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Three Microsoft collaboration tools all Exchange admins should know

Last updated:December 2013

Editor's note

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.

1Reaping 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.

2Sizing 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.

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