Today I had a conversation with a client who is investigating using an IM/UC vendor other than Microsoft. They let me know that the vendor said they integrate with SharePoint just like Lync because “they show presence information on SharePoint sites.” So my response was “Oh really?” Then I proceeded to share several of the ways that Lync and Sharepoint integrate. I realized it would make a great blog post to share this information so here it is.
Here are major ways that Lync and SharePoint integrate:
1. Online presence indicator next to an individual’s name wherever their name appears in a site collection in SharePoint.
2. Assist in providing colleague suggestions for use in My Sites, My Profiles and People Search.
3. Through Lync, provide access to SharePoint people and skills search including names and skills and a link to the user’s My Site.
Let me provide more detailed information about each of these aspects listed above.
Online Presence Indicator
The online presence indicator shows whether the individual is offline or is online and available to respond to queries via an instant messaging client. When an individual is online, you can click the online status indicator to send an instant message. Also it provides the ability to send and receive e-mail, call the person, and to display free/busy information. The indicator status is rendered by an ActiveX control that is installed with Microsoft Office. The ActiveX control enables online status to be displayed. This control verifies the e-mail address on record for the user and directs a query to the presence server for that client to see if they are online. The ActiveX control does not store online information or e-mail addresses; it simply directs queries from the site to the e-mail address and renders the appropriate status.
To display the presence indicator and its associated contact card (in Office 2010) or menu (in Office 2007 and Office 2003), SharePoint uses the Microsoft ActiveX control name.dll. The ActiveX control makes calls directly to the Microsoft Lync 2010 API, and then Lync makes MAPI or Exchange calls to supply the requested information. More information about name.dll can be found here:
Lync as well as Outlook are used to provide colleague suggestions. It is good to know why colleagues are important in people search and how the suggestions are gathered:
SharePoint Server uses your list of Colleagues to help compute the social distance used to rank People Search results. Your Colleagues list starts with your manager, anyone who reports to your manager, and your direct reports. You can remove any of these names and add any name from your company’s directory. You can organize your colleagues into groups and choose whether to show a colleague on your public page.
SharePoint Server proactively suggests colleagues and displays them in a Suggested Colleagues web part on a user’s My Site. It does this through a number of different features.
The user’s Communicator or Lync contacts are examined and are collected from the Communicator client via the ActiveX control (name.dll) for colleague suggestions.
The SharePoint Server Colleague Add-In in Microsoft Outlook 2010 scans the user’s Sent Items folder periodically (every 5 days or so, depending on usage) to look for names and keywords along with the frequency of those names and keywords. The list of possible colleagues is updated periodically and stored under the user’s profile on the user’s local computer. This list is accessed by the Add Colleagues page on a user’s SharePoint My Site through an ActiveX control when you click Suggested colleagues where they can choose the colleagues they want to add to their My Site. The user can approve or reject contact names before they are added. Outlook 2007 supports this functionality but is not as extensive in searching for colleagues.
Although you can enable e-mail analysis for all users in Outlook or only for specific groups by using Group Policy, users can opt out of this feature. If e-mail analysis is disabled for all users, individual users can still opt in. Also, you can choose not to install the add-in as part of the Office install. More information about configuring the add-in can be found here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff384821.aspx.
Lync client direct integration with SharePoint
Through Lync client policy, the Lync client can be configured to use the Skill view, in Lync search results, to search Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 My Site pages for people with specific skills or expertise. Also, it can be figured to access the user’s personal SharePoint Server 2010 My Site profile page from the Lync – Options dialog box.
To see a good overview of skills integration, see this blog post: http://blogs.catapultsystems.com/tharrington/archive/2010/11/15/enabling-skill-search-in-lync-2010.aspx.
To get the best overview of most of this integration, see the SharePoint Integration chapter in the Lync Server 2010 Resource Kit: http://download.microsoft.com/download/9/4/E/94ED1EF4-A2EF-4686-9841-B0390072D524/Chapter_16_SharePoint_Integration.doc.
For instructions for adding the link to the user’s My Site, see the ShowSharepointPhotoEditLink field information on this page: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg398806.aspx.
Well, hope you found this informative and feel free to comment away!