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Shared Contacts using MS Exchange

 

Every Organization, Large or Small, has Contacts Lists. Based on our interactions with cross section of Customers, we find that Contacts lists are not given the priority they deserve. Within a single Organization, contacts are stored in multiple formats like

 

  • Excel sheet
  • Access Database
  • Outlook Contact list
  • Outlook Express Address Book
  • Digital Diary
  • Visiting cards folder

 

Disadvantages:

• The above leads to islands of information.

• It leads to absence of information sharing

• Too often , the contact information is incomplete in terms of details since a defined structure is absent

• For any change in contact information example telephone number, email id, multiple people have to update information leading to immense productivity loss

• With messaging becoming a mission critical application , having proper contact information is crucial . If individuals are to maintain their contacts records, this means huge waste of time

We can resolve this issue using Shared Contact Lists

 

 

Using Shared Contacts Lists, the advantages are:

• A single defined Database for storage of Contacts Information

• Structured field like name, Company, designation, office address, home address, telephone nos, mobile nos, pager no., fax no, email address, website address

• Information relevant to the contact can be put e.g. his likes/dislikes, birthday, payment procedure in a Company , Nature of business of the Contact's Company

• Direct email address by clicking on send mail

• Launch into website of the contact by clicking on the web address

• Security, since the data cannot be easily copied and taken out (like in .xls, .dbf, etc)

• Creation of various email lists e.g. Suppliers, Top Customers, Prospects can be done which immensely help in doing direct mailing exercise

• Immediate view of Contacts category wise

Most importantly,  data once entered is immediately available to everyone (based on permissions given). Customers who use Shared Contacts have mentioned that SHARED Contacts has become the MOST USEFUL application for the Customer since Company specific Contacts are the most crucial data for any Organization.

 

The feature of MS Exchange which allows you to share a common Address Book is called as Public Folder of MS Exchange , a part of Office365 Cloud Service.

 

What is a Public Folder?

 

In very simple terms  Public Folders are folders shared at a Company level. So for Contacts, we can setup a Contacts Folder in Public Folder. Next we set permission levels by giving certain users view rights while others we give right to edit . Once that is done, we are good to go!

What you see below is the snapshot of the Public Folders. And you can see the arrow pointing to the Shared Contacts folder. This is a regular Contacts folder of Outlook except that it is in Public Folder, making it shareable.

 

 

Once it is setup, then it can be configured as a regular Outlook Address Book. So when you are composing a new mail, on clicking the address Book drop down menu, you can get the

list of available address books. Next you select the Shared Contacts and then choose the emails as you would normally choose from your personal address book.

 

 

 

 

Savings by using Shared Contacts

 

So if we assume that an average person takes about 5 minutes to fill up an Outlook address contact , then for 300 contacts and 100 people Company, the time savings are:

 

5 x 300 x 100 = 1,50,000 minutes = 2500 hours

 

So at average cost to Company per hour per person being about Rs. 200, this translates to a saving of Rs. 5,00,000. This is not a small saving by any measure.

 

And this saving will increase whenever the Contact has to be modified, updated. And when we calculate the savings, we are not calculating the time wasted in trying to find the information here and there and calling Customers and creating a sub optimal impression.

So if you wish to realize some great savings, do start planning how to implement Shared Contacts within your Company. You can call us on 022-24134530 or you can click the submit button below and fill up the online inquiry form.

 

 

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