An easy-to-use corporate directory in SharePoint: surely not!

So, you’ve been put in charge of maintaining your organisation’s corporate directory? We feel your pain! Creating and then keeping a corporate directory up to date—which ensures users are happy and means they can just find the information they’re looking for—should be easy. In reality, it’s fraught with difficulties.

Storing your corporate directory of internal and external contacts in a SharePoint List is, in theory, a great idea, and will mean all the data is in one central place. However, if you’ve ever tried to compile such a list, you’ll know just how hard it can be in SharePoint:

  • Maintaining a List once complete is very time-consuming
  • Linking contacts in the List with user profiles is a manual and overly-complicated process
  • Your users hate it because searching for the List, and then using it once they find it, requires a lot of effort

There are ways of building a SharePoint corporate directory—primarily by populating a SharePoint List with contacts from Outlook (see more here). You’ll want to populate that List with:

  • Employee name
  • Department
  • Email address and phone number
  • Location and address
  • Job title
  • Ideally, a picture or a link to their Yammer profile

However, building and maintaining this kind of corporate directory is far from easy. And, unless you’re a design whizz, the user interface may make it difficult for users to find the information they need.

An easy-to-use SharePoint corporate directory

In the end, your employees just want to be able to find the contact details of customers, contacts and colleagues fast. If it takes them too long to hunt through SharePoint, that’s time wasted for the business and will inevitably lead to complaints about SharePoint. For SharePoint admins, managing that List is also a fairly painful experience. Updating contact details, incorporating the List with any enterprise social networks or adding new people to the corporate directory is unnecessarily hard.

And that’s why we designed the Phone Book add-in for SharePoint on-premises and Office 365. The Phone Book add-in provides your users with an intuitive phone book for all SharePoint user profiles, as well as contact lists from across your SharePoint environment.

For end users, having an easy-to-use corporate directory lets them:

  • Cut the time spent searching multiple locations for contact information
  • Find all their contacts in one place
  • Look for colleagues, partners and customers
  • Pin V-Cards to Outlook from the Phone Book Add-In

And, for SharePoint admins, using the Phone Book Add-In for your corporate directory means you can:

  • Easily update contact information
  • Connect data from across SharePoint
  • Save time and manual effort entering data into the corporate directory

So, how does it work?

The Phone Book add-in is a simple to use tool which appears as an app in the Office 365 app launcher or in SharePoint. By opening the phone box, users can simply search for contacts to find:

  • Phone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Office addresses

Hunting for contacts couldn’t be easier. From the ‘search contacts’ interface, your users can find their colleagues either by searching for their name or by selecting a letter from their first or last name from the alphabet list.

Once you’ve found a contact, the Phone Book add-in gives you several valuable features. You can pin the contact details of regular contacts to find them again faster next time in the pinned contacts page. You can view who is following them on Yammer, and you can also bring up a contact card QR code which lets you scan that contact onto your device, too.

And of course, you can also open up the contact’s information dialogue box and find all the relevant information you might need to reach that contact in future. You can also download a V-Card for an individual contact and store their information in Outlook.

Happy users, happy you!

SharePoint has long been criticised for not being the most user-friendly platform in the world. While we don’t think that’s really fair, and the most recent versions of the platform are excellent, it can’t be denied that in some areas it has its limits. It’s true that maintaining a corporate directory in SharePoint is a time-consuming and often frustratingly complex task for SharePoint admins, and even once you’ve created one, getting your colleagues to use it is a hard sell.

Being able to easily find the details of external contacts and colleagues is an important part of business, yet isn’t particularly easy to do in SharePoint. The Phone Book add-in from Lightning Tools aims to fill this gap. Once your colleagues can find contact information faster, they’ll be thanking you for the time and effort it saves them. And, since it’s easy to update and manage, it’ll take a lot of manual, boring work off your plate, too!


Ready to try it out? Download the Phone Book add-in as your corporate directory from the app store today!


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