Blog: 4 Steps to Get More Out of SharePoint: It’s More Than Just a Repository

May 11, 2017 Laurie Douglas

At this point, you already know SharePoint is a better way to store files and data.  With its accessibility through a web browser, its enhanced ability to store data in libraries, lists, calendars, etc., and its flexibility around defining content types, configurations, and permissions, its far outperforms what you get from a standard file server.

If you’re like most organizations, you’ve been using SharePoint for many years.  And yet, it remains little more than a turbocharged file server of sorts.  Even if your business relies heavily on SharePoint – with server farms, site collections, department, purpose-specific sites and subsites, etc. – at the end of the day, you need to ask yourself is SharePoint just a repository?

Here’s what I mean – once you’ve setup a site for a department or project, setup the needed ways to store and present various types of content, and assigned permissions, do you ever go back to ensure, for example, that no data subject to compliance standards resides on that site?  How about setting up SharePoint In-Place Holds for eDiscovery purposes?

If the answer is no, SharePoint is just a repository for your organization. And it shouldn’t be.

Assuming your organization is concerned about lawsuits, protecting intellectual property, stopping insider threats, and meeting compliance mandates, the opportunity exists to leverage the content within SharePoint itself to actually make your job easier.

So, how can your organization leverage SharePoint more?

1)   Recognize the answer is right in front of you – Well, sort of. For every compliance or security audit, eDiscovery request, or employee investigation, the answers are found within all of the data that makes up your SharePoint environment. It’s not like the answer to the auditing question of “who has accessed a specific type of data anywhere in the last six months” isn’t in SharePoint, right? It’s just a matter of identifying the data – regardless of where it exists within your environment – and then validating it against whatever the specific concern is. 

2)   Begin to think about SharePoint for what it is: enterprise content management (ECM) – I’ve always found that IT pros tend to think about the platforms and applications they support in terms of the tactical features available. Thus, SharePoint becomes an advanced file share with check in/out and versioning capabilities. Instead, IT needs to begin to look at SharePoint as an ECM platform and determine how the content within SharePoint can help meet business needs – rather than it being a place where the business just stores content.

3)   Realize SharePoint’s data is only a part of the puzzle – Even the largest of SharePoint implementations don’t necessarily contain every piece of information. There are other data sources outside of SharePoint – take an HR database, your CRM, or even Exchange for example – that can be used in conjunction with SharePoint to provide even more context around complex problems that data can solve. Do you want to see every bit of content regarding a project completed a year ago? A simple query of the project name will only get you some of the data. It may take identifying all the project members, and reviewing every piece of content any one of them accessed, email discussions, etc. to get a complete picture.

4)   Accept that native tools will only get you so far – By a show of hands, how many of you actually want to work for a living?  Anyone? Anyone? Right, none of us want to make more work for ourselves, and native tools – while providing legitimate value – are designed for general use cases.  How about the eDiscovery features in SharePoint? These features absolutely have a place, but when you’re looking to identify every piece of content that may have, say, a credit card number in it – across potentially hundreds or thousands of sites, you realize even with the power of PowerShell, it’s going to be a long night… 

SharePoint is more than just the foundation for productively storing company data; in a bigger sense, it is an unleveraged and powerful source of knowledge and data that can be used to empower your organization to make better decisions. At DocAuto, we’ve taken our 20 years of experience in helping companies leverage ECM systems and made it simple for you to get more out of your SharePoint platform – and fast. We’re talking minutes instead of months. Our SPorganizer™ solution can be deployed in hours, and will make a positive impact on your business on day one. 

 

SPorganizer is a trademark of DocAuto, Inc.

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