In most IM clients you have to add new contacts one by one. It”s annoying, it”s piecemeal…and if you”re in a big office with lots of people, skipping it altogether starts to appeal after about 5 seconds.

Avoiding this is good. Especially if you want to actually use OCS for communicating with others. So the smart thing for an OCS administrator to do is push contact lists out. Formulate standardized groups and apply them to everyone”s Office Communicator clients. (Whether they like it or not! Bwahaha…er, sorry. Got carried away.)

First, Group Your Contacts

Group them by department or by task.
Department groups could be Administration, IT, Project Development, Sales, HR, etc.
Task-based groups could be Main Product Team, Support Staff, Marketing,etc.
For starters,I”d recommend department groups for everybody. Then task-based groups as needed.

Next, Choose a Script or a Utility

Now that you have some groups built up with appropriate contacts, you”ll have to push them out to users. There are two ways to go about this right now – use a Microsoft scripting approach, or a third-party utility.

The Microsoft script is called “LCSAddContacts.wsf.” It”s in the OCS Resource Kit available here. (Note: This version works with OCS 2007 R2 only.)

LCSAddContacts.wsf does one thing and one thing only: Adding contacts to OCS. It will even sort with Active Directory Containers. The WinXNet blog has a good tutorial on how to use it for pushing out contact lists.

The other way is to use a third-party utility called Office Communications Server Contact Manager (OCSCM for short) found here: http://www.ocscm.com/
I haven”t tried this one out. It has a user guide, FAQs and a support forum though. Plus it”s free. Good to have as an option.

If you”re still on original OCS 2007, try OCSCM out. If you”re up to R2, go with LCSAddContacts.wsf.

A final note: Be sure to double-check your contact groups before pushing them out as lists! People WILL notice if they”re on a list that doesn”t correspond to their job function.

Do you know another way to manage contact lists for an OCS 2007 setup? Drop us a comment with a link below.

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