Navigating the Journey to Skype for Business Online

Skype-video-conferencingAuthor: Kimberly Kelley

It seems organisations who are shopping for technology solutions today are moving to cloud based solutions in droves. Is the move a smooth road or is it full of potholes, speed bumps, and twists and turns? In most cases, it’s probably a bit of both. Perhaps that’s why Microsoft developed a methodology for customers and their partners to help smooth out the bumps and minimise the hairpin turns. It’s called the Skype Operations Framework, or SOF for short.

SOF is an end-to-end approach to the migration to Skype for Business Online for PSTN Conferencing and Cloud PBX workloads. It covers the complete lifecycle from Plan and Deliver to Operate. The framework provides a standardised approach incorporating practical guidance, tools, assets and recommended practices that can be leveraged for both new deployments and migrations from on-premises deployments. SOF provides the foundation for customers and partners to accelerate the journey to Skype for Business online with customer success clearly at the center.

In order to accelerate the journey, SOF delivers several key benefits:

  • It offers a proven methodology that eliminates the need for customers or partners to develop their own in-house, from the ground up
  • It provides a comprehensive collection of practical guidance, tools, assets and recommended practices to direct and focus core activities
  • It also provides a common language and vocabulary for every project participant, which can be especially important when customers decide to work with a partner or multiple partners on the journey as it will enable and simplify their interactions
  • It applies to both new deployments as well as migrations from on-premises deployments so no matter where an organisation is in the journey, there are best practices, tools, and assets to assist
  • It’s ideally suited to support an iterative approach, so whether the customer chooses to start with one workload and add others over time, or they’re considering a Proof of Concept or pilot prior to broad scale deployment, the framework adapts to cycling through as many times as necessary
  • And as stated before, SOF is clearly focused on customer success

When Polycom works with customers considering a migration, we recommend starting with a Proof of Concept or pilot. During the pilot, we step through the Plan, Deliver, Operate phases for a limited number of users or use cases. We determine… what are the key success criteria? Is any on-premises infrastructure ready? Is the network ready? Is the Office 365 Portal ready? Are pilot endpoints provisioned and deployed? Are pilot users ready? Are they going to have a great experience and be raving fans for other users?  Did we meet the key success criteria?

Included in the pilot, and critical to its success, are the four activities outlined in the SOF Plan phase – Envision, Assess, Design and Prepare.

  • For Envisioning, the Polycom team, along with the customer, defines the scope, approach, business use cases, timeline and governance to execute the service. We also define key success criteria in this process.
  • We Assess the infrastructure, network, and portal as well as operational and adoption readiness for deployment
  • The Design activities create the service architecture, and designs the solution including operational processes and adoption strategies
  • And in Prepare, we undertake readiness and remediation activities required to deploy Skype for Business Online at scale

For the defined proof of concept population, Polycom also executes Deliver activities including provisioning and deployment of endpoints, and orienting and enabling the end users, etc., as well as Operate activities, such as reviewing call quality dashboards to ensure users are having a good experience.

A successful pilot or Proof of Concept sets the stage and feeds into the next Planning phase as organizations look to expand the footprint to the broader audience, or add another workload. The Plan, Deliver, Operate cycle should be repeated for each phase, site, or objective.

As you begin your deployment or migration journey to Skype for Business Online, you may be asking one or more of these questions.

  • How do I successfully migrate from my traditional PBX to Office 365 for my telephony services?
  • Who can I engage to do a Proof of Concept for PSTN Conferencing or Cloud PBX?
  • How can I tell if my network is ready for Skype for Business Online – voice and / or video traffic?
  • How do I migrate hundreds (or thousands) of voice endpoints deployed across global sites to Cloud PBX?
  • How do I transition my standards-based video endpoints to join a Skype for Business Online meeting?

If you’re looking for answers to one or more of these questions, Polycom may be able to assist.

Remember, Polycom is a device partner and more for Microsoft, offering end-to-end services, and voice and video endpoints. Polycom is a Microsoft High Touch Partner and Skype Operations Framework certified. We offer a broad portfolio of services aligned to SOF that help customer on the journey to Skype for Business for its collaboration capabilities. Let us know how we can help you on your journey.


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