Company Wide Contact List
A common requirement is for a company or departmental contact list, one that can be used to send email from within Outlook. This is different to the Global Address List in that it contacts external contacts - suppliers, customers etc.
There are two ways to get external contacts available to Outlook clients.
- Mail Enabled Contacts.
The major problem with this method is keeping it up to date. The person doing it either needs ADUC and the Exchange System Management tools installed on their workstation (Exchange 2003), the Exchange 2007/2010 Admin tools, or they need access to a server. Their rights on the network also need to be adjusted.
In most cases this means the network/Exchange administrator makes the changes, which is fine if it is one or two, or contacts that don't change very often.
- Public Folder.
This process makes administration much easier, but is not without its drawbacks. However using this method is the subject of this article.
A Public Folder as a Company or Departmental Address Book
This process is quite straightforward:
- Create folder
- Configure permissions
- Adjust Outlook to use the folder.
- Create the Folder
Create the new public folder in the usual way through Outlook.
You need to create the folder in Outlook and not ESM/EMC as you need to make sure that the type is changed from the default "Mail and Post Items" to "Contacts".
Adjust the permissions as required. You will probably want to set the default to "none". All users should be given at least "Reviewer" which allows them to see the folder, its contents but not change anything.
Add additional permissions as required to allow office administrators to update the entries. You may want to allow people to adjust entries they created themselves, but not those created by others for example.
Also remember to ensure that there is an owner, and that administrator or the "Email Admin" group also has owner rights to ensure that the email administrators are not locked out of the folder.
- Adjust Outlook to use the folder.
Outlook can be configured to use a public folder as an address book. Simply right click on the new public folder and choose Properties. Then click on the tab "Outlook Address Book" and enable the option "Show this folder as an Outlook Address Book".
If the folder is added to the Public Folder favourites then it will be available offline as well.
There are two major drawbacks to holding contacts in this way.
- From a network administration point of view, the requirement to set each the Outlook address on a per user basis is a pain. To the best of our knowledge there is no way of setting it automatically. However once the setting has been made it does seem to "stick" between machines.
- These contacts are not available through OWA with the use of a hack or third party tool.
If this is important to you and you don't want to hack the OWA files or purchase a third party tool, then this method is not for you.
OWA Hack: http://gsexdev.blogspot.com/2005/02/adding-public-folder-contact-search.html
Third Party Tool: http://www.messageware.com/
This process is also outlined in this MS KB article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/258775
Third Party Utilities
If you want to use this as a simple Customer Relationship Manager, then you may find a Utility from Leap Beyond Solutions useful: http://www.leapbeyond.com/Software/ccl.asp
Synchronisation to a PDA
A common request is to sync the contacts to a PDA. This utility will allow you to do that:
DidItBetter Add 2 Exchange: http://www.diditbetter.com/Add2Exchange.aspx
For the Blackberry, if you have BES 5.0, then you can add a Public Folder as an additional address book.