Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Microsoft UC Cost-Savings Calculator

In today’s economy, IT budgets continue to shrink, and organizations are having to look closely at every project to ensure it makes sense for their business.

There exists a much broader UC Business Value Assessment that Voice Partners such as Navantis can offer, but to get a quick sense of potential savings, you can use this…


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Exchange 2010 Unified Messaging Availability Quick Reference

How does Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Unified Messaging respond to certain outage scenarios? Here’s a quick look, but be sure to click the link at the bottom for the full details…

Mailbox Server Unavailable

If a Mailbox server for a user is unavailable, the UM server will continue to accept calls on behalf of the user. But the user's custom greeting won't be played. Instead, a standard greeting will be used for calls to that user

Hub Transport Server Unavailable

If the Hub Transport server is unavailable, the UM server will continue to accept calls and queue the calls, depending on how you've set up the queuing limit, until the Hub Transport server is available.

Domain Controllers Unavailable

In a situation where all domain controllers are unavailable, the UM server will be unable to accept calls.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Clickable Phone Numbers

Now that we have the ability to click-to-call with Office Communicator, it’s natural that we come to expect to be able to click phone numbers wherever we see them!

Just like web links and email links in the past, what we really need is a ubiquitous way to identify phone numbers and make them clickable…

tel: to the Rescue

In Windows, where http: makes a web link clickable, and mailto: makes an email address clickable, tel: makes a phone number clickable.

So looking at my screenshot below, the first number is just text, the second number has “tel:” in front of it so is now clickable, and the third has the visible text different from the hyperlink value – so the user doesn’t see the “tel”.


The conversation window is what came up when I clicked on the link.  It gives you the second chance to actually dial, because as I’ve shown, the visible text can be different from the actual hyperlink text.  The number could show 905… but really be 900!

Applications can render their phone numbers this way, so that the consuming application, in this case Outlook on Windows, can display the number as clickable.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Top 5 Reasons or Motivations for choosing Microsoft Unified Communications

In no particular order…


  • The company wishes to save monthly costs for third-party audio (i.e. Telus or Bell) and web (i.e. WebEx) conferencing
  • The company wishes to reduce travel, but is concerned about sacrificing the quality of in-person meetings
  • The company wants to empower their users to collaborate more effectively by removing barriers, and providing an easy-to-use and robust collaboration infrastructure

Remote Access

  • The company has a lot of remote users and they need access to communications tools while outside the office and away from their desk, including full telephony, without the need for a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection


  • The company is challenged with inefficient communications and the inability to reach the right person at the right time
  • Providing access to a person’s willingness and availability to communicate overcomes these challenges and increases the efficiency of communications in the organization

Extend the life of existing PBX

  • The company needs to add some phones, but the cost of doing so is prohibitive (new line cards, sets, licenses, etc.)
  • The company instead can tie into an OCS deployment via SIP or TDM and a gateway, and light up phone users off the new OCS platform
  • This could serve as a slow transition to an eventual full OCS telephony deployment, but it doesn’t need to – this company is by this point enjoying Instant Messaging, Presence, and Conferencing from OCS!

Exchange Voicemail

  • The company is paying high maintenance costs for its legacy voicemail system which requires separate management skills to administer and support it
  • The company is already enjoying email in Exchange Server
  • The company can decommission its legacy voicemail system and enjoy Unified Messaging for all users, with a single directory, management, and security infrastructure!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Restricting called numbers in OCS Enterprise Voice

When configuring a route for Enterprise Voice, you want to match long distance numbers but you do not want to match high-risk numbers, such as 900 and 976.

How do you do that in a regular expression?

It looks like this...


This expression is allowing +411 or +1 XXX YYY ZZZZ, but not any number where XXX is 900, or 976, or 242 ... you get the idea. 

Incidentally, the XXX set above is a comprehensive list you can use in your dial plans as a best practice.

So the basic syntax for "except" is ?!().  Anything in the brackets will be excluded in the match processing.

IM/Presence in Office? Be sure to buy the right version!

It recently came to my attention that in order to enjoy Presence and Instant Messaging from within Office applications such as Outlook, you must be running the Professional version of the Office Suite.  Even if you have Office Communicator and Office Communications Server deployed!

It’s all outlined in the comparison of server integration features between Office suites available through volume licensing:

Unified instant messaging, presence, and voice
Easily communicate with others in different locations or time zones using familiar Office tools. Communicator and Office Communications Server operate with popular Office programs to provide a range of different communication options, including instant messaging (IM), phone, and voice, video, or Web conferencing.

Office Standard

Office Professional Plus

See the availability of others—via author indicators when co-authoring to the address field when composing an e-mail—from directly within Office applications through Office Communications Server.
Initiate IM and voice directly from Office applications, through integration with Office Communications Server. Point to an author’s or manager’s name in File Properties—available from the Info tab in Backstage view—to surface a contact card and initiate a voice or IM conversation.
Record and listen to name pronunciation recordings wherever presence is found with the new contact card, which includes a recording tied to the user's voice-mail box for name pronunciation.
Have IT staff configure MailTips to give users of Outlook 2010 and Exchange Server 2010 important information before they click Send to avoid distributing messages to inappropriate recipients. For example, users can be notified that they are about to send a message outside the organization or are using Reply All.
Take advantage of voice-mail transcripts that are now sent directly to a user's inbox along with the recording. The Microsoft's voice-to-text engine automatically transcribes a text preview of recorded messages.




I’ve been fortunate enough to have been running the Professional version for so long that this hasn’t come up for me, so I thought perhaps others might benefit from the information as well.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Synchronizing a SharePoint 2007 Document Library with SharePoint Workspace 2010

Synchronizing SharePoint Document Libraries is a great way to enable both offline access and redundancy.  I don’t need to worry about accessing my files while offline, and I also sleep easy knowing there are two copies of my data, both of which are easy for me to access (as opposed to trying to get a tape backup, for instance).

I recently tried to synchronize a SharePoint 2007 Document Library using SharePoint Workspace 2010 (formerly Groove).  This was not allowed, however.  I received the message below:


Yikes!  I have to wait until SharePoint 2010 is deployed before I can benefit from this?  Do I have to find the Groove 2007 install bits and try to revert back?

The answer is, thankfully, no.  The way to get around this is to create a Groove Workspace instead…


… and pick 2007 as the Workspace version (I have not confirmed if 2010 will also work) …


… then use the SharePoint Files tool …


… to point to a library on the server (Click the Setup button and enter the URL to your Document Library) …


I can sleep easy again!