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March 9, 2009

What the Heck is an Office Communications Server (OCS) and Why Would You Need One?


Office Communication Server 2007

Office Communications Server 2007 is one of the cornerstones of Microsoft’s Unified Communications (UC) solutions that uses the power of software to streamline communications in a company.  OCS provides instant messaging, conferencing, videoconferencing, and voice — all in a single solution.

OCS is a great tool for any company that uses third party instant messaging software, stand alone conferencing tools, and PBX phone infrastructure to communicate within the office as well as with the outside world.  By consolidating all these communication tools together on a single platform with OCS you can simplify the management and support of these tools.

With OCS administrators can easily control, manage, and support different communication tools within one Microsoft Server box. The interface is easy so you will need to provide very minimal training for your admins.  In addition to the user-friendly interface, OCS is definitely more secure than using an instant messaging software. 

We all know that viruses can be sent through any IM software and entire networks can get destroyed.  OCS is easy to implement and configure — how many times did you spend at least 20 minutes trying to figure out why this stand alone conferencing adapter doesn’t accept your pin or key, and why these people from New York cannot connect to it? 

What about the old fashioned PBXs?  Yeah they were great in the 90s and they sort of saved you some money.  But now, being able to use voice over IP why do you want to pay thousands of dollars in international phone bills when the phone calls can be virtually free?

If you are still not sure that OCS is a great investment for your company check out this Microsoft’s site and learn more about it.  You can download a free trial for 180 days and see for yourself.  The transition is cost-effective and with good planning it will have minimal disruption to your business.

Once you implement it, let me know how you like it :)

About the Author

(MCTS Active Directory, MCTS Vista, Network+, Linux+, Project+, PMP) is an experienced Network Support Specialist and an expert in Windows Server support. She graduated from DePaul University, Chicago with a Bachelor degree in Network Technologies with highest honors. Gosia has over 8 years of technical and support experience and has worked as Systems Administrator for a high profile law firm, where she managed the Backup and Disaster Recovery plan. Gosia has been a part of the Train Signal team since 2006 as the Product Manager and has written many articles on a variety of topics, including Exchange Server 2007, Windows Vista, Small Business Server, and more.