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 (group1@yourdomain.com) 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.