One of the stated goals of Lync was to make communication easier for everyone.
Microsoft has released a new Adoption and Training Kit for Lync Server 2010. Each of its add-on tools accomplish that goal.
(Credit to The Unified Communications Group Team Blog for the post that alerted me to these!)
These tools basically re-designate Lync Server as THE platform to use for international business communication.
I’m serious. Look at what’s included in this kit.
Informed IM: Translation, Conversation Tabs, Talk to an Expert, Quick Info
Conversation Translator: Real-time language translation. They type something in Japanese, you read it in English. You type something back in English–they read it in Japanese! The biggest hurdle of communicating with international customers has been toppled.
Tabbed Conversations: Consolidates several IM windows into one window with tabs. Just like a browser. Good space-saver.
IM an Expert: You (the admin) designate “experts” in your organization for certain topics. Another person IMs the “IM an Expert” contact and asks a question. IM an Expert forwards it to the appropriate expert, based on your designations. (It also saves the conversation for addition to a knowledge base.) Pretty handy for larger organizations, where you don’t know everybody.
Information Dashboard: At-a-glance information relevant to the person you’re chatting with. Their current time, weather, top local news. Again, valuable when communicating with someone in another time zone (or country).
And that’s not all. There are tools to help Lync admins too.
Admin Help: Stress Tests, Conversation Analysis
Group Chat Stress: This tool pulls double-duty for the administrator. One, it verifies that your Lync user connections work properly. Two, it helps you stress your Lync hardware for benchmarking. It does both by creating stress loaders, which you distribute to Lync contact PCs. You run the loaders when it’s time to stress the Lync servers.
Conversations Analyzer: Unsure of how effective employee conversations are? Use the Analyzer to review Lync IM conversations. It gives you scores of the conversations, based on trust rules (how the language positively – or negatively – affects trust in a reader).
Lync Custom Intranet Site: This is more an add-on than a tool. Microsoft essentially packaged a Lync-focused intranet template for you. It contains links to online Help, how-to videos, and Lync Web Tools (like the Web App). Your users need help (with Lync)? Post this internally and send them the URL.
Plenty of Reasons to Adopt These Tools
Microsoft bills these tools as intended “to generate user excitement and encourage widespread adoption.” I don’t know about users, but I’M excited!
I think all Lync users will get the most out of Tabbed Conversations and Conversation Translator. Talking to others is arguably easier now on IM than it is in person!
The Admin tools let Lync administrators test the system anytime they want. Very handy for troubleshooting, and general admin tweaks.
Watch for a Lync How-To Post Later
There is one more download available. It’s the “Lync How-To.” It’s not just some reference document though–it’s a training tool. I’ll dedicate a full post to that later (it deserves it!).
Now We Have an International Option for Instant Messaging
These are big usability enhancements. Every Lync administrator should download these right away. (Yes, they’re all free.)
Which of these do you think has the most value? Which would you use first?