Tuesday Take-Away: Smart Distribution Lists

One of the challenges many of our customers face is managing contacts and distribution lists.  Organizations want to share contact information to avoid duplicate and incorrect information, but need to control who manages the data.  Similarly, many organizations want to build distribution lists for communicating with contacts, but want each contact to only have one record.

For Google Apps, we work with several tools (i.e. Floreysoft) that help you build and share contact information and groups.

For Distribution Lists, Google Apps for Business (Government, and Education) includes Groups.  Originally built to provide secure discussion forums with optional moderation, Groups has evolved into a robust communication and collaboration tool.  Some of the key features in Groups that create smart distribution lists include:

  • Access Security: Control who can manage, view, and belong to the group in order to receive messages.  Access can be given to individuals outside your organization, a great advantage for project teams.
  • Use Security: Control who can use the group, ie send messages to the group, and whether or not the list can be used by email address only ( or via a web interface.   Access can range from specific individuals to fully public.
  • Delivery Options: Messages can be forward to members as they arrive or in daily or volume-based digest formats.  Users can elect to change this setting to meet their individual job and communication preferences.
  • Nesting: Groups can be members of other groups.  This lets companies create a distribution list hierarchy.  Place a person in the correct group, and they will receive all message for distribution lists “up the chain”.  Schools can easily create email lists for parents and students by class, and then roll them up into grade, school, and district level lists.

With these features, organizations have the ability to place contacts in distribution lists and maintain a single source for managing contact records.

Managing Contacts: Eliminate Duplicates

One of the biggest contact management challenges is removing duplicates.  In Google Apps, the process just got easier with the “Find Duplicates” button.  One click, and you can review and merge duplicate contacts.

Premier vs Standard Edition

One of the advantages of upgrading to Google Apps Premier Edition is the ability to integrate your existing Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES).  In November, Google upgraded the connector in several ways:

  • Increased Capacity: Administrators can now run up to 500 users per Blackberry Enterprise Server
  • 64-bit Support: The Google Apps Connector now supports 64-bit Windows systems
  • Support for Blackberry Professional Software
  • Hosted Support: The Google Apps Connector now includes support for multiple companies on a single server
  • Enhanced Logging

For small and mid-size businesses, this means easier connectivity and emerging options to use 3rd party BES hosting services.  You can now get the full BES, native Blackberry, user experience for email, calendar, and contacts without the capital investment of running the BES server in-house.