Managing User Profiles in Microsoft SharePoint Online for Office 365

  • 6/23/2015


Similar to how users can have profiles in SharePoint Online, organizations can have profiles too. Where the user fits within the larger organization chart can be exposed using the Org Chart web part that is included in SharePoint Online. It is a web part that must be added to the user’s My Site.

The Org Chart web part that was visible under the About Me section of MySites in previous versions of SharePoint is now hidden in SharePoint 2013 by default. But when you view the About Me page of any other employee it is displayed. This behavior is by design, because it leads to better performance.

In previous versions of SharePoint, the profile page always loaded the Org Chart web part. Loading peer, manager, and direct-report data actually requires an extra database lookup, which contributes to a longer page load time. Because most users prefer to have their personal profile page load faster than to see their own position in the organizational hierarchy, the Org Chart web part is hidden when a user views her own profile page.

Each user will need to add the organization chart to his My Site. A user starts by logging in to his My Site. Because each My Site is a site collection, each user is the Site Collection administrator of his own My Site. Once a user is logged in, he should open Site Settings and select the Quick Launch link under the Look And Feel section. When the user does this, he is presented with the Quick Launch screen (shown in Figure 2-8), in which he can add new headings and navigation links. Have the user click New Heading in the interface.

Figure 2-8

Figure 2-8 Quick Launch screen

After selecting New Heading, the user sets the web address to http://<my site host collection root site URL>/organizationview.aspx and sets the description to Organization Chart.

After pictures and About Me information is filled in, you’ll find the Organization Chart (shown in Figure 2-9) to be rather helpful in traversing your organization chart to find the right individual(s) you need to connect with at any given time.

Figure 2-9

Figure 2-9 Organization chart in SharePoint Online

Note that this chart is focused on Harry Truman’s place within the organization even though I’m on Millard Fillmore’s public My Site. This means the entire chart can be traversed from any user’s My Site that has the chart exposed.

Remember, this organization chart is sourced from your directory services. If you haven’t filled in the organization information in the directory services, the organization chart can’t do its job. In Windows Active Directory, you need to have filled in the Organization tab to achieve a baseline of information with which the Organization Chart web part can work. (See Figure 2-10.) If you’re not importing information from Windows Active Directory and you’re using only Azure Active Directory, you won’t find an Organization page in the user’s properties in Azure Active Directory.

Figure 2-10

Figure 2-10 The Organization tab in the properties of a Windows Active Directory user account

From a governance perspective, you’ll want to ensure your employee onboarding processes loop through your Windows Active Directory or Azure Active Directory services teams such that the new employee’s organization and other pertinent information is entered into her account as it is initially being created. Although the information can be added later, from a process viewpoint, it is more efficient to add that information to the account as it is being created.

You’ll also want the onboarding employee to log in to Office 365 and create her My Site right away, and then add the organization chart to her public-facing My Site.