You may also be interested in: O'Reilly - SharePoint 2010 at Work
Editor's note: Contributor Chris Wright is the founder of the Scribble Agency. Follow him @scribbleagency
In these days of recession the humble org chart is making a bit of a comeback. Companies need data to be able to resize, reorganise, and generally ensure they are operating with an optimal workforce. The org chart of yesteryear might have shown names, reporting lines, and little else, but enterprises now have access to an incredible amount of data about their staff - all of which can be put to good use. Used in the right way, this data can help turn the org chart into a really useful tool.
Let us look at the options for building and displaying org charts in SharePoint.
MySites and the ‘organisation browser’ web part
Out of the box functionality
SharePoint 2010 comes with a feature called the ‘Organisation Browser’ to display org chart style information. By default the web part is located on every user's ‘My Profile’ tab on their MySite, but it can be added to other pages if required.
The Silverlight driven web part uses the ‘manager’ field from user profiles to build up a hierarchy of people. Users can then navigate around this structure in an easy to use manner, viewing a wide range of information pulled from user MySites.
The interface is nicely done, and it does provide a good way of navigating between individuals profile information. If your company has already deployed MySites then you should really look at making use of this component - you have done most of the hard work.
Many org charts are already stored in Visio, and using Visio services within SharePoint (Enterprise) this information can be published to a page on an Intranet system. Changes to the Visio file will be automatically published directly to the page, and end users do not need the Visio client software to view the resulting diagram.
Visio can also be connected to various data sources (such as SQL Server and SharePoint lists). By connecting a diagram to an appropriate source of employee data, and then publishing it using Visio services, a ‘living’ diagram can be created.
SharePoint Org Chart web part
TeamImprover - www.teamimprover.com
The SharePoint Org Chart web part is compatible with both SharePoint 2010 and 2007. Unlike any out of the box solution it does present information in a traditional easy to read hierarchical tree.
Data can be pulled from a number of sources, including the SharePoint user profile service, and includes photographs, MySite content, and even presence information. The component also includes a search tool, allowing users to be searched by name and job titles. The charts themselves are well laid out, clean and colourful. They can also be customised if required.
All in all this tool provides a nice, more traditional, alternative to the out of the box ‘Organisation Browser’. It looks the part and is easy to use and maintain.
User Directory web part
Bamboo - www.bamboosolutions.com
Bamboo are well known makers of a number of SharePoint web parts and addins. Whilst they don’t offer a direct ‘org chart’ webpart, they do have a number of ‘user’ based tools. The ‘User Directory’ web part is one example.
This provides an easy way to build a self service user directory, with a (albeit it very basic) tree view option for looking at the data as a traditional org chart. The key selling point here is users can maintain their own data, which minimises the workload on HR or admin resources. This goes further than any out of the box solution, such as updating MySite information, by allowing users to up their own Active Directory data in addition to their SharePoint profile.