t trivial. For most organizations it is their first true significant project of convergence. Major infrastructure changes are usually required, and new technologies need to be learned and implemented. For many consultants, this is the low hanging fruit – easily replicated, easily sold, easy value demonstration. But to truly benefit from OCS, the design needs to be considered from a business perspective.
Full post is here: OCS: The Tech is the Easy Part.