JCS Customer Solution: Controlling Group Membership From Exchange Distribution Lists

Version 1

    This is a quick description of a solution that JCS created and deployed for a customer - apologies for the "rough cut".

    The Problem

     

    Slow Jive adoption and low "intensity" of usage due to a deeply entrenched email culture.

    The customer was a large multi-national.

     

    Information was fragmented amongst different platforms and technology "camps" with both strong Unix-based and Windows-based centers of gravity.

     

    One of the few common linkages between the two camps was the email distribution lists maintained in Exchange. The work culture used these distribution lists as a common method of distributing information and staying up to date on a broad variety of corporate initiatives.

     

    Administration of the email lists was decentralized; different organizations within the company were able to create and manage their own email lists allowing them to be very responsive to changing business needs.

     

    The internal Jive deployment wasn't meeting expectations. A common complaint was "it is easier to use email, we can create and manage the lists we need without going through any administrative overhead".

     

    There was general recognition amongst much of the employee population that Jive was a better collaboration tool, but it was failing the ease-of-setup and responsiveness test - it was just too easy to set up an email group and get on with the job.

     

    The Solution

     

    JCS wrote a customization that integrated with the customers on-premise Jive instance.

     

    The customization did the following:

    1. On a periodic basis (either based on a chron job or on request) a process runs which queries the distribution lists maintained in Microsoft AD and captures any changes since the last run.
    2. In the case of a new distribution list the process will create a corresponding group in Jive and add the members of the distribution list to the group
    3. Three modes of maintaining the members of a group were configurable
      1. Build once - on a one time basis build the group and sync the members to the distribution list, but don't do any further automated member maintenance
      2. Add or drop members from the group to match the Email distribution list
      3. "Add only" mode - individuals who were newly added to the distribution list would be added to the group, but nobody would be automatically deleted
    4. Additional capabilities like automatically following the group are easily added to the process.

     

    Results

     

    The customer loved it and credited this customization with a massive increase in Jive adoption. Maintaining membership in the established tool on a distributed basis allowed the organization to use the same control structure they already had in place but added the additional features of Jive groups as a significantly enhanced collaboration platform. The automatic follow feature meant that new group members automatically received updates and notifications of updates in the group.

     

    Cloud, Hosted and On-premise Discussion

     

    The customization was developed for an on-premise Jive instance.

     

    it could re-developed for a cloud instance as an Add-on. It would also require a piece of middleware running somewhere that had query access to Active Directory.