Employee Directory Plus Webpart by Bamboo Solutions

We were excited to introduce our Employee Directory Plus Webpart last year, and it has been a top-selling product since its release. This new Bamboo webpart for SharePoint Online provides a user-friendly, easy-to-navigate interface for surfacing employee data already stored in your organization’s Microsoft Exchange. In this blog, we will look at what Microsoft’s out-of-the-box “People” webpart offers versus the added functionality and benefits of Bamboo’s Employee Directory Plus.

Microsoft’s People Webpart

SharePoint Online currently uses the “People” webpart to leverage and display employee directory information. This webpart requires a very manual setup. The “People” webpart populates blank, and the page creator must manually search for each user they want to appear and add them to the webpart one by one, which can become quite laborious depending on the size of the organization.

The only data shown on the webpart card for each person is the name and job title (depending on the size of the card selected). There is no ability to search, sort, or filter these people. Clicking on the card allows a user to see more information about that user, and there are some options to contact the user directly from the pop-up module. However, the webpart still leaves much to be desired in terms of initial setup and dynamic capabilities.

Bamboo’s Employee Directory Plus

Bamboo Solutions developed Employee Directory Plus as an answer to these gaps. Employee Directory Plus by Bamboo Solutions offers everything the “People” webpart brings to the table but with many enhancements. Instead of having to manually pull in users to the webpart, Directory Plus automatically pulls in users by leveraging existing directory information from Exchange. Add the webpart, publish the page, and your directory will populate!

In addition to automatically populating users, Employee Directory Plus allows your users to search the Directory using a search box or the convenient letter jump filter.

Beyond this basic functionality, Employee Directory Plus also allows for a more customized experience. After placing the webpart on a page:

  • Select the gear wheel in the upper right-hand corner of the webpart
  • View all the unique ways information can be filtered and displayed using the Employee Directory Plus webpart.

All the settings available are shown in this image.

In addition to automatically populating users, Employee Directory Plus allows your users to search the Directory using a search box or the convenient letter jump filter.

As you can see, there are many ways to customize Employee Directory Plus. Some customer favorite features include:

  • Query pre-filter option: This feature limits the query information through the graph API so that unnecessary information is not pulled into the webpart.
  • Post-query filter options: Allows admins to filter what information gets displayed or enabled on the front end of the webpart. Beyond that, any user interacting with the webpart will be able to search and filter even father as needed using the jump letter filter or the search box.
  • Export settings and Import Settings buttons are available so that an instance of Employee Directory Plus can be easily replicated.
  • Special Occasions feature allows a company to leverage custom data fields from their directory to get a list of useful and relevant dates. For example, you can highlight upcoming employee birthdays or work anniversaries. The display information on a user’s card is customizable and the way the information is displayed is customizable.
  • Even the appearance of the webpart itself is customizable with the option to choose between displaying information in a list, as cards, or to show a list of the special occasions predefined in the settings options.

Now that we have seen how customizable Employee Directory Plus is from an administrative side, let’s look at what Employee Directory Plus can do for the users who access it. In addition to the search and filter options already discussed, users can interact with the cards or list items by clicking on them. Once clicked on, a user will see an information card fairly similar to the “People” webpart user card. However, the Employee Directory Plus card has more options available for contacting that user directly from that information card.

The options available for contacting a user include:

  • Start a Teams voice call,
  • Start a Teams video call,
  • Send an email,
  • Start a Teams messaging chat,
  • Setup a calendar meeting via Teams, and
  • Call the user’s mobile phone.
The out-of-the-box People webpart offered by SharePoint allows a user to email, Teams chat, or call the contact’s phone. While useful, Employee Directory Plus has many more options that our customers have requested.

While SharePoint Online does offer an out-of-the-box webpart to address directory needs the setup and customization options available leave much to be desired. Bamboo’s Employee Directory Plus leverages Graph API to pull in existing directory information and does not require manual setup to function. In addition, Employee Directory Plus offers additional settings to customize and refine results in an easy and helpful interface.

Contact us today to start a free trial or schedule a demo!

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