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Six problems with Office Communications Server 2007

Analysis: our doubts about Microsoft OCS 2007

As the years of hype around Office Communications Server 2007 show, when Microsoft launches a product, everyone wants to hear about it. But we have our doubts about OCS 2007. Here are six examples:

6) Why go to OCS if we're not a Microsoft shop?

Wooing companies that are not heavily on the Microsoft stack will be one of the company's biggest challenges.

"If a company has already started to deploy unified communications, there is a very low chance" it will switch to Microsoft, Intellicom's Marks said.

There's plenty of competition for loyalty. For instance, telecom vendors such as Cisco have their adherents. For another, IBM is reinvigorating Sametime to convert its still-formidable base of Lotus Notes users - and small but growing number of Symphony office software users (IBM Lotus Symphony free office software review here).

Moreover, users need Exchange 2007 to take advantage of many features in OCS, Freedman said. But doing that "locks you into specific IT and telephony infrastructure, which doesn't make sense", Siemens' Straton said.

David Sengupta of Ferris Research expects OCS' uptake primarily among "Microsoft-centric organizations willing to put up with some growing pains over the coming year or two while Microsoft plays catch-up in this arena."

Marks also expects Microsoft to "work its huge base" of Microsoft Office and Exchange email customers and grab some "low-hanging fruit" that way.

But even among diehard Microsoft shops, Office Communications Server 2007 won't be a no-brainer upgrade, according to Burton Group's Gotta.

"The deployment of OCS 2007 will be slower than expected within Microsoft shops because of other projects [Office SharePoint Server 2007] that sap IT resources and raise overall change management concerns," he said.

A "critical mass" of customers won't start moving to Office Communications Server 2007 until the second half of 2008.

  1. Should I entrust my telephone system to a software vendor?
  2. Can I really expect some Microsoft software running on a Windows box to be as reliable as a PBX?
  3. If I'm not getting rid of my PBXes for a while, why go to Office Communications Server 2007 at all?
  4. Do I even really need unified communications?
  5. Well, I AM interested in unified communications. But Office Communications Server 2007 seems to lack features we need
  6. Why go to OCS if we're not a Microsoft shop?

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