FOXit’s cunning move to Lync exemplifies Project Management excellence

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* Pretoria - Gauteng - South Africa

PRETORIA, South Africa - March 11, 2014 - PRLog -- FOXit, one of South Africa’s fastest growing and most successful providers of project and portfolio management services, recently relocated to new premises and cunningly adopted the right technology to maintain the high level of interaction between engineer staff who were split between remote offices and the company’s head office. In the quest for a solution that could truly facilitate Unified Communications, management at the Company settled on Microsoft Lync.

The Company refers to the technology’s ability to unify communications between internal and external users, external 3rd party platforms and mobile devices, as well as its functionality to offer straightforward adaption to end users and seamless integration into existing Microsoft products.

With the myriad of solutions available in the market, FOXit knew that any investment would have to guarantee ROI and align with the policy of minimum capital expenditure.

Microsoft Lync ticked all the boxes and FOXit utilised the services of one of its own to integrate the solution in order to sustain the level of business operation and communication.

“In our case, we adopted a co-located front-end implementation using Lync 2013 standard. The co-location included: front- and back-end server, mediation server, director and the persistent chat server roles. We opted to use the Linux-based Asterisk PBX as a voice gateway as this is what is acting as our current gateway to our PSTN provider,” explains George Vorster, IT Support Manager at FOXit.

FOXit’s hardware was sufficient to implement a co-located environment and from a software point of view, it was necessary to upgrade all the operating systems on its servers to Microsoft Windows Server 2012. “This was not only a minimum requirement for Lync, but also the need to upgrade software due to our software life cycle,” Vorster continues.

Even though Foxit is a Microsoft partner, which offered it immediate access to a network of partners with the relevant credentials, the Microsoft Lync implementation was seen as an opportunity to expand its field of expertise and do the implementation itself.

“The challenge was that we needed to learn a new technology in such a way that we understood the technical aspects of the Lync UC platform in depth so that we could execute the implementation as efficiently as possible, and successfully integrate Lync with our PSTN gateway service that is based on Asterisk,” Vorster added.

FOXit completed the project in three phases, as per the standard project planning methodologies, which included: assembling the project team, defining project objectives, defining project scope, involving qacco party’s approval, publishing the plan.

The Project was a success and has strengthened its technical proficiency, experience and communications capability.

Vorster outlines a number of tips that he believes can only help companies who find themselves in a similar position:

For a large install based software implementation as in the case of Microsoft Lync , creating a complete project plan is absolutely key.

Lync relies on technologies such as Active Directory. It is important to make sure that your active directory is in excellent health before attempting a Lync implementation. If you have a multi-domain environment, make sure that your replication is functioning optimally and that required active directory attributes (telephone numbers, office location, job titles, etc.), are completed.

Make sure that documentation on each setting made is kept. This will not only assist in troubleshooting but also in creating a disaster recovery strategy.

   Instead of keeping PSTN switching on-premises, investigate the pro’s and cons (which will depend on business requirements) of establishing a SIP trunk to a 3rd party provider which will minimize the need for on-premises PSTN equipment. Opting for the SIP trunk to 3rd party, will also be a more pro-active approach as these providers have teams (depending on service level agreement), who continuously monitor all PSTN systems which will in turn eliminate or at least minimize downtime.

Liza du Plessis
Source:Microzone PR
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Tags:Project Management
Industry:Business, Technology
Location:Pretoria - Gauteng - South Africa
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