Deciding how to best implement and use SharePoint as a collaboration solution in your organization can be a challenge. I’ve been designing and deploying SharePoint business solutions for over 10 years. As a result, when I think about how an organization can best make use of the capabilities of SharePoint, I think about those capabilities as the Four Corners of a box that includes all the great things SharePoint does.
- Corner 1 – Information Sharing
- Corner 2 – Document Management
- Corner 3 – Collaboration
- Corner 4 – Business Workflow
In the first part of this four-part blog series, Corner 1 – Information Sharing, I discussed how SharePoint Information Sharing tools make it easy to provide diverse multi-media presentations of information. In this blog I will cover how SharePoint facilitates Document Management.
Corner 2 – Document Management
Document Management functionality has been part of SharePoint from Version 1.0. Presently, Document Management provides two powerful sets of features; the capability to tag documents for purposes of classification and organization, and the ability to enforce policies for document review and retention.
How does this help your organization? First, it is often helpful to think about document management in terms of a document “lifecycle”. In the document lifecycle, a document is created, then stored for a period of time, and then (sometimes) disposed of. SharePoint provides tools to help manage the creation process, track how long a document is retained and how to archive or dispose of the document.
Second, to get the most out of using SharePoint to manage the document lifecycle, we need to identify how the document is utilized in the organization. This is where the ability to “tag” a document comes in. If we are able to categorize a document, we can also run processes to manage it through the document lifecycle.
Third, we can create a standard taxonomy of how documents are classified. SharePoint allows us to enforce this taxonomy as documents are added by:
- Providing a consistent method to find documents via search, using information that might not actually exist as text in the document itself.
- Allowing us to understand how different types of documents are related to each other.
- Providing a foundation of identifiers that allows us to query across the entire SharePoint environment and return a display of documents with similar attributes.
- Allowing us to provide information specific to how a document should be processed.
- Allowing us to automatically delete or archive documents that are no longer needed.
Lastly, we can set up automation to review, approve, update and dispose of documents based on their classification.
- SharePoint workflow can assign tasks, notify users and update document attributes.
- We can have the option to automatically start document management process or start them manually.
- SharePoint can track the state of a document over time and start up automated reviews, approvals and disposition processes.
- SharePoint provides auditing records of how a document is managed over time.
- SharePoint identifies business records and ensure these records are not inadvertently modified.
How to get started? The best way to get the most out of your collaboration solution is to:
- Understand the capabilities it brings to the table
- Identify how to best leverage these capabilities
- Prioritize development and deployment
If you would like help to evaluate your work processes and determine how the SharePoint business and collaboration solution can work for you, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 630-832.0075 for a complimentary consultation.
Also, be sure to check out our next series blog The Four Corners of SharePoint Design – Part 3 focusing on Collaboration scheduled to come out next month.