If you are new to Microsoft SharePoint Online, or are considering implementing SharePoint Online, resist the following common mistakes:

  1. Creating a File Share on SharePoint
  2. Placing everything in SharePoint
  3. Thinking of SharePoint only as a document management tool

File Share Pains

For many, the reality of document or file management is a nested folder hierarchy on a local File Share. While initially this structure works well enough, as many have discovered it becomes a less than optimum option as folder designs grow. Typical problems inherent in this approach include:

  • Broken access permissions
  • No governance on folder creation nomenclature
  • Extremely slow and unreliable search capabilities
  • Limited document collaboration with nested folders
  • Inconsistent or non-existent document versioning

All of the above problems can contribute to poor network performance with multiple versions of documents clogging email servers and bloated network storage containing duplicate documents. Without manually inspecting similar documents, the default reaction is to save everything, further contributing to this inefficient process.

Document Management with SharePoint

A proper design and implementation of SharePoint can fix the above pain points and scale well as an organization’s needs grow and evolve.

While you may be tempted to move all your files to SharePoint, this is likely not the best option. SharePoint is best for “active” files such as:

  • Small and midsized files
  • Regularly changing documents
  • Team projects and Collaboration
  • Files and folders that need custom attributes and links/filters
  • Documents that need to be indexed and searched for

SharePoint Can Do More Than You May Think

SharePoint is so much more than document management. According to Microsoft, you will benefit from the following advantages:

  • Workflows
    Such as approval procedure, help to automate simple or complex tasks – with or without user interference
  • Versioning
    Adds the ability to see older versions of documents and control which users can see the latest published version. You can also control who can edit the draft for the next published version of the file or document
  • Item visibility
    Users do not have the ability to see information that they do not have permission to see
  • Set Alerts for changes
    Set different types of email notifications when changes are made to the documents
  • Sharing
    Choose to share libraries or individual documents with internal and external users
  • Link to Subject
    Link documents to list items through lookups in the metadata, allowing you to view the subject (ex. Account, Contact) and reference all the documents related to them
  • Lifecycle management
    Can be activated for archiving old content
  • Powerful Filtering and Search
    Use Meta Data to filter and find documents with powerful search capability

If you are considering SharePoint or want to leverage your existing installation, FMT can help you get the most from this powerful platform.