Many employees consider their smartphone the most important technology they use throughout the day. You want to optimize both your time and your effectiveness using it. When you search for a person by their name, job title, or department, you can’t afford to get bogged down.
It’s not just about time management. You need to identify the correct person to call, and the correct number to contact them. Wrong numbers waste time and can be embarrassing.
It’s important to know who is calling or texting you. This helps you prioritize the incoming barrage.
If your company went to the trouble and expense to create lists of industry contacts from suppliers, service vendors, emergency contacts, and partners,then employees are meant to have them ready to use. That means in the smartphone itself. Think of it this way: anywhere else that you store these contacts, their value is x. In the smartphone, their value immediately becomes 10x.
Nearly every organization has sizable groups of employees who can’t do their jobs unless they can reach internal and external contacts. Shouldn’t they be able to do this immediately from their smartphone? Why burden these people with distractions and obstacles, when the challenge is easily solved via automation and central management.
Your time, and that of your colleagues, is not free. Hunting down phone numbers, or updating them on their mobile devices, incurs a salary cost that could be $1 per minute, or many dollars per minute. Multiple that by dozens of minutes per month per employee, and the cost is worth avoiding!
GAL contacts do not sync automatically to Outlook and smartphones. Microsoft Exchange Server and Outlook can sync contacts to smartphones. However, these contacts do not – repeat, do not – automatically get updates from the GAL. There is a widely held, entirely mistaken, idea that GAL contacts sync to smartphones. They don’t.
One can copy-paste or drag-drop contacts from the GAL or public folders to every subscriber’s Outlook, one subscriber at a time, but it’s laborious, error-prone,and puts a burden on many users. It often backfires, with confusing consequences. For example, have you ever located a customer in your smartphone address book, but then had the frustration of finding three entries with different phone numbers? How can you know which is the latest? See Reason #11 for more!
The IT term for this is data hygiene. There should be a single, central version of the data that everyone draws from. If a phone number is wrong, somebody will complain, and it gets fixed. It’s self-correcting. Crowdsourced updates become a reality, because everybody benefits from every contribution.
Obsolete contacts probably won’t be removed from smartphone address books, with most sync methods. Calling employees who have left the company, or leaving a voicemail with confidential information for a contractor whose engagement ended badly might do more than waste time. It can open a Pandora’s box of ill will. You need a reliable, automated method to remove obsolete contacts.
It’s nearly always a waste of resources and brainpower when a person syncs contact data manually. What do we mean by manual? Copying from a spreadsheet, typing names into the smartphone, or scraping numbers from an email. Syncing is a task for automation, not for employees.
Contact data on its own is not a solution to business problems. It requires dissemination, and it’s a “push” problem. Automation is the most effective way to handle that push.
Contacts are a valuable and proprietary resource that should be governed thoughtfully. Not every employee should have the company’s vendor contacts. Not every salesperson should necessarily have the contacts of all customers. The CEO and your board probably don’t want contact data for all 2,000 employees. Employee personal contact information such as home phone and address is on a need-to-know basis, and must be automated to be given to only the right people.
Like backing up data, it should be done every night. Typically, the discovery that it hasn’t been done consistently or correctly comes at the worst possible time: in a crisis or disaster. The consequences can be costly or disruptive for a business and its customers. Employee safety and welfare could easily be compromised without proper emergency contact information.