Working with SharePoint Active Directory

May 23, 2012

Continuing to following the excellent SharePoint series by Robert Schifreen, our current focus leads us to a discussion of Active Directory.  Read Schifreen’s full piece at “Active Directory: Tips from the front line.”

SharePoint can’t look up users’ information in Active Directory (AD) on the fly. Instead, it has a User Profiles database which, alongside each person’s username, holds their full name, job title, location, photograph, boss’s name, and dozens more attributes besides. You need to set up AD Sync to regularly and automatically copy everyone’s up-to-date details from AD into the User Profile database.  Unfortunately, despite this being one of the key facets of running a successful corporate SharePoint installation, it’s also buggy as hell.

All of these quirky pieces of SharePoint are what makes it what it is, quirky.  However, they are also necessary.  That does not mean that they are effective or intuitive.  Smart third party solutions such as those offered by Fabasoft Mindbreeze may prove a less painful option that allows the user to achieve the same result.

Consider the federated search options of Fabasoft Mindbreeze Enterprise:

You can use the Account settings to activate data sources from a source directory.  If a federated data source needs authentication a dialog will appear. Each user can activate and deactivate the data source he/she needs.  Your administrator defines a source directory and everything else is up to your users. No domain level trusts have to be established.

News pieces such as this one by Schifreen are important to keep a running dialogue about the progression of SharePoint and how to make it more usable for a wider audience.  However, for many organizations, a smaller, more intuitive solution is more approach.  Such organizations should consider Fabasoft Mindbreeze and its suite of solutions.

Emily Rae Aldridge, May 23, 2012

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