What about end points?
Having spent some time recently looking at end points, it struck me that there are a number of companies out there with products that range from £10 through to £1000+. If you work within the market then you have a pretty solid idea about the bestselling products and brands. If your client is in the market for end points for their Lync deployment what should you be telling/ advising them?
Go for Lync ‘qualified’ devices: There are two programs listed by Microsoft: Compatible & Optimised for. In short the compatible devices will work with Lync, but the Optimised devices have been designed to give the user a “rich and integrated” experience. Personally, my preference is to go for the Optimised devices so you have a level of reassurance about the quality you will get. The joy of successfully delivering an all singing, all dancing Lync Voice solution can be suffocated as your project rapidly turns in to damage limitation mode, purely because the quality of the endpoints is not good enough.
Profile your users: In the majority of deployments, a few device types are looked at and trialled over a couple of weeks. With the multitude of device types out there you should take time to work out what your users need. I am not advocating supporting lots of different device types, but I am saying work out who needs what. Negotiate with your chosen brands to get a mid-point review, tell them what is not right, what is frustrating your pilot group and what feels cheap or poorly made. They know the product set far better than anyone else, chances are there is a device that is better suited. These devices will be in use 5 days a week nearly every week, don’t settle for “It’s alright”.
Choose the appropriate ‘type’ of device: Desk Phone, Headset, Wired, Wireless, DECT, Noise Cancelling and Speaker Phone, the list goes on. Look at who is desk bound, who roams the office, who is out on the road and who holds conference calls. Your consultant should be able to guide you through this, but failing that, get the manufacturer to help you. If they want your business, they can take the time to guide you. People have spent £000’s on devices that have great marketing blurb and kudos, but that in reality end up sitting in a cupboard, bag or corner of the board room unused and unloved.
Any manufacturer of end points worth their salt will help you and allow you to try different devices. Be straight with them and you’ll get the right devices for your organisation. And those brands that are renowned for being expensive, look again, that is not always the case. Remember the adage ‘Cheap is dear’.