2-page Partner Case Study
Posted: 7/23/2013
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ConnectSolutions UC Partner to Cut Development Time, Grow Value-Add Potential of Multitenant Hosting

To reduce development and maintenance time for its own multitenant Microsoft Lync hosting architecture, ConnectSolutions participated in prerelease testing of the Microsoft Lync Server 2013 Multitenant Hosting Pack. The partner found that the Hosting Pack not only helps streamline multitenant Lync Server deployment and maintenance, but also frees up time to create value-added services and adds voice functionality, scalability, and Microsoft support.

Business Needs
ConnectSolutions is a leading managed-cloud provider of unified communications (UC) solutions for small and medium-size businesses, enterprises, and government. Since 2007, it has offered managed UC services—using Adobe Connect and Microsoft Lync Server (previously Office Communications Server)—through its private-cloud-based, hosted UC3 platform. In March 2013, the company acquired NextUC, a provider of Microsoft Lync–based UC solutions for small and medium-size businesses, to extend its reach into that market.

NextUC had developed its own multitenant architecture built around Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Enterprise. The NextUC offering was targeted to a range of organizations from small businesses through small enterprises of fewer than 10,000 employees. The process of maintaining that architecture to keep up with minor and cumulative Microsoft software updates was resource intensive.

“Building and maintaining our own multitenant architecture took a lot of time and resources that could have been spent on other aspects of the business that could provide longer term value for us, such as building and adding applications to enhance the Lync experience,” says Bob Barnes, Vice President of Business Development for ConnectSolutions.

In addition, because the partner’s architecture wasn’t supported by Microsoft, there was always a worry that a Lync Server update might conflict with the NextUC version and require additional development to make it work. ConnectSolutions wanted to eliminate that worry, reduce the resources required to maintain its Lync Server hosting architecture, and make it easier to provide its customers of all sizes with robust UC functionality.

To address those challenges, ConnectSolutions enrolled in the Microsoft Lync Server 2013 Multitenant Hosting Pack Technology Adoption Program (TAP) in November 2012. As a member of the TAP, the partner tested early releases of the software and provided feedback to enhance the eventual released product.

* With the new Lync Server 2013 Multitenant Hosting Pack, we can focus on developing services on top of its multitenant architecture. That will help us iterate faster and produce more value for our customers. *

Matt Porter
Lync Product Manager, ConnectSolutions

It took ConnectSolutions approximately two weeks to set up the Hosting Pack, completing the task in December 2012. From that point until the end of June 2013, the partner tested the product internally with its instant-on control panel that is used to provision users and assign telephone numbers for its customers.

In July 2013, ConnectSolutions will roll out the Lync Server 2013 Multitenant Hosting Pack to approximately 210 customers. The solution team plans to take advantage of automated services to expedite the move. “We expect to complete the migration in less than two weeks,” says Matt Porter, Lync Product Manager at ConnectSolutions. “Our plan is for a seamless transition so that the customers will actually get the Hosting Pack before they are aware that they have it.”

ConnectSolutions expects several benefits to result from deploying the Lync Server 2013 Multitenant Hosting Pack, including:

Increased Revenue Per User
By removing much of the labor of creating and maintaining its multitenant architecture, ConnectSolutions expects to increase its revenue per user related to UC solutions and gain peace of mind from working with a stable, supported product.

“The Lync Server product is a refreshingly stable and well-architected platform for delivering value to customers,” says Porter. With the new Lync Server 2013 Multitenant Hosting Pack, we can focus on developing services on top of its multitenant architecture. That will help us iterate faster and produce more value for our customers because we have one less thing to worry about from an engineering standpoint.”

Expanded Functionality and Scalability
The addition of voice functionality, available with the Hosting Pack, will allow ConnectSolutions to expand its customer offerings to include new Lync Voice features such as team call, delegation, and response groups.

The Lync Server Hosting Pack also gives the partner more scalability. ”Before, we had some complexity around provisioning multiple clusters to scale the product better; this hosting pack alleviates many of those challenges and the flexible architecture offers many ways to provide high availability to even small organizations,” says Barnes.

Expedited Product Adoption
Barnes cites the TAP as a big advantage in supporting its role as an early adopter. “We want to stay at the forefront of the Microsoft wave. Having exposure to bits prior to general release helps us to be a successful early adopter,” says Barnes. “Participating in the TAP allowed us to work with the product team and give feedback on what is working well and what we think may need more attention so that we can provide the best experience for our customers.”

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Solution Overview

Organization Size: 65 employees

Partner Profile

ConnectSolutions, based in San Francisco, California, is a leading managed-cloud provider of unified communications solutions for small business, enterprise, and government.

Software and Services
Microsoft Lync Server 2013

Vertical Industries
Hosters & ISPs

United States