ITPro Tools Makes Your Skype for Business Deployment Sing

4 May 2015

Among the myriad announcements Microsoft is making at its Ignite Conference in Chicago this week, one of the most important for UC is the ITPro Tools program. ITPro tools is a set of operations and network management tools from Microsoft and three of its partners, Event Zero, Nectar and Unify Square, the purpose of which is to ensure Skype for Business users receive a consistent, high quality user experience. UCStrategies has just published a report describing the range of Microsoft provided and 3rd party tools, where they fit and how they compare.

Business Communications Operations Management (BCOM) is a growing topic in UC, and was the subject of a panel at the recent Enterprise Connect show in Orlando titled "Why UC Fails (And How To AVOID It)." This is particularly true with regard to Skype for Business where a single implementation could have server software from Microsoft and switches, routers, firewalls, end points, session border controllers, gateways, network services and other elements from any number of Microsoft partners.

Recognizing the importance of managing all of these elements in providing that high quality user experience, Microsoft has defined a Network Planning and Operations Framework that breaks the overall process of planning, provisioning and operations into 7 functional areas:

  1. Network Pre-Assessment

  2. Planning and Deployment

  3. Provisioning

  4. Network Monitoring

  5. Reporting

  6. Troubleshooting

  7. User Surveying

There are ITPro Tools that address each of those 7 areas. Microsoft has also developed a number of other resources to support Skype for Business Server including a comprehensive Networking Guide that provides a model for managing the network infrastructure, a Call Quality Methodology (CQM) to systematically define and assert call quality, Key Health Indicators (KHI) with recommended thresholds aimed at revealing problems that can impact the user experience, and a Call Quality Dashboard (CQD), a web portal for quickly creating and organizing reports based on Quality of Experience (QoE) data from the Skype for Business environment.

As more organizations migrate their real time voice and video to Skype for Business, all of these tools will become essential in ensuring the users get the services they need to work productively.


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