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User Provisioning in a Skype for Business Environment

Maybe you are migrating to Microsoft Skype for Business (formerly Lync) Enterprise Voice, or maybe you are well along the lifecycle with thousands of seats turned on, but a low usage rate. Regardless, you will need to confront a variety of challenging user management issues in order to reap the system's full benefits.


In the past, geographically dispersed managers handled user on-boarding and account configuration in their respective regions. And local admins knew the specific legal and regulatory rules of the road for the regions in which they operated. Lync infrastructure, in contrast, centralizes phone service management, bringing deep visibility, flexibility, and savings to global deployments. But what's lost is intimate knowledge about the local rules and regulations that the local administrators possessed. The solution? By automating user provisioning, you can centralize distributed details about the system's setup to more efficiently manage your Skype for Business environment.

Curbing Complexity
Centrally managed telephony promises new efficiencies and savings across the enterprise. But does your Skype for Business implementation include the tools you need to efficiently manage thousands of local phone numbers as users come and go? Can you handle business policy exceptions for different classes of users? And can you comply with a multitude of laws, regulations, and standards mandated by dozens of global entities? Most importantly, can you do it all without running up a huge tab and over-tasking your already overburdened help desk?

Perhaps you're already aware of some of the challenges, but consider the following:

In a dynamically changing environment, organizations are struggling to keep up with a moving target. Some compensate for the loss of local knowledge and accountability by developing customized help desk software, while others use massive spreadsheets or manual scripts. Regardless, such nonstandard solutions lack the scalability, visibility, and compatibility needed to ensure seamless Skype for Business operations.

Creating Consistency
Homegrown tools and manual stopgaps have a poor track record when it comes to policy compliance. In our work, we find that automation is the cornerstone best practice for ensuring consistency across the entire enterprise. Automating rules, policies, and exceptions minimizes confusion and cuts costs at the help desk by reducing the likelihood of human error and eliminating bottlenecks. And it makes for a more agile help desk that can proactively resolve noncompliance issues before they become productivity-sapping errors or costly fines.

Containing Costs
Automation engenders efficiency, which means it keeps help desk costs in check and can quickly deliver a healthy ROI. Take the case of a global enterprise we've worked with:

That's nearly $1 million just for change management. On top of that you have to manage phone number pools, telephony policies, and regulatory compliance. The challenge can be enormous, and so can the costs.

Controlling the 'Big Cs'
A solution that centralizes the global management of phone numbers and automates the process of setting user configurations according to business and regulatory policies will help you preserve valuable resources and take pressure off the help desk. Such a solution can let your organization automatically:

With the increasing prevalence of hybrid on-premises/Office 365 deployments, mobility, and BYOD, the Skype for Business provisioning challenge will only grow more daunting. Automated provisioning across the user lifecycle is the best way to curb the complexity, create consistency, and contain costs. By implementing a provisioning-automation solution early on in your Skype for Business deployment, you are more likely to have success with user satisfaction and compliance.

Sonu Aggarwal is founder and CEO of Unify Square.