One of the challenges of a hybrid workplace: knowing where anyone is and how to reach them. During Microsoft Build 2021 this past May, it was announced that Microsoft 365 Outlook will include what the company is calling an Organization Explorer. This tool, which resembles a small organizational chart, is based on information that is available in the Microsoft Graph and will make colleague connections much easier in this new environment. Once installed and available for end users, the add-in can be accessed through its icon on the Outlook navigation bar.
The Organization Explorer offers two main ways to find out who’s where and how to reach them in Microsoft 365 Outlook.
How To Use the Organization Explorer
Using the View and Explore option, users see a graphic visualization of a company’s internal structure. This allows them to have insight into the connections between various individuals, including their roles and responsibilities.
Selecting individual employee listings provides more information, including: online status; physical location; contact information; skills they are happy to deploy in collaborative projects; their managers and their reports (if they have any); and their history of past organizational collaboration with other colleagues based on public communications, common groups and distribution lists. All this information is meant to facilitate both direct communications and better cross-organization collaborative opportunities.
End users can also find someone by name or alias via the search bar in Organization Explorer for Outlook.
Long gone are the days of submitting a request to the IT department to update an individual entry in the Global Address List for Microsoft Exchange. The data, which appears next to an employee in Organization Explorer, can be manually updated by the user either on an individual’s profile card or in Microsoft Delve.
Currently, the Organization Explorer for Microsoft 365 Outlook is only available for Office Insiders as a preview. Microsoft 365 tenant administrators are required to make this add-in available to their Outlook users in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center.