Businesses hoping to connect Skype users with Lync users via their corporate Lync Server but haven't started the process yet are in for a wait.
That's because it can take 30 days to activate accounts necessary to support a back-end service called public instant messaging connectivity, which is necessary for Skype and Lync Server to work together.
BACKGROUND: Microsoft promises stronger ties between Lync, Skype ]
Once the two platforms are connected, though, users of both can receive each other's presence information and communicate via instant messaging and audio calls. Video call support comes later.
Skype users can add Lync users to their contacts and Lync users can add Skype contacts from their Microsoft Account, the same account used for signing in to SkyDrive, Outlook.com, Windows Phone and Xbox Live. Existing stand-alone Skype accounts can be merged into Microsoft accounts.
It's not complicated to request public instant messaging connectivity, but waiting for the back-end account to activate takes up to 30 days, Microsoft says.
All the request requires is going to this website to download the provisioning guide and following a few straightforward instructions.
In some cases businesses may already have their Lync Servers provisioned to support Skype connectivity. Lync Servers set up to connect to Microsoft's Windows Messenger using public instant messaging connectivity may have been configured in a way that also supports Skype, Microsoft says. The instructions mentioned above will tell whether those configurations suffice.
That's how to connect Lync and Skype users if businesses own Lync Servers. It's much quicker and easier for those businesses subscribed to Office 365 Midsize or Office 365 Enterprise: Sign in to Office 365, go to the Lync Online control panel, go to External Communications and click to enable Public IM Service Providers. That's it.
For Office 365 Small Business Premium customers, sign in, go to Admin>Service Settings>Instant Messaging, Meetings and Conferences and turn on External Communications. All set.