I’ve created an idea in WordPress Ideas regarding the addition of a new function for WordPress called
update_userdata(). I’m currently developing an Intranet solution using WordPress as the presentation and interaction layer, tight integration with SugarCRM and other database-driven business systems are involved.
update_userdata() will allow a WordPress user with sufficient privelages, or based on permission level to edit any user’s critical fields,
update_usermeta() can modify a defined user’s optional fields but no functionality currently extends to critical fields.
A workaround to update a user’s critical fields without using the WordPress Administration is to inject an SQL statement into the database, for instance…
SET wp_users.email_address = $updateEmailAddress
WHERE wp_users.ID = $updateUserID