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Document Management on SharePoint

Best Practices for efficient document management on SharePoint

  Table of Content

  1. Some of best practices to help and simplify Document management on SharePoint
  2. Leverage the most out of SharePoint’s data management capabilities
  3. Conclusion

Document Management on SharePoint have the capabilities enable seamless handling of documents, ensuring faster processing of information between departments to drive critical business functions. 

Microsoft SharePoint is one of the most important enterprise collaboration tools available today, especially in the current scenario of remote work and geographically distributed teams. The benefits of an enterprise connectivity platform such as SharePoint are multifold, including cost optimization and higher productivity. Significantly, SharePoint stands out as an extremely useful platform for SharePoint document management, serving as a centralized hub for managing and sharing documents within enterprises.

To leverage SharePoint for document management, users can build dynamic, user-friendly sites and pages without coding, manage information and documents integral to daily business operations, and make them accessible across the organization while keeping sensitive information secure. Implementing SharePoint document management best practices is crucial to maximize its data management capabilities.

Some of best practices to help and simplify Document management on SharePoint

  1. Efficient information classification

Efficient information classification is one of the best practices in using SharePoint as a document management system. SharePoint simplifies the organization of documents based on an efficient information architecture. This architecture includes creating lists for categorizing documents, libraries for editable documents, classifying documents by various criteria, assigning metadata, using column indexing for efficient management, and customizing library views for different data presentation needs. 

Lists: Create lists to categorize and store documents such as emails, meeting agendas, memos. 

Libraries: Create libraries for editable documents to collaborate and co-author and edit documents such as invoices, contracts, policy documents, etc. 

Document Classification: Classify documents according to date, type of project, client, etc., with the ability to set access restrictions for sensitive documents. 

Metadata: Assigning metadata to your documents will allow you to track their contents instead of the file or subfolder location. 

Column Indexing: Manage libraries and large lists more efficiently with column indexing as this helps SharePoint analyze the data in the column faster. 

Library Views: Your SharePoint content can be presented more conveniently according to the purpose of viewing data, for instance, in the form of tables like those created on Excel, Gantt charts, calendars, and more. SharePoint also allows you to customize the library view by arranging columns in varying order for users to view the relevant data first. 

  1. Standardized naming for documents

Another best practice is standardized naming for documents. This involves using short, discoverable names, avoiding special characters and spaces in library names, refraining from numbering document versions in titles, and considering auto-naming documents with third-party tools for consistency. 

Use short names: Although the limit for file names was raised to 400 characters from 250 characters with SharePoint 2019, the platform still allows you to exceed this limit for libraries, sites, and files with long names. However, it is both fast and convenient to search for list items, libraries, sites, etc. if your URL address is short and specific, with abbreviations being particularly effective. 

Avoid special characters and spaces in library names: You don’t need to use special characters like a dot (“.”) or an underscore (“_”) at the beginning of a document name to bring it to the top of the list. You can, instead, apply SharePoint filters or views. Using spaces isn’t recommended either since they add at least three extra characters to the URL address. 

Avoid numbering document versions in the title: SharePoint offers a built-in capability for document versioning that eliminates the need to name and track your document versions manually. 

Auto-naming documents: Integrating SharePoint with third party tools allows you to use predefined rules to generate standardized names for new documents according to your company’s policy. This way, it allows for fast and easy searching and classification of files and supports consistency in naming. 

 

  1. Robust document security & compliance

A good document management system must have built-in strong mechanisms to keep sensitive information secure. Given that several industries have to abide by a number of national and international data protection laws, enterprises must need to ensure that best practices are adhered to. Here’s how Microsoft SharePoint helps: 

User permissions and roles: SharePoint allows users to set permission levels that restrict access to specific documents based on an employee’s role. These permission levels range from “View Only” to “Full Control”. Managers and administrators can, then, leverage this capability to manage permissions and access on a group level instead of an individual level. This will ensure that your sensitive business information is safe in libraries created for such critical information, as employees are, by default, only given the lowest level of operative access employees require for their job. 

Policies for document retention and deletion: Many regional data protection laws specify exactly the time period for which companies can store certain kinds of information after which they cannot use the data and must remove it from their systems afterwards. This is where SharePoint’s document retention and deletion policies enable organizations to better manage their documents and avoid unnecessary usage of resources while ensuring effective regulatory compliance. 

Check Out feature: The “Check Out” feature is used to lock a document to prevent editing when multiple people are working on it or when one user is already editing it. Hence, you can make sure that no unnecessary, unauthorized, or erroneous changes are made to documents, especially those containing sensitive information. 

Security alerts: SharePoint allows you to detect and prevent security violations pertaining to sensitive information by setting up alerts for specific user activities on sensitive documents. This means that administrators or managers are notified when somebody accesses, modifies, and/or shares a document. 

Backup and recovery configuration: International data protection regulations, such as GDPR, for example, mandate companies to deploy robust backup and recovery mechanisms. SharePoint allows you to recover documents deleted mistakenly, and also to set retention policies that specify a certain duration for which documents will be stored in the recycle bin. 

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Leverage the most out of SharePoint’s data management capabilities

To make the most out of SharePoint’s document management system template, it is essential to integrate SharePoint with external or third-party tools and systems like ERP and CRM. This integration facilitates smoother handling of documents and faster information processing between departments, driving critical business functions.

Conclusion

In conclusion, effectively using SharePoint as a document management system involves adhering to best practices like efficient information classification, standardized document naming, and ensuring robust security and compliance. These practices not only simplify the SharePoint implementation journey but also enhance the overall document management process within enterprises. 

VBeyond Digital can work with you to set up SharePoint sites, workflows, and asset libraries so you can take advantage of real-time collaborations. More importantly, as part of our SharePoint services, we place special emphasis on ensuring that all best practices stated here are adhered to help you derive maximum value from your deployment. Click Here to contact us regarding your SharePoint requirements. 

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