Microsoft recently offered a preview of what you can expect to see in the Microsoft Office 2019 on-premises server products when they’re released later this year. We discussed the new features and enhancements at a high level in our last post. Now we’ll delve a little deeper into some of the changes that are coming.
We mentioned that Microsoft is moving certain call handling and monitoring features to the cloud with Skype for Business Server 2019. Here are some things you’ll need to plan for when making the upgrade.
Cloud Voicemail Service
Cloud Voicemail Service is replacing Exchange Unified Messaging (UM) in Exchange Server 2019. If you are using Exchange UM and plan to upgrade to Exchange Server 2019, you will also need to upgrade to Skype for Business 2019 or else lose voicemail capabilities. You can continue to use the Exchange UM functionality in older versions of Exchange Server with Skype for Business Server 2019, but you may want to upgrade anyway to gain the benefits of the Cloud Voicemail Service.
Exchange UM was introduced with Exchange 2010 to enable users to receive voicemail messages as an attachment to an email. It also includes a voice-to-text conversion feature that provides a transcript of the vmail in the body of the email. Skype for Business Server uses Exchange UM to answer calls, play the user’s personal greeting, record a message, deliver the message to the user’s mailbox and store it on the Exchange mailbox server.
The Cloud Voicemail Service provides improved voice-to-text conversion and the ability to manage voicemail options in the Office 365 portal. Users will also be able to access voicemail in their Exchange mailbox using either their Outlook client or Skype for Business.
Administrators are going to like the Cloud Voicemail Service as well. It’s easier to set up and configure than Exchange UM, and the same set of controls are used for both on-premises and online mailboxes. Because it’s a cloud-based service, updates and new features are delivered automatically.
Note that voicemail processing is controlled by the location of the user’s Exchange and Skype for Business mailboxes. if you plan to upgrade to Exchange Server 2019 you should implement Skype for Business Server 2019 first and move users to that server before implementing Exchange Server 2019.
Cloud Auto Attendant
Exchange UM also provides auto attendant features that are going away in Exchange Server 2019. However, Skype for Business 2019 will enable you to use the Cloud Auto Attendant feature to provide callers with customized greetings, menus and dial-by-name directory searches. Cloud Auto Attendant features a more intuitive interface, native integration with Skype, and automatic delivery of updates and new features.
Call Data Connector
Skype for Business enables you to monitor the Quality of Experience (QoE) of voice calls. However, collecting and analyzing the data can be tricky, particularly in hybrid environments.
The new Call Data Connector capability provides one set of tools for monitoring QoE across Skype for Business Server, Skype for Business Online and Microsoft Teams. It takes the data collected by Call Detail Recording and QoE monitoring and pushes it to a cloud-based service. The service provides access to Call Analytics tools for addressing quality problems in specific calls and a Call Quality Dashboard for viewing and troubleshooting issues across the network.
Written and composed by Principal, Steve Soper