A basic issue – the client has their Active Directory DisplayName populated in the style of “LastName, FirstName“. Legacy business requirements dictate that the DisplayName stays in that format – but the SharePoint champion comes along and indicates that it would be preferable to have the SharePoint 2010 UI show the users DisplayName in the standard “FirstName LastName” format.

After quickly toying with the idea of using Jquery or some other front-end patch to just reverse the names – complications arose – number one being the data in the DisplayName field in AD was inconsistent, with various flavours and styles of data that was mashed together over the years. Active Directory is aptly named-  people will mess up this data actively. Not to be trusted.  The solution:

1. Set up the SharePoint 2010 User Profile Synchronization and use custom field mapping.
2. Create a new profile property in AD called customDisplayName and give it the values Firstname Lastname
3. Map the new customDisplayName property to the SP DisplayName property.

So, the end result should be that users would now see their DisplayName throughout the SP application populated with the AD field data “FirstName LastName
Getting User Profile Synchronization itself planned, configured and deployed is a big task. This post will let help you  plan out your first moves.

Authoritative initial references can be found at:

TechNet – Configure profile synchronization (SharePoint Server 2010):
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee721049.aspx
Rational Guide to implementing SharePoint Server 2010 User Profile Synchronization:
  http://www.harbar.net/articles/sp2010ups.aspx
SharePoint 2010 – Provisioning User Profile Synchronization:  http://blogs.msdn.com/b/russmax/archive/2010/03/20/sharepoint-2010-provisioning-user-profile-synchronization.aspx

There are four Excel Worksheets available for download from TechNet which should be the best way to get things organized:

User Profile Properties Planning worksheet

( .xls download )
Should be used with the Plan user profiles, Plan for profile synchronization, and Configure profile synchronization topics on TechNet.

Connection Planning worksheet

( .xls download )
Specifies information that you will need to gather for each directory service with which you will synchronize profile information. It should be used with the Plan for profile synchronization and Configure profile synchronization topics on TechNet.

External Content Types Planning worksheet

( .xls download )
Should be used with the Plan for profile synchronization topic on TechNet if you need to synchronize user profiles with business systems.

Profile Synchronization Planning worksheet

( .xls download )
Profile sync worksheet tab of the specifies information that you might need to gather if you have not already configured the SharePoint Server infrastructure. It is used with the Configure profile synchronization topic on TechNet. The Property mapping worksheet tab is obsolete; it has been replaced by the User Profile Properties Planning worksheet.

NOTE: When performing the intital setup, it’s important to remember that MS best practice is to not have your Active Directory Domain Controller on the same server as SharePoint. So you need to follow a different path if you are using a dev server with AD and SQL all wrapped into the one server, than if you would be deploying to a production setup with AD DC on a separate server. Spence Harbar in particular notes this in a few places but it will confuse the hell out of you with the AD setup requirements unless you understand the distinct setup paths required for both scenarios.