Send meeting request in SharePoint

Tech Trek – 2011.08.28

One of the hurdles for adopting into new technology, or moving into a new system is having to perform double-entry. A common complaint that I receive as a solutions designer is why users have to move data if these already exists in another format. Another side effect with double entry is the possibility of inconsistencies and the time it takes to re-key such items. As the adage says, “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it!”

This is usually the case for SharePoint lists since users are already familiar with other tools that perform the same function e.g.

  • Email messages as Announcements
  • Address book entries into Contacts
  • Meeting requests into Calendar, etc.

I’ll focus on the particular scenario for sending meeting requests using Outlook. Users are already familiar with sending an invitation through the email client and one way to alienate them is forcing them to re-enter items so that it can appear in the calendar. Unfortunately, information sharing on the web is not a worthy justification if it will result into more work for users to perform their “actual” job.

Thankfully, there is a feature to receive incoming emails since the SharePoint 2007 release. Again, my intent here is not to illustrate a step-by-step guide but rather to provide the concept on making technology work for you. This reduces the barrier for the organization by configuring a SharePoint list to receive incoming messages and instructing users to include such email address in their meeting requests. On the plus side, one thing that SharePoint provides is the ability to have those items to exist in a central repository so new employees that was not previously copied with such message can go back to a historical list that is available to them.

Problem solved. I’ll post other Microsoft Office integration points as additional value-add benefit that justifies the effort in adopting SharePoint.

Configure incoming e-mail in SharePoint


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