SharePoint is a dms from Microsoft which has wide adoption amongst organizations across the world. However, there are a few SharePoint document management best practices you must implement to build a robust SharePoint document management system aligned with your organization’s information and content storage and sharing goals.
Use content types for effective meta-tagging – Microsoft defines content type as a reusable collection of metadata (columns), workflow, behaviour, and other settings for a category of items or documents in a Microsoft SharePoint list or document library. Organizing documents by content types enables users to manage the settings for a category of information in a centralized, reusable way.
Use a Document Center template for managing large volumes of files - You can create as many document libraries as you want, for instance, each department can have a separate document library. All documents related to a particular department can be stored in its document libraries. Within the document library, you can create folders to separate files further based on specific attributes – for instance, the document library for the HR department can have separate folders for recruitment, employee benefits etc.
Implement permissions– Setting up permissions is important for restricting access to only those who need to access the documents. You can configure permissions by Document Center or by the document library. It’s advisable to give permissions by document library so that files are accessible only to people who are relevant.
The following are not SharePoint document management best practices and should be avoided:
Giving blanket permissions to all users – All users shouldn’t have the same level of permission and permission to view, read, review or edit a document should always be need-based
Granting document or individual level permissions – Granting document or individual level permission is a laborious task with no benefits.
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Yes, SharePoint can be used as a document management system to manage the complete life cycle of documents in an organization. SharePoint enables secure storage of documents that can be organised based on various factors (like departments or target audience) and levels of access.
The best way to organize SharePoint is to:
Use metadata to tag documents which will make them easier to find. A single document can have multiple tags making it easier to find content with different search parameters.
Design the site architecture with the 5000-list view threshold for a document library in mind. If an organization has already crossed the 5000-list threshold, it can set up metadata navigation to make it easier for users to find content. Metadata navigation enables Microsoft SharePoint users to filter and find content in lists and libraries by using a navigation tree.
Give permissions based on SharePoint groups and avoid document or individual level permissions - manage permissions by using SharePoint groups, which control membership. Fine-grained access control should be used secure content at the item and document level.
Consistent file naming and folder structure is the top best practice that any organisation must implement. With employees creating new folders and documents every day, a lack of file naming and folder structure standards could create chaos in an organization’s document management system making files unsearchable. Ensuring uniformity and consistency in file naming and folder structures across the organization would help users find a document much faster.
The SharePoint best practices for document management are a set of guidelines that can help every organization build a robust document management system. These best practices for SharePoint document management not only help create a user-friendly SharePoint DMS where documents are easily searchable, but they also help foster seamless collaboration between employees.
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