Figure 2-3 Summary This chapter contained a high-level

With calendar integration, the Communicator 2005 client not only shows when you are offline, online, away, busy, and so on, but also displays in a Meeting status, as shown in Figure 3-1. Figure 3-1 The Out of Office option, as shown in Figure 3-2, indicates to contacts who are trying to reach you that you are currently unavailable. When someone can determine that you are in a meeting or otherwise unavailable, they don t have to waste anyone s time trying to contact you. Knowing when and when not to contact someone still takes a little educating, but we re getting there with Instant Messaging etiquette. Within Microsoft Outlook, you can communicate with your contacts directly by clicking a contact s name and using communication features available to you within Communicator, such as sending an instant message, calling them on one of their published phone numbers, as well as setting up a Live Meeting conference and conference call. Figure 3-3 displays the menu available to you when you click on a contact s name within Outlook 2003, with Microsoft Office 2003 Service Pack 2. 52 Chapter 3
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Figure 2-3 Summary This chapter contained a high-level

Microsoft Office Integration One of the major differences between Live Communications Server 2005 SP1 and its competitors is its integration with the Microsoft Office suite of products. Microsoft developed the Unified Communications (UC) platform correctly by building a foundation of integrated desktop applications such as Microsoft Office Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Live Meeting, and SharePoint. Microsoft realized that millions of users started their day out in Microsoft Office. I personally spend most of my time in Microsoft Outlook or, in the case of writing this book, Microsoft Word. Having the capability to quickly find and communicate with my peers, partners, and customers with one click is simply awesome. I increase my productivity ten-fold knowing that I do not have to look up someone in my contacts list in a separate application to communicate with them or switch between multiple applications, and lose my train of thought. Microsoft Live Communications Server 2005 SP1 and the entire Microsoft Unified Communications suite of products (Live Meeting 2005 and Communicator 2005) are part of the Microsoft Office system. This integrated approach enables the Office applications to be used with the UC applications right out of the box. The purpose of this chapter is to showcase the integrated LCS features within the Office system. In this chapter you will see how presence is represented in Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and SharePoint. Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 One of the richest features of Live Communications Server 2005 SP1 and Communicator 2005 is the integration with Microsoft Outlook 2003. The out-of-the-box integration between these products includes calendar-based presence with free/busy information, one click access to e-mail, and contact integration.
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Figure 2-3 Summary This chapter contained a high-level

Figure 2-3 Summary This chapter contained a high-level look at how to approach introducing Live Communications Server to the enterprise by providing examples of the selling and deployment process, including a competitive analysis. As a consultant in the field and a Microsoft MVP, I have worked with several Fortune 500 and Global 1000 customers. The customers I have assisted in providing migration strategies and UC consulting services have assisted me in providing this information to other organizations that are faced with making sound decisions about which platform they should invest in for their companies. In my professional opinion, Microsoft has proven to be the only quality solution with investment opportunity in the marketplace today. A number of other organizations such as Google, Yahoo, AOL, and Skype have made recent moves to develop enterprise-ready communications applications, but the investment is nowhere close to where Microsoft is headed: real-time connectivity, available anytime and anywhere. 50 Chapter 2
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Figure 2-1 The following table provides a matrix

Figure 2-2 With this same approach to leverage the APIs, several Microsoft vendors and customers have developed industry-specific solutions for compliance, niche messaging applications, presence controls, and integration into existing line of business applications for HR, Finance, Operations, and so on. An example of these open-source capabilities includes the development call center applications and tracking applications, which leverage these APIs. These applications can now tap into the rich presence and integrated telephony features of LCS to enhance the features of customer-focused sessions. Microsoft focused not only on delivering quality products, but also on providing a foundation upon which customers can build. With a massive development support focus, including training events, educational websites, and online seminars, Microsoft has provided more benefit to the development community than any other vendor in the marketplace. 49 Live Communications Server 2005 SP1 in the Enterprise
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Figure 2-1 The following table provides a matrix

Understanding the User Interface Deploying an easy to use and attractive communications client to your users is critical. Not only do users desire a client application that works, but Instant Messaging users have matured and expect a plethora of features within their IM clients. Both IBM and Microsoft provide an intuitive client, but there are some major differences between the two in terms of usability and features available directly within the client. With Microsoft Office Communicator, integration with the Office system has been built in. Conveniences such as presence notification, updating your status as In a Meeting, occur automatically if your Outlook calendar has you scheduled in a meeting. You can also e-mail a contact directly from Communicator in a one-touch manner. These conveniences create a better user experience as well as an addictive user base, which has led to the recent choice of IM over e-mail for electronic communication. Communicator also provides one-touch launching of video and voice communications, enabling you to use the Communicator client as a digital phone to receive, forward, or provide advanced voice communications. Other convenient features include the Address Book service, which provides users with the capability to search for contacts that are not in their buddy list to view presence status and contact users immediately. These solutions are non-existent in IBM s Sametime client. Simple conveniences such as the Communicator s presence awareness, are color coded like a stoplight to assist with the visibility of a contact s presence when they are away, busy, in a meeting, etc. The IBM Sametime client presentation of a user s status is in accordance with its other features, i.e., they are proprietary in nature. A user must become acquainted with its symbols to recognize the status of a contact. Figure 2-2 compares the Microsoft Office Communicator and IBM Sametime clients. Understanding Telephony and VoIP Integration Of the two solutions, the Microsoft UC platform is the only solution that provides Private Branch Exchange (PBX) and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) functionality. IBM has not made any telephony investments to create additional integrated components to its Sametime solution. With the Microsoft UC solution, enterprise users can utilize their Office Communicator clients as a phone to contact colleagues, as well as a call manager to route inbound calls or to apply rules to calls. Figure 2-3 shows a sample of the Communicator telephony features available out of the box. Understanding the Development Platform While most enterprises are interested in providing a real-time, collaborative platform for their users, they are also interested in providing a solution to build applications that leverage real-time technologies to integrate their line of business applications. Two enterprise customers that I have worked with were analyzing both IBM Sametime and Microsoft Live Communications Server in an effort to provide realtime applications for their financial trading departments, while several others were exploring better solutions for call center functionality. Each of these customers decided on the Microsoft UC solution due to the open-source capabilities that Microsoft provides with the available server application programming interfaces (APIs). 48 Chapter 2
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Figure 2-1 The following table provides a matrix

Figure 2-1 The following table provides a matrix of supported users per Microsoft LCS server edition: Total LCS Standard Maximum Number Required Number of Required LCS Edition or Number of of Users LCS SE or EE Servers Load Balancer LCS EE Pool Users per Server 0 15,000 1 N LCS SE Server 15,000 20,000 1 N LCS EE Server 20,000 30,000 2 Y LCS EE Server 20,000 50,000 3 Y LCS EE Server 20,000 100,000 5 Y LCS EE Server 20,000 IBM Sametime did not pay particular attention to the area of scalability, which has led to customer attrition based on the number of servers that are required to support a Sametime environment. The enterprises that I have worked with dealt with this situation by deploying geographical-based Sametime servers so that the Wide Area Network/Local Area Network connection is closer to the actual user, as Sametime does not provide an enterprise pool-like solution whereby users can connect to a centrally managed, load-balanced pool of Sametime servers. Load Balancer SQL Cluster (optional) Federated Users Remote Users Director Access Proxy LCS 2005 EE LCS 2005 EE LCS 2005 EE LCS 2005 EE SQL SQL 47 Live Communications Server 2005 SP1 in the Enterprise
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Features and Functionality In most cases, functionality was

have recently switched to the Microsoft UC platform due to Microsoft and Microsoft partner solutions to assist enterprises in providing a compliant messaging platform. The Microsoft UC platform, along with Microsoft partners, provides the highest level of platform compliance, with functionality that includes segregating Instant Messaging user communities and enabling the recording of conversations. For example, most financial trading communities are, by legal definition, not allowed to communicate in any electronic form to other departments within even their own corporations. This solution has been a critical component in deploying the Microsoft UC solution for these customers, and it has proven to be a win with information technology executives of these firms and agencies. IBM Sametime, in partnership with third-party providers, also provides compliance features, but the overwhelmingly large number of additional Microsoft compliance components continues to attract enterprise customers. Scalability and Availability Scalability and availability are critical considerations when deploying any technology service. Providing high-bandwidth applications that have a guaranteed run rate of 99.9% has always been the goal of any technology application. As Instant Messaging becomes more of a critical business application, the reliability of the messaging server and network environment becomes equally as important. Scalability and high availability are features that the Microsoft UC platform has invested in, whereas IBM has not. With the UC platform, the messaging environment can be load-balanced to provide a pool of messaging servers in case one or more servers unexpectedly fails; the remaining servers in the pool continue to run and provide service to users. Load-balancing is a solution that provides more than an additional server or service; it is completely identical to its counterpart. The purpose of load-balancing is to provide more than one identical copy of a service in the event that the primary service is lost. Additional loadbalanced servers would then pick up the load of the primary service in real time, providing no loss of service to a consumer. Load-balancing is not a feature of the IBM Sametime solution. Another feature of the Microsoft UC platform is back-end database clustering. The Microsoft UC user and system configuration is stored in Microsoft SQL Server, so it is important to back up the databases that support the UC system. Clustering is now available, so when a back-end server fails, another backend server is available to keep the system running. Microsoft has applied this level of high availability to all of its enterprise server applications, which is an infrastructure requirement with businesses today. Figure 2-1 provides an example of Microsoft s Live Communications Server 2005 SP1 Enterprise Edition scalability and availability design. Mentioned earlier was the advantage of server consolidation and the capacity of Microsoft UC servers versus that of IBM s. Existing IBM customers who have been used to multiple servers supporting their environments have been awed by the capacity of a given Microsoft LCS server to support users. In some cases, enterprise customers have seen the required server count to support additional users with their existing IBM Sametime solution drop by half when they switched to the Microsoft UC solution. Microsoft provides two editions of its Live Communications Server software, Standard and Enterprise. A Standard Edition server can support up to 15,000 users per server, while an Enterprise Edition pool can support up to 100,000 users per pool, supporting 20,000 users per server. This level of scalability heavily outweighs IBM s Sametime solution, which typically can support up to 12,000 users per server. 46 Chapter 2
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Features and Functionality In most cases, functionality was

Features and Functionality In most cases, functionality was more important than cost for the enterprise customers I worked with who decided to move away from the IBM Sametime client to the Microsoft UC platform. The key capabilities described in this section center around the Communicator client and the integrated UC platform that led to these decisions. Understanding Microsoft s Integrated Platform An integrated communication and collaboration platform was the leading reason enterprise customers began moving away from IBM to Microsoft. After all, Microsoft leverages the dominating enterprise Office system, which is installed on hundreds of millions of desktops around the world. The majority of large enterprises have some version of Microsoft Office deployed throughout their enterprise, so the decision to move to technologies in the Office system suite, including SharePoint, Live Communications Server, Live Meeting, and Communicator, is an easy one. Regarding Instant Messaging specifically, Microsoft leverages existing Office applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint by building integrated communication through Communicator, offering users a totally integrated experience on the desktop. Because Instant Messaging is the most popular communication tool today, giving users the ability to leverage a client within familiar applications was a major advantage for Microsoft in retaining or gaining customers. In contrast, IBM provides little or no integration with desktop business applications. It would have been wise for IBM to have built integration into Office or even their own portal product, QuickPlace, but the ingenuity was not there, and there is little current evidence that there ever will be integration provided. Even from a directory standpoint, Sametime is stand-alone. The IBM Sametime directory is a silo and is supported separately by Sametime administrators. Microsoft took the same desktop integrated approach with the Live Communications Server directory by leveraging Microsoft Active Directory. This strategy, as with all Microsoft products, capitalizes on the Active Directory infrastructure, which consists of updated user directory information that Microsoft applications can leverage. Even better, it is already maintained and supported. Access Anytime, Anywhere Providing users with the capability to access their corporate messaging infrastructure without the requirement of Virtual Private Network (VPN) connectivity has been a strategy with not only the Microsoft UC platform, but also with Exchange e-mail and remote portal access to Microsoft SharePoint. This flexibility gives users anywhere, anytime flexibility, enabling system access regardless of location. This strategy has been important to large enterprises that use third-party contractors and engage in secure transactions with business partners that are not members of the internal infrastructure. Giving these parties external access without requiring the use of VPN connectivity, obtaining secure certificates, and so on, is a cost and time saving solution that can affect hundreds and even thousands of users. IBM Sametime provides no remote access solution without the use of a VPN connection. Integrated Public Instant Messaging Connectivity Microsoft s Public Instant Messaging Connectivity (PIC) service is an extremely popular solution, and next to the integrated platform scenario, it is the second largest reason for customer attraction to the Microsoft UC platform over IBM. Most enterprises, especially within the financial arena, consist of users 44 Chapter 2
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Features and Functionality In most cases, functionality was

who have made Instant Messaging a critical form of business communication with their partners, in addition to internal communications. Before the release of the Microsoft UC platform, most financial traders were using AOL Instant Messenger or Yahoo Messenger to conduct Instant Messaging sessions over a public transport without encryption. With the Microsoft PIC service, these users can utilize the Microsoft Office Communicator client to enable Instant Messaging to the public Instant Messaging providers, which includes AOL, Yahoo, and MSN (refer to Figure 1-8 in Chapter 1) over a secured communication transport. Not only is PIC integration provided, but the communication is also secured using Transport Layer Security (TLS). The communication transport, or pipe, is encrypted using TLS from the client connecting to the environment, and then further encrypted between the LCS server environment and the public network using Mutual TLS encryption. Now, with Communicator, enterprise organizations can provide access and integration with public Instant Messaging applications and provide the level of security that is needed, whereas in the past these users were communicating private company information over nonsecured public lines. IBM Sametime provides encryption but this is only applied internally without remote access or integration to public Instant Messaging networks. This was, again, a major deciding factor for customers in moving away from the IBM messaging solution. Understanding the Benefits of Real-Time Security Securing Instant Messaging has become an increasing concern, and thankfully Microsoft invested in securing the UC platform. AMicrosoft UC solution addresses security at the communication layer, or pipe, and at the identifying level by challenging the user for the correct user credentials. The connection between the client and server using the Microsoft UC platform is encrypted using Transport Layer Security (TLS). TLS is the next generation of security over Secured Sockets Layer (SSL), and it follows the same process of implementation using secured server certificates. When configuring the Microsoft UC environment, a certificate is applied; and when a client connects to the environment, the server certificate checks to see whether the issuing Certificate Authority (CA) root certificate matches the root certificate on the client s local computer certificate store. In order to thwart or spoof a user s identity, a hacker would also have to obtain this root certificate to enable the client to connect. In addition, Microsoft leverages Microsoft Active Directory to challenge the user for logon credentials, which are only available if the user has an Active Directory enabled account. In all enterprises, Active Directory is highly secured and supported, so the capability to obtain an account in the directory is only accomplished through a detailed approval process. Both levels of security and a configurable Instant Messaging filter, which blocks users from transmitting links or harmful viruses, are provided out of the box. Additional components such as anti-virus protection tools and intrusion detection systems can be added and are highly recommended. The IBM Sametime solution provides security internally between client and server, but does not provide integration with Active Directory. Instead, it maintains its own separate directory service for Sametime users. Meeting Compliance Regulations With the recent implementations of new processes to enable enterprises to meet the compliance regulations of acts that include, but are not limited to, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, ISO, and many other U.S. and international compliance regulations, finding a compliant Instant Messaging application has become mission critical. The enterprise customers I have worked with and met through compliance and security consortiums 45 Live Communications Server 2005 SP1 in the Enterprise
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Building the Team As easy as this sounds,

IBM Attrition Scenarios The information in this section has been gathered through my hands-on experience with customers who have decided to move from IBM Sametime to the Microsoft UC platform based on scenarios that factor in cost, functionality, and feature set. The purpose of offering this information here is to provide you with some leverage when caught in a competitive selling situation. Cost Comparisons The question of cost as its related to software licenses of IBM Sametime or Microsoft Live Communications Server 2005 SP1 and Office Communicator 2005, surprisingly enough, has not been a primary concern with the enterprise and federal organizations that I have worked with. More often than not, customers have analyzed the technical infrastructure and support costs that are incurred by supporting either application. The defining factor in infrastructure costs that does tend to tilt customers toward the Microsoft solution is the enormous capacity of users that a Microsoft server can support up to 15,000 users using the Live Communications Server 2005 SP1 Standard Edition version, and up to 100,000 users per pool using the Enterprise Edition version of the software. As a case study, one enterprise customer I worked with, who was one of the largest IBM customers in the world, had 11 servers running with IBM Lotus Domino supporting 55,000 users. The server count has been reduced to five servers running Microsoft Live Communications Server 2005 SP1 Enterprise Edition, and supports 100,000 users. These costs add up in terms of the physical cost of each server, as well as the cost for supporting each server. The customers I have worked with use outsourced network support and in some cases pay up to $15,000 per month just for patch cable management. Needless to say, these support costs add up and affect the bottom line of the overall cost of the chosen solution. To attract new customers, Microsoft created early adopter cost savings programs for their licenses, which proved to be successful. Along with the features and functionality provided with the Microsoft solution, these price discounts were almost impossible to turn down. As an additional strategy to make the costs for Microsoft UC software licenses even more attractive, Microsoft included the licenses via a customer s existing Enterprise Agreement. This strategy enabled easier transition in terms of initial costs and future upgrade costs. In response, IBM, because of the increased attraction, in some cases began throwing their software at customers in hopes of retaining them, which underscored IBM s understanding that they were losing market presence in this area. Actual costs have been measured, and in some cases the cost of supporting and deploying the Microsoft UC solution is one-third of the cost of IBM s Sametime environment. This includes license costs. The following table compares the estimated costs to two customers who have migrated from IBM Sametime to Microsoft Live Communications Server: Customer IBM Licenses Costs Microsoft Licenses Costs Server Consolidation Numbers Enterprise 55K licenses at $1.5M 100K licenses at $1M 11 IBM to 5 Microsoft Commercial Enterprise 100K licenses at $3M 100K licenses at $1M 20 IBM to 9 Microsoft Federal Note: Due to confidentiality agreements, exact dollar amounts and organization names are not displayed. 43 Live Communications Server 2005 SP1 in the Enterprise
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