First things first, if you’re new to Bettercloud or Google Apps, you might be wondering just what a contact is. Contacts represent individuals who’ve been added to Bettercloud’s directory. These may or may not be users within your own domain. However, when people talk about Contacts related to Google Apps, they’re most often referring to the concept of “Shared Contacts.” Contacts could include business partners, vendors or customers so it makes sense that you’d want other members within your organization to have access to this list of external contacts.
If you made the move from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps or are considering migrating, you’re likely very familiar with Exchange’s concept of sharing a group of contacts by folder. Unfortunately, this idea does not exist natively in Google Apps. There’s no way to seamlessly share contacts with certain users or across an entire organization. While individual users can add and update their own contacts through Gmail, there’s no native way to push out contacts to everyone within your domain.
To provide a solution, Bettercloud built their Shared Contacts feature last year. While this feature and other third-party products certainly filled in some gaps, they in no way completely solved the issue. Enter the all new Contacts, completely rebuilt from the ground up in Bettercloud to give you an even better experience.
Check out the video for an overview of Contacts and visit Bettercloud.com to live chat with a customer success representative.
Exploring What’s New in Contacts
The all new Contacts goes many steps beyond Bettercloud’s Shared Contacts feature to provide users and admins a more granular experience. A few of the major changes include:
Ability to create and share a contact tag with a user, group or OU
For instance, say your company works with several different apparel vendors. Different employees in your marketing department will likely need access to this information at one point or another. So, you can create these vendors as Contacts, tag the group as Vendors and then share that tag out with your Marketing OU.
*Note: This is not retroactive. If you add a new employee to your Marketing OU, they will not automatically receive the Vendors tag.
Ability to email a contact tag
Now that your Marketing OU has access to your apparel vendors, they have the ability to email that entire tag at once. To do so, a marketing employee simply needs to compose an email in Gmail and then type #Vendors. The email addresses for these different vendors will populate in the email’s To field.
Invite a contact tag to a calendar invite
Now say you want to invite that same group of vendors to your office to show off their new wares. You can invite a contact tag to a Google Calendar event. Simply create the event then enter #Vendors in the guest field. The invitation will surface the names of each member of the Vendors tag. If there are certain people you don’t want to receive the invitation, simply click the X next to their name.
Add, remove and update contact tags in bulk
Similar to Bettercloud’s bulk user creation and update features, you can now export and import a spreadsheet to make changes in bulk to contacts and tags. You can also bulk update contacts from the contact grid. To do so, go to Browse Contacts then select all users or the desired users. Next from the dropdown menu labeled “I want to…” either choose Delete or Tag Contact.
A new way to share contacts with mobile devices
The concept of Mobile Contact Sync no longer exists. Instead, Bettercloud has made the process easier and faster. To share a Contact Tag with a user’s mobile device, simply click into the desired tag and select Copy [TAG NAME] contacts to user’s “My Contacts” for Mobile Sync. All contacts under My Contacts are automatically synched with a user’s mobile device given the phone has been properly configured by the user.
Grant or deny end users the ability to create or edit contacts and tags
Admins will notice a new setting allowing them to grant or deny contact and tag creation and editing for end users. Super admins can simply toggle on or off the ability for end users to create and edit any contacts within the domain through Bettercloud.
If you do not want to grant all end users the ability to create and edit contacts and tags, but still would like some non-super admin employees to be able to create, edit, delete and/or update tags and contacts, you can create a new Access Control role through Settings.
Reposted from a blog post by Nathaniel Collum, Product Owner at BetterCloud.