DocRead and the SharePoint User Profile Service explained

A question just came in from one of our customers and it’s not the first time, so thought I would share my edited response. The question went a bit like this :

“Do I need to have the SharePoint User Profile Service running to use DocRead?”

When DocRead creates a Reading Task  for a user (anywhere in the Farm) it will add that user to the to the ‘Readership.Users’ table. This table is used as the basis for many things in DocRead including licensing. So if your organisation has 5000 employees but only 50 of them have a Reading Task assigned to them, there will only be 50 users in that table (and 50 CALS required).

A quick primer on the SharePoint User Profile Service

An organisation’s user accounts usually existing in Active Directory. In some cases they can exist in other stores, such as Extradium. Either way, the username and password given by that user store is utilised to logon to SharePoint. The first time a user logs in to SharePoint, some very basic information is brought into SharePoint and stored in an internal list within the site collection. This happens even without the User Profile Service even running. (SharePoint Foundation works like this as it has no concept of a ‘User Profile Service’).

However, when an organisation wants to make use of the “SharePoint User Profile Service”, most of time they want to do this because require MySites or maybe they want to take advantage of something like the SharePoint Organisation Chart. If you look at a standard ‘User Profile’, it contains many attributes that can be stored for a user, including ‘Manager’. The ‘Manager’ is what SharePoint will use to create the out of the box Org Chart and is also a key piece of information that DocRead uses to build Line Manager Reports.

What happens if you don’t have the User Profile Service running but still want to use DocRead Line Manager Reports?

If this is the case then we have a couple of Powershell Cmdlets that allow you to set the Line Manager for a DocRead based user. Please see this article.

If you have the User Profile service working, how does this relate to DocRead?

If you have this installed and working then DocRead will use this as it’s source for User Information. If you don’t, it will use the basic info as described earlier that can be found in the Site Collection. The great thing about the SharePoint User Profile is that it’s very easy to keep it in sync with AD via the User Profile Sync service. If you don’t have it then your user will end up mismatching with what is in AD.