Communications Blog • 5 MIN READ

Managing the Microsoft endpoint ecosystem

Richard Smith

Written by Richard Smith

If your organization is running Microsoft UC and Collaboration tools, like Skype for Business or Teams, it is critical to have visibility in to - and the ability to manage and troubleshoot - the entire endpoint ecosystem, to ensure a good end-user experience.
It's also important to be able to identify where non-approved endpoints may being used, as these can not only impact that one user – but everyone who is trying to engage with them also.

So, what do we mean by the ‘endpoint ecosystem'? And, how can you best manage what you have currently to see a marked improvement in performance? This article will cover all this and more, so read on and find your way to endpoint ecosystem utopia.

What We Mean by Endpoints

What is an endpoint? You're already familiar with many specific types of endpoints, and your office may already have some that are Microsoft certified from various other manufacturers.
From the point-of-view of the internet of things (IoT), the word, “endpoint,” according to TechTarget, refers to any form of physical computing device on a Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) network. Endpoints include:

  • Headphones
  • Microphones
  • Desktops
  • Laptops
  • Smart phones
  • Softphones
  • Desk phone handsets
  • Cell phones
  • Video conference room devices
  • Cameras 
  • TV screens
  • Tablets
  • Thin clients

Each of these devices performs a specific function as part of a product or service managed on the Internet. When we refer to endpoints, we're speaking specifically about communication endpoints as specific types of communication network nodes.
Endpoints serve as interfaces for communicating parties. They're the devices your organization, teammates and clients interact with when communicating to each other.

All devices communicate through channels. Physical transmission media, like cables, and logical connections over multiplexed media serve as channels. Your communication channels may include hardware like radio transmitting devices or computer networks.
Endpoint Ecosystems Include Endpoints and their Vendors

All the communication devices that sit on your desk, in the conference room, or that you might carry around in your pocket, are endpoints. They help you communicate with your professional network by connecting you to one of several types of communication channels.

The whole conglomerate of endpoints, and the communication channels to which they connect, create the endpoint ecosystem. Most communication systems, like Microsoft's Skype for Business or Cisco, manage a limited collection of device types and communication channels. UC Experience Management Solutions, on the other hand, as vendor agnostic unified communication monitoring and troubleshooting systems, serve a much larger, more diverse, flexible, and powerful endpoint ecosystem.
The Skype troubleshooting tools allows monitoring within Microsoft's system only. Likewise, Cisco offers highly effective communication endpoints, but only among Cisco devices.

The Microsoft Skype Troubleshooting Tools Difference

One of the challenges managing the Microsoft endpoint ecosystem presents, is the reliance on a multitude of technologies and vendors to bring the solution to life. For example, in the event of Skype not connecting calls, any number of causes may contribute to the failed connection, and Skype troubleshooting tools may effectively locate the problem if it occurs within the Skype system.

However, many problems may occur from outside the Microsoft Skype for Business ecosystem. A user may, for example, have poor quality headphones, or may not have optimized the configuration in their laptop. The Skype troubleshooting tools may not effectively identify such problems.
Unified communications endpoint ecosystems, on the other hand, simplify troubleshooting by consolidating the whole system, from endpoint to endpoint, into a single dashboard. This allows the troubleshooting team to drill down to individual users and determine if the problem lies in their endpoint, network, or server.

Only with a unified communication system does the communications team have the simplified visibility of the entire endpoint ecosystem. It allows faster troubleshooting and resolution of issues. 

A More Complete Experience Management Solution

A collaboration solution, like Skype for Business, can help your team become more efficient. However, it relies upon multiple technologies and vendors to deliver a full Skype for Business environment experience. Consequently, teams responsible for delivering quality service can run in to challenges when troubleshooting issues.

This is where a true UC performance management tool comes in handy, as it provides visibility across the entire UC ecosystem. It allows your team to track down problems all the way to the individual endpoint headsets. It consolidates all of this into a single dashboard, instead of having to flip from one vendor's tool to the other and back again.

UC Performance management solutions deliver much more comprehensive options, whether you use Skype for Business in the cloud, on premises, or in a hybrid environment. They provide user experience and performance management insights, network assessment, root-cause analysis, and troubleshooting throughout the UC ecosystem.

Pinpoint and Improve Communication Worldwide

The incredible complexity of the UC endpoint ecosystem far exceeds that of any of the single vendor systems, such as Skype troubleshooting tools. A UC solution can simplify the management, monitoring, and troubleshooting of all your systems. Not only will it detect and identify a problem, like Skype not connecting calls in your headset, but it will track down any other problem across the globe.

It makes sure that your audio or data transmission looks as good in another hemisphere as it does in the conference room where you're sitting. The power of locating a problem, whether in your headset or somewhere halfway around the globe, enables your team to quickly identify solutions and take action to implement them.

Topics: Communications Microsoft - Teams - Skype

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