(Sorry about the delay on this post. WordPress didn't want to cooperate last week, and I didn't have the time to fight with it.)

A few days ago we were asked a question. This question, I felt, deserved its own post. Because it brings up a very important OCS version point.

“Should we upgrade now, or wait for OCS 2010?”

In this case “upgrade” referred to the fact that this client had no present OCS system. The choice was between putting in a brand new OCS 2007 R2 system, or waiting a few months for the upcoming release of OCS 2010.

What Do You Need from OCS Now? Later?

This question comes down to two concerns: present need and future planning. What communications tools do you need? And how far in the future do you want to (or typically) plan?

These questions can help determine which is best. Upgrading to OCS 2007 R2 now, or waiting until the end of this year when OCS 2010 arrives. I'll address both while comparing the advantages of each approach below.

A couple things to keep in mind while we consider:

  • Voice is a big upgrade issue.
  • So is cost.
  • Planning time is always dependent on how big an organization is.

Advantages in Upgrading Now

  1. You'll get a jump on preparation. It takes time to survey and prepare.
    • You'll need an inventory of the user pool, and what they want.
    • You'll need to decide which services you want to use (VoIP or no, which servers are needed).
    • You'll need to decide what architecture to use (all local, all hosted, virtual?).
    • And you'll need to add necessary server hardware. (Or go with a hosted option, of course.)

    Deciding to start an OCS 2007 R2 implementation plan now gives you an option. Do we spread it out over a couple months? Or take a week and get it all done? The choice is yours.

  2. “OCS 2007 now,OCS 2010 later” is NOT mandatory. You don't have to upgrade again (at least not right away) if your new OCS 2007 R2 system works for you.
  3. An OCS 2007 R2 system removes the need for (and cost of) third-party conferencing solutions.

Advantages in Waiting for OCS 2010

  1. It's intended to replace the PBX. OCS 2007 R2 can replace a PBX,but it requires some add-ons (ex., media gateway). OCS 2010 however is intended as a full PBX replacement.
  2. Fewer servers needed. As I pointed out the other day, OCS 2010 will run on fewer physical servers than 2007 R2.
  3. Even more prep time. If you have a larger organization, it will (obviously) take longer to prepare for a major communications change than it would a small business. Especially since you'll be moving people over to OCS, not just technology. Fortunately, you still have plenty of time to ease in.

Based on all this and the two questions I mentioned earlier, this is what I recommend:

If you intend to move to VoIP, plan for transitioning to OCS 2010.

If you're already using VoIP or don't want to use it, implement OCS 2007 R2 now.

What's your plan? Which OCS version are you moving toward?

OCS 2007 R2 Now VS. OCS 2010 Later: What's the Plan?
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