Whilst at a Girl Geek dinner last night I chatted with a friend who recently started working for a multi-national corporation. Neither of us could quite believe how poorly their IT systems had been implemented - particularly given their size and prestige.
Simple things like finding out the telephone number for another employee was painful. I have clearly been spoilt as I am used to accessing the (Microsoft Exchange) Global Address List (GAL), entering the name of the person I'm looking for and retrieving details of the phone, IM, email and office location. I can even query the GAL directly from my Windows Mobile phone from anywhere I have network coverage.
I asked a number of other people (@ the Geek Dinner) how they find the telephone number of their peers and was amazed to find that many organisations face the same challenge of disconnected IT and HR systems.
Some people even told me that they have to telephone the reception of the building they think the person works in and actually ask to be put through!
Some people told me that the details in their GAL were completely out of date as changes could only be made by the Human Resources department. At Microsoft each employee is able to submit changes to their own contact data from their PC which are automatically replicated to wherever they are required - it's not perfect as it can take up to a day for all systems Worldwide to recieve the updates across all third party applications.
I accept that I work for a high tech company and therefore provision of internal IT systems is high up the corporate agenda - clearly this is not realistic for everyone.
I'd love to hear your experience so please share it by commenting on this post.
www.namescape.com takes your AD and turns it into a phone book. MS Gold Partner too.
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We use a product called PeopleUpdate from Webactivedirectory. It allows us to delegate control back to the users while still controlling the data being input into AD.