Persistent Chat

While talking with our Lync team about training subjects to cover, I realized I hadn’t blogged about Chat in a while. And I should! It’s a very useful part of Lync Server (especially in 2013).

So, this will be the first of a double-post on Persistent Chat. The first post will go over what persistent chat is, and what’s been changed from Group Chat in Lync Server 2010. The second post will cover how to use Persistent Chat’s chat rooms, as well as some potential roles these chat rooms can play in your organization.

Ready? Open up Lync and let’s go!

Persistent Chat: Group Chat’s Stronger Successor

Last year I posted a ‘Group Chat 101’, saying Group Chat “provides text-based chat rooms where chats are recorded and searchable.”

Persistent Chat for Lync Server 2013 is still centered around this idea of recorded chat rooms. But it’s received some upgrades from the 2010 version.

Persistent Chat lets you create Chat Rooms within the Lync client. These Chat Rooms are spaces where you and other Lync users can share information. This information is archived in the Chat Room log. In the future, if you or someone else needs to refer to that information, they can look up the Chat Room log. And if necessary, update it with new information. Which is again archived for future reference.

Okay, so how is Persistent Chat different from Group Chat then?

The upgrades came in the form of integration. Group Chat was a separate download from Lync Server 2010. You had to use a separate client for chatting, too. Within the client you created a Chat Room, which users joined like they would a multiparty IM. Except Group Chat logs were accessible to everyone (who had proper permissions).

For those of you who used IRC (Internet Relay Chat), Group Chat was almost identical. But that same functionality also meant Group Chat was a less flexible, less dynamic communication tool than Lync’s Instant Messaging.

With Persistent Chat, a lot changed. Persistent Chat is now an included server role in Lync Server 2013. Install it via Topology Builder during Lync setup. (For a how-to, visit Matt Landis’ blog: Step by Step Installing Lync Server 2013 Persistent Chat Collocated on Standard Edition Front End – Windows PBX & UC Blog)

Chat Room functionality is also built into the Lync 2013 desktop client. You can access chat rooms as easily as you do IM.

See? It’s right there on Lync’s top nav bar, between Contacts and Conversation History.

Create a chat room in Lync, or access existing rooms (those you have permission to access, of course!). I’ll cover specifics on how to use chat rooms in the next post.

Right now, you may be wondering something.

“Why would we use Persistent Chat in the first place? It sounds a lot like IM already!”

Both are text-based conversations, yes. Both allow for multiple users to chat, share links or files, and so on. But Instant Message and Persistent Chat aren’t quite the same. And it’s their differences that make Persistent Chat valuable.

See, IM is a LIVE conversation. If someone’s offline, you can’t talk with them. Also, IM logs are stored locally, in your own Conversation History. If you want to review a conversation someone else had, you’ll have to ask them to send you the log. You can’t access it on your own.

IM conversations are, essentially, private. Persistent Chat conversations are not.

How are non-private chat logs valuable? Because Persistent Chat logs turn a business conversation into an information asset for everyone. Think of a chat log like notes from a meeting – valuable insight from those events, captured for everyone’s future reference.

Sounds pretty valuable to me!

Next post, I’ll show you how to use Persistent Chat in Lync, and list some potential uses you can derive from it. See you then!

Do you currently use Persistent Chat or Group Chat? What do you use it for the most?

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