Managing Business Contact information

Every business will benefit from managing their contact information in a more effective way.  (Don’t get me started on CRM – this site is about simple and cheap solutions.)  The problem is that this information is often distributed among many sources, excel files, individual users’s address books, Active Directory (GAL), sharepoint, etc.  I am actually starting to think that the best way to manage this info is to primarily keep everything in one Excel file and pull that to the GAL on a regular basis.  That way we have a file format that is familiar to everyone and is easy to export from, and everyone can use Outlook or Smartphones to access the data as well.

  • Sharepoint – Instead of creating a separate contact list in Sharepoint, why not just link to the Excell doc thus: \serversharecontact.xls.  There are ways a way to pull a contact list out of the GAL, but I haven’t found a manageable way to keep this updated.
  • You can always update info in the GAL using this contact list – for a simple way to get your current AD users (and contacts?) updated check out this post: http://globalizenetworks.com/blog/2008/05/06/updating-galupdating-gal

    • To add external contacts to the GAL you can always use CSVDE to pump in a bunch of contact info, I will write this up at a later date.
  • It’s pretty straightforward technically for end-users to export their contacts to an Excel file.  Good luck getting people to actually do it.  Most people rightly consider their contacts to be assets which should be carefully guarded.  Any suggestions here are greatly appreciated.