Having all of your team’s information easily accessible is key for a healthy workplace communication system. Having their contact information on the LDAP directory allows people to find each other quickly and avoid delaying tasks. That is, colleagues can collaborate on projects, reach people from other departments and even refer their teammates to solve issues.
That being said, having this organized can be a difficult task for IT admins. As the company grows, the work of keeping every employee’s data updated and secure can be a hassle. Especially with global companies across time zones and countries
And with different devices and software connected to the workflow, this process can get even harder. For instance, if you are working on a payment and need to forward the invoice to the Accounting team, how can you do it directly from the banking software if you don’t know the person’s email address? Or if you are working on your mobile device: how can you reach colleagues if you don’t have their phone numbers saved in your contract? This is the idea behind an LDAP directory.
And for that to work, this LDAP directory must be up-to-date and available at all times.
What is an LDAP directory?
An LDAP directory for company contacts is a database. It stores information about employees, contractors, clients, suppliers and other relevant parties within a company.
LDAP directories are commonly used to manage contact information. You can find colleagues by their names, email addresses, phone numbers, job titles, location, department and other details that identify them and their activities.
This system creates a centralized location for storing and managing this information. IThen, it can be accessed by authorized users across the company.
The current limitations of directories
The use of company-wide directories of contact details is a huge advantage. But it can also come with a few limitations. Whether it’s operational tasks, team management or even the lack of relevant data, it’s hard to keep all contact information right and true for an entire company.
As a company grows, so does the need to keep everyone easily accessible. There are managers who work with remote teams across the globe. There are external contractors. It’s almost impossible for team members to have all contact details saved on their devices and accounts.
With that, the LDAP directory is even more essential. But the bigger the team, the more information needs to be saved. This poses a challenge in time management and delegation of keeping track of any changes.
A byproduct of the size of the team is the amount of work that is tied to IT teams. More often than not, the IT department is responsible for updating all of the data. This happens because they are the system admins and have the permission to add and change any users.
Usually, these teams are also responsible for a lot of upkeep within the organization’s systems and servers. That is, they already have a lot of stuff on their plate.
So, the task of maintaining employees’ profiles add to this high volume of work and requires time and dedication.
Lack of search mechanism
Another layer that might complicate the use of your contact information directory is that it doesn’t have enough information about each person. When you save your teammates numbers or email addresses to your account, you won’t have enough information to categorize them into.
Ideally, a good LDAP directory includes a lot of contact details that can be customized to each company’s needs, such as job title, location, department, project they are involved in, etc.
From there, if you need to reach someone but don’t know them – such as a manager from a specific branch, a person from a third party contractor, someone that’s in charge of a project you contribute to – you won’t need to search for their name, but for their role.
Hard to share
It’s important to notice that contact information can be shared to make the workflow more efficient. For example, an IT department is facing customer service issues at a software developing company. Knowing how to share the expert’s contact details with the customer fast tracks the task.
Another concern with sharing contact information outside the company’s directory is that it can lead to confidentiality issues. For example, a finance company might deal with multiple contractors that need to have access to the employees to perform their duties. However, they are not actually employees. So it’s not advisable to add them to the department’s workspace, due to sensitive file sharing.
But it’s not efficient to have them ask for an address each time they need to contact a different person. This is a challenge within traditional LDAP directories – there’s no way to share relevant, but limited information with specific groups or people outside of it.
How to make directories contact information better?
With the main concerns around the limitations of a regular contact information system, employees need a better solution that makes their communication system faster, more efficient and share-able. Enter Shared Contacts for Gmail®.
This tool allows users to create and update contacts in shared address books, accessible from everywhere. organizations can categorize their contacts by location, job title, level, department and much more.
Editable contact details
And one of the key features is that admins can authorize users to edit their own LDAP profiles and that can also be visible outside of their Google domain if they wish. This comes with multiple advantages, such as:
Instead of waiting until an IT admin can add a new phone number, job title or email address, authorized users can do it on their own. When you update a contact, it syncs with the Google Directory (LDAP). It also syncs with all the devices of their colleagues. So no matter where you’re working from, you can find the contact information you need.
IT task load
IT teams are often multitasking. If you relieve them of having to update each user’s information, it cuts down on time spent making sure everything is correct.
Ability to share
Shared Contacts for Gmail® allows Google Workspace administrators to share your whole directory with outside users. It is useful for third parties like vendors or other branches.
Therefore, when a user updates their LDAP directory contact information, authorized users can see these details instantly. This is an important feature that allows people to give more transparency about their roles in the organization.
The main advantage of editable contact information is that people can feed them according to many aspects of their roles at the company. If someone works at a global organization, for example, they can add time zones. This lets people know when to reach out to them. If a person is on more than one project, they can add both to their profile. Managers can have a specific designation to be easier to find.
With that, it’s also much easier to search for whomever you need, making the communication system faster and better.