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Enterprise Content Management with Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint

Enterprise SharePoint Content Management System

Introduction

This article will uncover why Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is essential and how you can use Microsoft Office 365 & SharePoint as an Enterprise Content Management system. 

After reading this article, you will have the comfort level to know; how Office 365 and SharePoint can help implement ECM in your organisation. 

This article will also help you bridge the gaps in communication between technology and business needs in most organisations.

Definition

Enterprise content management system is a methodology to ensure your organisation uses good practices & processes to store, secure and consume the organisation content.

Enterprise content management is not a technology. And SharePoint is not a pre-configured Enterprise content management solution. 

It would help if you implemented ECM in your organisation with upfront planning. Upfront planning ensures the practical application of good information architecture.

And Office 365 & SharePoint is a platform and technology that can help you implement Enterprise Content Management in your organisation.

I hope now you get a fair idea of what EnterPrise content management is and the role of Office 365 SharePoint as a tool to realise this methodology.

Quick Tip

In your organisation, how many ways can you organise unstructured information?

Four –

  • chronologically
  • alphabetically
  • numerically
  • geographically

The core features of an ECM solution are as follows:

  • Capturing Documents
  • Storage of documents
  • Retrieve documents
  • Document editing
  • Document security
  • Metadata
  • Versioning documents
  • Auditing
  • Archival
  • Destroying documents

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Top reasons why Enterprise content management with SharePoint fail

  1. You do not understand that ECM is a methodology with set practices & processes which are standardised across the organisation to manage content. SharePoint is a platform to ensure your organisation follow these practices and procedures.
  2. Implementing SharePoint as an ECM solution without proper project planning
  3. Building an ECM at a departmental level instead of planning and building an ECM for the entire organisation.
  4. We are not bringing end-users, IT implementors and other stakeholders together during the planning.
Sharepoint Content Management Stages
ECM Stages
Enterprise content management lifecycle
ECM Lifecycle

SharePoint Content Management

When you use SharePoint Content Management as an ECM solution, you have to visualise all aspects of the content that define the logical storage of a document and how you represent metadata. The architecture you should favour is flat from the information architecture point of view, and the metadata part is as comprehensive as possible.

SharePoint as a content management system
SharePoint as a Content Management system

SharePoint as an Enterprise Content Management system provides the following features.

  1. Capture information by uploading, creating natively, MS Office client applications, Scanning and using forms within SharePoint.
  2. Centralised storage for all your organisation’s documents – SharePoint helps employees and other knowledge workers find the records and information quickly, collaborate on them, and share them with others.
  3. Manage multiple versions of documents, multiple formats in SharePoint and ensure the right people access these documents. Keeping track of compliances is easy with a proper audit trail of information.
  4. Deliver information to the right people with SharePoint. SharePoint makes it easy for employees to access data from anywhere using multiple devices like desktops, tablets and mobile phones.
  5. By implementing workflows in SharePoint, you can process information, collaborate & get content approved. SharePoint helps automate business processes that involve a lot of documents. For knowledge workers to easily access the information, it’s stored logically in SharePoint.
  6. Archive information or destroy them permanently when required. SharePoint archival policies and workflows help to ensure that old information is archived or destroyed when needed.

Quick Tip

SharePoint can store any file format, so it’s always wise to determine approved file formats that are permitted.

SharePoint & Digital Transformation

When you use SharePoint Content Management as an ECM solution, you have to visualise all aspects of the content that define the logical storage of a document and how to represent its metadata. The architecture you should favour is flat from the information architecture point of view, and the metadata part is as comprehensive as possible.

In contrast with the classic team sites, modern SharePoint sites offer users the ability to capture, store, manage, process and preserve information digitally. 

SharePoint is an excellent platform to transform your organisation digitally. With Microsoft now focusing more than ever on Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint online, enterprises can now focus on using the Cloud platform to manage their Enterprise Content Management Systems. 

SharePoint offers all the commonly used Document management features to ensure that your digital transformation journey is a breeze.

Third Party Support

Microsoft provides an array of third-party apps through their Appsource. You can get apps designed specifically for SharePoint online from Appsource.

These third-party tools like Nintex, ShareGate, increases the value of SharePoint as an Enterprise Content Management platform. 

Third-party tools enable SharePoint to cover the gaps in SharePoint to function as a full-fledged Content management system.

Workflow & Business Process Automation Using SharePoint

Business process automation can reduce the cost and time required to complete a standard business process such as document review and document approval. SharePoint does it by managing and tracking knowledge workers and the collaborator’s tasks involved in the process. 

Create urgency to get the process completed fast using alerts and notifications.  

Example of a simple document approval process
Example of a simple document approval process

Using SharePoint workflows automation, you can 

  • send reminder emails
  • assign tasks
  • task assignment and new workflow start emails
  • archive documents delete them

SharePoint Content Management helps organisations implement the ECM methodologies and their best practices.

SharePoint workflow ensures that you can collect feedback, collect digital signatures. Not only does this help organisations to properly maintain information inside SharePoint, but it also provides essential meta information and versioning so that the correct information can be found easily by the users.

Conclusion

SharePoint as an Enterprise Content Management platform provides you with a rich set of tools to implement your organisation’s Enterprise Content Management methodology. However, to get maximum value from your SharePoint, you have to ensure you use all the features discussed above to manage the whole lifecycle of content in your organisation.

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Get in touch withus and one of our friendly experts will guide you

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