In my previous article, The Future of Exchange, I speculated on what are the next steps for Exchange which essentially is what’s next in its development as the workforce and the workplace evolve. Part of that speculation included a tighter integration with the complimentary products for Exchange; SharePoint and Lync.
In most corporations today communication, is at the forefront of user productivity. We’re starting to see that integration between e-mail, real time communications and collaboration is becoming integral to a company’s ability to deliver. As a result, many companies are looking to technology providers to fill the gap that public internet solutions can no longer provide. Companies are mainly looking for three things:
- Security: Is the companies information safe? Can we control how it is accessed and by whom?
- Flexibility: Can I deploy or deliver services on demand?
- Cross-platform Communication: For example, can a user transfer an e-mail conversation seamlessly into a real-time communication?
As Exchange and the Office server products have evolved, so has their integration with each other. The functionalities offered in each product complement each other well. One can send an e-mail whether you’re in Exchange, SharePoint or Lync. It’s simple to start a quick conversation regarding a document or an e-mail within each program even within the document itself. In Outlook, you can sync SharePoint calendars, libraries and contacts. Overall the products are seamlessly integrated allowing for unified communications and collaboration.
In addition to integration among core Office server products and Office applications Exchange, SharePoint and Lync are also integrating with social applications such as Facebook and LinkedIn as well as public instant messaging systems such as Windows Live, AOL and Yahoo. On top of it all, Lync also allows for real time communication federation between separate private companies deployments. Together these products provide a seamless user experience enabling cross-platform communications internally and externally.
Obviously there is a great deal to consider and plan for when choosing to deploy a comprehensive integrated messaging and collaboration solution in a corporate environment. My personal experience with the integration among these platforms thus far has been largely positive; although each deployment certainly brings its own challenges.
From an administrator’s perspective, once designed and deployed, the greater challenge can be educating your users on features and functionality. I’ve included some links below that are great resources for users to get started.