The Missing Sync

The GAL is a view-only solution on smartphones. There is a fundamental gap when it comes to syncing contact data from the GAL. Users would be more productive if they have the entire GAL where they actually use it – on their smartphones. Microsoft elected to omit automatic syncing from the GAL to Outlook, which is the first step of that journey. The motive of Microsoft might be to give each organization discretion in granting access to specific data to particular employees.

How IT Tries to Beat the Gap

Manually Push Contacts. It is possible, although arduous, for a central administrator to manually push contacts through Outlook to each individual’s mailbox utilizing Active Sync. While this may be feasible for companies that have less than 100 mailboxes, as a company grows, the amount of labor required for this becomes impractical.

But What if I’m Offline?

A common work-around for this GAL sync issue is to simple reverse look-up individuals via Microsoft Outlook. While this method is sometimes reliable (albeit tedious) it completely falls apart when offline. Should information be needed say, on an airplane, in a tunnel, or just in a general dead-zone, there will be no way to access the GAL.

The Gap is Real – It Must be Addressed

What happens to existing contacts when they change? Under a manual-push setup, updated numbers or contact photos won’t update without a central administrator pushing that information to a user’s phone.

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  • Why IS there a Sync Gap?

    Why IS there a Sync Gap?

    Microsoft just doesn't provide a mechanism to sync contacts to Outlook. Whether it was simply overlooked, or there is a grand strategic reason, doesn't actually matter. The bottom line is that each organization needs to decide if it will sync contact to keep them...