I would like to ask you guys for advice. Currently I am helping a small organization (4 PC's) to improve their IT system a bit. The main problem is, that each of them is having their own 'address book' in:
- some contacts in Excel (which they need for publishing address lists,..)
- some in Microsoft Access (for label-printing and work-hour/project measurement/billing)
Therefore almost nothing is shared with the others. This requires everyone to keep track of their contacts by themselves, causing a lot of work. It would be nice to find one place to store all contacts.
- 4 PC's, Windows 7, 3xOffice 2010, 1xOffice 2013
- iPhone, Android phones
- 1 installation using Microsoft Access
- address book synchronization across all four computers
- wish: store additional information to each contact such as education, visited courses (however if a database could be hooked on the contact system it could be outsourced into a DB)
- import/link contacts (export/copy from Outlook?)
- Mailing feature for letters (using contacts from Excel, maybe in the future Outlook?)
- could it be hooked up with the Contact-Management-'System'
What I did
I looked at outlook.com, Google and Office 365 E1/E3 (including Exchange Server). Reasons almost all of them disqualified are:
- LDAP - for a small business very difficult to maintain (unless there is a simple solution I have not found?)
- Outlook.com, Google - no contact group support (at least not across clients)
- Office 365 E1/E3
- management really difficult (at least once I won't be around there's noone who could keep an eye on all the configurations)
- Global address list seemed perfect to me, but is, as far as I understand only modifiable by the Administrator (online or via PowerShell) and for 'normal' users hard to maintain
- Public Folders nor Shared Mailboxes sync to mobile devices
- otherwise this seems like the most viable solution
I started checking if my approach was wrong and if there are any alternatives, such as
- synchronisation-tools (Osa-Sync)
- maybe an alternative E-Mail client.
- or simply use a shared Exchange Account b/c that would support contacts, also on mobile devices - (I am confident I will find viable compromises for the remaining problems)
I am wondering if my approach is completely wrong and larger companies use other solutions to manage their contacts or if a simple database behind all this would make more sense (if it integrates well with office)...
I am honestly surprised, that I have such a hard time finding a good solution and would be more than happy if anyone of you could share their experience if they had similar problems or make suggestions towards possible solutions.