Exchange GALs and Outlook Contacts Need Better Integration

Exchange has a Global Address List, or GAL. As the name suggests, this is intended to be an organization’s main directory.

However, it doesn’t usually work that way. For a start, often the directory of record is kept in a third-party repository, such as a PeopleSoft directory or a relational database.

But suppose your organization uses the GAL as the directory of record. Things don’t work the way they should. For example:

  • You still have personal address books.
  • Some GAL information–notably people’s email addresses–is put into personal address books.
  • Often information in personal address books is more current. For example, when people change their cellphones, they often don’t update the GAL, but instead notify their personal acquaintances.
  • GAL information is only available if you have IP connectivity.
  • GAL information isn’t synchronized with handheld devices.

All in all, the overlap between personal address books and the GAL is confusing. It should be cleaned up.

David Ferris, with thanks to itrezzo’s Vern Weitzman

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