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More R&D with ACS; 24k Contacts in OUTLOOK?

ACSWe have been working with ACS Technologies recently beta testing several of their new products coming to market.  While the beta testing can be occasionally frustrating  we have really enjoyed dreaming about making the tools we use effective for our ministry as well as the other 40K+ others that use ACS products.

Almost a year ago I wrote a post “Wishing for More” asking for ACS to take the lead in the market and extend ChMS contact information into AD and the Global Address book.

Work on this project has continued and we have gotten past the point of dreaming.  ACS has tested this tool in their test environment and given us the utility to try an Alpha test in our lab environment.  There were minor bugs to work out but overall the tool works as expected and our test AD environment has 24,000 contacts in the appropriate container, contacts now accessible by “test” users from within the Outlook Global Address Book.

Now that the proof of concept has been done the question is being asked will anyone use it if ACS puts resources into refining and releasing such a product.  If you use ACS, AD and Exchange would you use this tool?  Do you see value in such a product being offered to you as a customer?
I think this could be a great ACS tool, but ACS needs to know if others besides NWCC would use it so they can make a business case whether or not to develop the tool for use in production.

If you read this post or the details of the testing in the AD Sync Testing post and you answer YES, to the question: Would you like contact info from ACS available and as simply accessible to your users as an Outlook contact? leave a comment or email me at jasonlee {at} jasonmlee {dot} net.

For details of the Alpha testing of this tool see the AD Sync Testing post.


10 Comments

  • Reply Jim Michael |

    Yes, we would definitely use this if it were available. But it would have to be priced very reasonably and flat (not per-user or somesuch.)

  • Reply Shawn Ross |

    I would LOVE to use this tool, but we do not use Exchange. It would be great to not have it tied to Exchange though. We’re a Google Apps customer, and in my mind there’s no reason ACS couldn’t make this work with an open standard, and not just exchange. So, YES, I would use the tool, and I would be willing to pay for it (we’re already an ACS customer, so we’d have to see what pricing would be like). I just need it to have a broader target than Exchange.

  • Reply Jeff Wilson |

    I would most definitely like to see this happen. I serve at Henderson Hills in Edmond, OK. We are getting ready to implement ACS in the next weeks.

    Thanks for working on this project.

    Jeff

    • Reply jasonlee |

      Jeff, welcome to the Family! Its great news to know that Henderson Hills is joining the ranks of ACS… i think you will be a great partner in “pushing” ACS too!

  • Reply Josh Espinosa |

    Certainly would. Would we then be able to have our BES hit it and keep all records sync’d? Currently I have to manage both ACS and Exchange.

    • Reply jasonlee |

      Josh, thats a great point… i never thought about then being able to extend the contacts via the GAL on mobile devices…

  • Reply Larry Schultz |

    We are definately interested in integrating our contacts with AD. Do you have any blackberries or iPhones that can read that data from a contact list in the AD?

    • Reply jasonlee |

      Larry, in our tests we didn’t connect any mobile devices to the server, but I would have no reason to believe that it wouldn’t work with mobile devices since each is now just a contact in AD… all other contacts are visable in our production side from the mobile devices.

  • Reply John Cheatham |

    I second Shawn’s comment about Google Apps. Since they now use a form of ActiveSync (google.com/sync), it would be awesome to see ACS sync with Google Apps’ global contacts.

So, what do you think ?

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