Last week I talked about Lync federation directories. Also mentioned the WCF (Who Can Federate) Tool at the end.

After the post, I received a tweet from Matt Landis, WCF’s creator. He made a very good point – Awareness of federation and its benefits is even more important than the directory.

(By the way, that directory is up t 8,300 orgs as of 5-9-12. Matt wants to get to 10K. If your organization has Lync Server installed and federation set up, go sign up!.)

I also received some emails wanting to hear more about federation.

Since I always like making Lync Insider readers happy, I’ll help out more!

First off, you don’t need to belong to a federation directory to take advantage of federation! All you need is the Who Can Federate (WCF) Tool. Find who you can federate with among your clients and partners, and add a few contacts from there.

I’ll even give you a couple reasons why, after this little walkthrough of the Who Can Federate Tool.

First: Install WCF. Then: Add Federated Contacts.

Grab the Who Can Federate Tool at the TechNet Gallery. Unzip and run setup.exe.

(Make sure you place the setup file where you want it to stay before running setup.exe! The WCF Tool will not run if you move the files afterward. You’ll receive an error that says, “You cannot start application Who Can Federate Tool from this location because it is already installed from a different location.”)

Once setup is done, you’ll be able to run the tool. It’ll start up like this:

The WCF Tool is ready for scan for federation-enabled contacts.

I recommend un-checking the box next to “Auto submit new domains after scan” at the bottom. Just in case the other organizations you turn up don’t want to be listed in the Directory. It’s only polite.

There’s two options to choose from before clicking the Scan button. Along the top you’ll see “Outlook 2010 Contact Folder to Scan” and a drop-down menu. The drop-down menu has two choices: Contacts and Suggested Contacts.

Selecting “Contacts” will scan for federated partners among your Outlook saved contacts.
Selecting “Suggested Contacts” will scan for federated partners among the email addresses you’ve communicated with. (This can take a little while.)

All you have to do is choose an option and click the Scan button.

After a moment, you’ll see a list of contacts you can federate with. I’ve posted a second screenshot to show you what the results look like.

WCF Tool with a list of federated contacts to add

Some may already be in your Lync 2010 Contacts list. If they aren’t (and you want to add them) just double-click.

As you’ll see in the screenshot, there are also two clickable options in the bottom left of the tool.

“Add Your Organization” – Sends you to a Directory submission page. You enter your contact details, company name and Lync Server domain, and click “Subscribe to List” to be added to the Worldwide Microsoft Lync Federation Directory.

“See Directory Stats” – Sends you straight to the Lync Federation Directory page. So you can see the stats.

Why Make Use of Federation? A Few Reasons

Federation was included in Lync Server to provide a communications bridge between different organizations. It’s a service you can use in many different ways, depending on what your role is and who you’re talking to.

Customer Service. Provide a multiple-avenue communications channel for customers to resolve issues. If their problem can’t be resolved in an IM, escalating to a phone call takes less time than you took reading this sentence. (Credit to Tom Keating for the suggestion.)

Test a Lync Server Remotely. IT administrators can verify successful Lync Server installations by scanning with the WCF Tool. If their customers’ contacts show up as federated, Lync Server’s running fine!

Scheduling International Discussions. If you have a Lync-enabled vendor or partner overseas, and need a question answered, Federation + Presence tells you when someone is available to answer.

Do you use federation? What’s the most useful thing about it to you?

Build Lync Federation Awareness: Use the WCF Tool (And 3 More Reasons You Should)
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