Know whether a contact is too busy to meet or call.
Recently I’ve written a couple of pieces about connecting Office 365 to the rest of the world and more specifically discovering who else uses Lync Online.
More recently, while running a Lync and Learn session for the Office 365 team on Lync and Exchange Online federation I realised there was no way customers could discover who they could share their calendars with. A tool exists for Lync users to discover who else uses Lync so borrowing on this idea I’ve built a similar tool for Exchange Online.
The tool is known as the Exchange Federation Discovery Tool and is available as a free download from the Microsoft TechNet Gallery. The operation is simple: install the tool, run it to scan your Outlook contacts.
The output can be sorted but ultimately will show which of your Outlook contacts is using Office 365 and with whom you could share your calendar.
The tool will also display which contacts use Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (aka BPOS, the predecessor to Office 365) as they will be transitioned to Office 365 sometime this year and will also be able to share calendars too.
Why share your calendar with people outside of your organisation? It means less time spent on email, phone calls or instant messages determining when both (or more parties) are free and identifying a suitable time to meet.
Once calendar federation is established you can simply see the free/busy periods of that user when creating the meeting invite – which ultimately consumes less time and allows you to be that slightest bit more productive.
Loryan Strant is a Microsoft Office 365 MVP (Most Valuable Professional). Follow him on Twitter @TheCloudMouth.