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Three Microsoft collaboration tools all Exchange admins should know

We compiled the best expert advice on SharePoint, Office 365 and Lync to give Exchange admins a thorough look at Microsoft collaboration tools for their enterprises.

Tools for collaboration have gotten a lot of attention from enterprises. With forays into corporate social media, anything that can increase worker productivity and ease communication will pique interest. Microsoft took notice of collaboration and released its own tools -- SharePoint, Office 365 and Lync -- that include features and capabilities to improve common but critical work processes.

The release of SharePoint 2013 included upgrades for collaboration tools. Site mailboxes can be used to facilitate collaboration between SharePoint and Exchange 2013, and e-discovery was revamped to include mining for data in Exchange as well as in Lync.

As the online, hosted version of Office software, Office 365 combines SharePoint, Exchange and Lync to create a Microsoft collaboration tool that's reliable and flexible. This combination gives many organizations a solid fiscal argument for making the move to Office 365.

Lync is another Microsoft collaboration tool that's caught enterprise attention. This platform for unified communications delivers the infrastructure that can integrate business channels and can also work with Exchange, Office 365 and Outlook Web App. Some have argued that it's missing important features enterprises depend on, but the tool looks to have a promising future.

This guide contains a collection of information to give Exchange admins a complete look at SharePoint, Office 365 and Lync. Find expert tips about the best ways to use Microsoft's three collaboration tools in your enterprise.

Collaboration for SharePoint

1. How SharePoint eases collaboration in the enterprise

Thanks to some SharePoint upgrades, end users can more easily collaborate in a Microsoft environment. The release of SharePoint 2013 brought with it a number of new features and improvements. Site mailboxes help with collaboration between Exchange 2013 and SharePoint 2013, while e-discovery got a major boost with the ability to look for data in Exchange as well as Lync. These tips take a closer look at the new and improved features that make SharePoint a good tool for enterprise collaboration.

  • How to synchronize SharePoint 2013 lists with Outlook 2013

    End users can get access to a number of SharePoint 2013 lists through Outlook 2013 after some simple configuration. Synchronization is important in the configuration, but training end users is just as important. If you don't have the right training, things such as contact sets and multiple calendars can stump end users.


  • What to know to create Exchange 2013 site mailboxes with SharePoint

    Site mailboxes can facilitate collaboration between SharePoint 2013 and Exchange 2013 while also enabling Outlook 2013 as a SharePoint client. This tip covers five of the most common problems admins come across when they create site mailboxes, including requirements, synced connections and certificates.


  • New Exchange 2013 features tighten SharePoint integration

    By offering in-place e-discovery and site mailboxes, Microsoft enticed customers to combine SharePoint and Exchange to get the most out of each product. The company revamped e-discovery to encourage the use of Microsoft collaboration products while also improving site mailboxes.


  • SharePoint 2013 e-discovery makes strides in mining Exchange Server data

    This podcast offers an expert look at how e-discovery changed in SharePoint 2013 and how it makes it easier to mine data in Exchange and Lync. End users now have better options for specific tasks, such as accessing and archiving information or reducing the time to mine data.


  • Manually move Exchange public folder data to SharePoint

    Microsoft encourages its customers to move public folder data into SharePoint, but it hasn't yet introduced a tool to automate the process. This step-by-step tip covers how to migrate Exchange message data, but it's important to recognize that the migration you make may be different depending on the type of data you move.


Collaboration for Office 365

2. Reaping all the benefits of Office 365 for enterprise collaboration

One of the most helpful tools admins can use for collaboration is Office 365. The online hosted version of Office software can combine Exchange, Lync and SharePoint to create a flexible and reliable Microsoft collaboration tool. Admins should compare its capabilities with those of on-premises Exchange and hybrid Exchange setups before making the move, but many organizations can make a financial case to migrate. Plus, being able to access Office 365 mailboxes on Apple devices gives users more access than before. These tips look at using Office 365 as a collaboration tool, with a closer look at its features and capabilities.

  • Why you should be excited about Office 365

    Being able to combine Lync, SharePoint and Exchange with a move to Office 365 can make fiscal sense for organizations looking for a tool that has collaboration setup and hosted communication capabilities. So, how can Microsoft's collaboration tool actually change your job?


  • Comparing Office 365 pros and cons with Exchange 2013, hybrid setups

    By looking at the pros and cons of Office 365, on-premises Exchange 2013 and hybrid Exchange 2013 setups, admins have a better chance of choosing the best option for their organization. Some Office 365 benefits admins should consider are revenue costs and staff reductions, as well as 99.9% uptime.


  • OWA for iPad and iPhone available for Office 365 subscribers

    End users who have Office 365 subscriptions have the option to use the Outlook Web App on their Apple devices. Analysts say this move is great for end users who want to hook up work email to their phones, which can easily be done by downloading a free app from the App Store instead of navigating the system settings in iOS.


  • IPhone configuration tips for Office 365 mailbox access

    If you want to access your Office 365 mailbox but don't have the free app, you can still configure your iPhone. The configuration isn't a difficult process, but there are a few things you'll need to be aware of before you start. We'll guide you through it.


  • What to do if you suspect an Office 365 outage

    Even with a 99.9% uptime, there's always a possibility of an Office 365 outage. Even though being prepared in advance is your best defense, there are a few steps to take if you suspect an outage so you can fix it before it becomes a major problem.


Collaboration with Lync

3. Sizing up Lync for collaboration in an Exchange environment

One Microsoft collaboration tool that's caught the eye of enterprises is Lync. Of respondents in the 2014 Windows Server purchasing intentions survey who answered questions on Lync, 28% currently use it, while 21% have plans to use it. The unified communications platform, which offers the infrastructure to integrate common business communication channels, can also work with Outlook Web App, Exchange and Office 365. But even with all these features ripe for collaboration, many enterprises complain Microsoft left out some necessary features. These tips take a look at how Lync sizes up as a collaboration tool and what admins should keep in mind to have it functioning at its highest possible level.

  • Microsoft collaboration tools: Is Lync ready for business?

    When looking at Lync as a unified communications tool, experts say Microsoft left out multiple important collaboration features many enterprises still consider critical, including video endpoints and phones. But the ultimate success of Lync will depend on its future voice and video capabilities and what enterprises have as requirements.


  • How to modify OWA to support Microsoft Lync

    If you want to use unified messaging on your network with Exchange 2013 and Lync 2013, it's a good idea to consider modifying OWA 2013 so it can support Lync. Not only will this modification give you capabilities for messaging to OWA, but it will present information to the OWA interface. This tip tells you how to set it up.


  • Microsoft Lync: The next big thing in unified communications

    This UC suite includes collaboration tools for sharing content and conferencing, but it also includes capabilities for tightly integrating with Office, SharePoint and Exchange. There are also significant improvements for voice features, supporting branch offices and choosing new endpoints.


  • Assessing Office 365's Lync Online for Exchange admins

    With the release of Office 365, organizations are sizing up Lync Online as something that falls under the Exchange umbrella of unified communications. It comes with features like online meetings, file transfer and instant messaging, and it can also communicate with external organizations. But it falls short in a few areas.


  • Enterprises need Microsoft Lync monitoring to ensure UC performance

    Lync and other critical apps need more resources, so network managers need monitoring tools for Lync to make sure end users have the best experience at optimal performance. But because Lync doesn't have its own tool set for managing networks, many enterprises look to traditional monitoring tools.