Moving from a Mitel PBX to Lync 2010 (part one of three)

I’ve worked at %dayjob% since July 2006, where we have a Mitel 3300. At the time this was amazing – digital to the desktop, everyone with their own DDI, Voicemail and the ability for an end user to setup hot keys themselves – it was THE FUTURE!

February 2007 saw the Network Admin and myself visit Nottingham for a Microsoft Technet Roadshow. The Microsoft Presenters were Eileen (Twitter), Darren (Twitter), Steve (Twitter) and James (Twitter) – the presentation that stood out was of Office Communication Server 2007 and a live demo with Tayside Fire and Rescue who used OCS for audio communication as well as IM and presence. Coming back to work I started to enthuse about what the IM and presence features for OCS would bring for us and how it would enable us to work smarter. We worked up a small skunkworks server in the ICT team using a Technet installer which worked well for us but we never pushed further due to other commitments.

The use of OCS throughout the organisation was still a dream of mine which after much selling to other members of the team and to the management team we succeeded in getting budgetary approval for the rollout of OCS 2007 R2 to all users for IM, presence and P2P audio/video. This work was carried out with PostCTI and in a short space of time we had every member of staff enabled. One side note here is that we provided training to groups of staff and at the end of each training session we gave away some gifts: a webcam and headset (all OCS certified so plug-and-play) and a packet of Jelly Belly Beans to emphasises the presence jelly beans in OCS and Outlook – people love sweets!

One thing that we had not anticipated was how the scheme managers (a single person looking after a sheltered scheme - an old peoples home in common parlance) would take to video conferencing, we worked out that this was because they would only get together with their colleagues at the monthly team meetings and so this gave that face to face feeling that other staff got in the main offices.

In December 2010 we launched the our Contact Centre – this was designed to be one stop shop for the majority of calls that we took and was built on the Mitel 6100 system. This was a great success and the use of OCS jelly beans to check for the status of people before calling them was part of the procedures that each agent would use.

Over time we got to a standardised desktop (Windows 7 and Office 2007 throughout) and OCS was looking a bit tired as it was based on Office 2003 non-Ribbon layout. The Mitel 3300 was starting to get tired too so based on the success of OCS we started to explore using it as our phone system. We chose Eurodata systems to help us get to this stage and after a very fast Proof-of-Concept stage we rolled out Lync 2010 to the ICT team as our phone system in a behind the PBX configuration (ISDN to Mitel to Media Gateway to Lync).

After rolling out to ICT we had an urgent request for a senior member of staff to be able to work from multiple offices with the same phone number. Using the Mitel system this would have been…… uhhhh….. messy and expensive. Moving him to Lync seemed like the most obviously solution, especially as we had deployed the Lync Edge server role and had Outlook Anywhere running too.

Over the next few years we migrated all staff to Lync 2010 Enterprise Voice for their phone services. We appeared to be ahead of the curve on the migration as we let our staff CYOD (Choose your own device). The device choice was limited to:

Polycom CX300

Blackwire C320-M
Blackwire C310-M
Jabra UC Voice 250 MS
Jabra PRO 930USB


Share photos on twitter with Twitpic One insight is that (unless there was direction from a manager on device) people would say they want a desk phone but then after a few weeks they would see the advantage of having a wireless headset and ask to change. In that way our original order of CX300's got moved to a new team every few months and we would start the process again!

Other area's that got Lync were our carpentry office who use a Bedlam Siren Caller on an analogue phone line and all our remote sites who use Remote App’s for the majority of their ICT Services. So by the end of April 2013 everyone was “Lync’ed Up” – all that is apart from the Contact Centre Team.

Updated with device choices 29/11/2013 & 06/02/2013


  1. It just sounds like you didn't understand what you could do with your Mitel system. If you judge a 2013 tech against a 2007 version then there will be no comparison. On the other hand you could have achieved exactly the same - with far better voice features - and for less cost - by updating your Mitel environment.

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      Thanks for your comment - we did invite our Mitel Telecoms supplier in to show us the Mitel feature set at the time and we were...... underwhelmed. I agree that the Mitel 3300 (as it stood) had loads more voice features than Lync 2010 but as we were not using them it didn't feel like we have lost anything.

      Cost, I agree that we could have got the Mitel up to date for less cost. Although this would have just given us a more up to date Legacy PBX. The integration with the Microsoft Product Stack was still lacking. We did use the Mitel Live Business Gateway.... for all of one month, it was again - underwhelming.

      As for "exactly the same" well I'm afraid we are going to have to agree to disagree.

      As Gartner say:

      "Consider Mitel when you are looking for software that can run as a self-contained stand-alone system"

      as opposed to:

      "Lync is a strategic UC choice for many organizations, and potentially an alternative to replace a legacy PBX installation."