This article first appeared in the Winter issue of The Record.
At Microsoft Ignite 2016, Microsoft introduced Skype Operations Framework (SOF), an end-to-end methodology and tool set for planning, delivering and operating a cost-effective Skype for Business deployment. Launch partner Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) plays a critical role in helping enterprises use the SOF to migrate from their on-premise deployments to cloud-based Skype for Business Online environments.
“HPE has delivered Enterprise Services Unified Communications offerings for Skype for Business – and its predecessors Microsoft Lync and Office Communicator,” says David Stirling, unified communications offering manager at HPE. “We manage more than two million Skype for Business seats globally for 70 clients and we cover many of the SOF principles. Consequently, we formalised our role as a Skype for Business global managed services provider.”
According to Stirling, HPE Enterprise Services has a strong track record of helping clients to plan, deliver and operate complex unified communications deployments. It has also developed a SOF-aligned solution, HPE Services for Skype for Business.
“The solution enables clients to see what advisory services and architectural planning workshops HPE can provide for Skype for Business Online migrations,” remarks Stirling. “What sets us apart from our competitors is that we can combine our SOF solution with HPE Enterprise Services for Microsoft Office 365 and other unified communication services. Plus, our globally dispersed employees can provide help wherever customers are located.”
Stirling believes Microsoft’s SOF programme offers the next critical step towards the widespread adoption of public cloud-based unified communication services. Importantly, he says, it will help companies to understand exactly why they need managed service providers like HPE.
“Microsoft’s SOF initiative highlights why experts like HPE should be involved throughout migration projects,” he says. “We can help with everything from calculating clients’ expected return on investment, to developing user adoption programmes. We also continue support post-implementation, resolving daily operational issues.”
HPE will apply the SOF principles on all future projects. “While we’re confident that our existing deployments followed most principles in the new framework, we expect to zero in on the SOF as customers migrate to Skype for Business Online, or adopt cloud-based PBX services,” comments Stirling.
HPE will also use SOF to enhance Modern Workspace, its new end-to-end conference room service that simplifies meeting management.
“Many clients downplay the importance of integrating their desktop strategies with conference room facilities, but a SOF-backed Skype for Business deployment will ensure successful implementation of conference room platforms such as Microsoft Surface Hub or Skype for Business Room Systems,” explains Stirling. “Also, SOF allows clients to explore Skype for Business Online solutions that can be accessed from any device.”