Documents form the basis of organisational information assets and links key processes to the people who perform and manage them.

Efficient managing of the organisational documents & information has now become an unavoidable problem and a top priority for many. Every organisation has their own way of managing information assets. This can be anything from file shares, cloud based services to specific products/technology platform or combination of these.

Over years Microsoft SharePoint has emerged as a promising platform for Document Management. It has the fundamental DM features and also provides a strong native integration with Microsoft Office, Exchange and Windows.

But SharePoint product in its native form should not be confused with a Document Management Solution. While SharePoint provides robust document storage facilities, it needs appropriate strategic planning, understanding of organisation’s business processes, diversity, appetite for creating a Knowledge culture, adoption history and effective change controls along with appropriate configuration, development, combination of third party products and agility to develop a DMS solution that is both usable and useful.

At Prometix, we have delivered several successful Document Management solutions that has made a difference for our clients.

We’ve worked hard to understand how people want to access and share information.

Here are some of our lessons learned-

  1. Plan for document migration.
  2. While the platform provides various cool features (like co-authoring) be careful of various limitations. Communicate and plan early to ensure there are no disruption to BAU tasks.
  3. Information is more valuable when it can be easily shared. Leverage SharePoint’s Enterprise Social capability to distribute organisational information. Of Couse this will depend upon organisation’s appetite for Enterprise Social Networks
  4. Leverage third party products for SharePoint to make it a real solution. It’s a Document Management solution we are developing and not just creating another Document Storage.
  5. Documents and information are usually aligned to organization’s specific Business Processes that may be maintained in a line of business system (like an ERP). If required integrate your DMS with the line of business system empowering users to align with processes, people and information.
  6. An effective Business Classification scheme/Taxonomy is a must. Leverage models provided in industry standard tools such as Keyword AAA. Get stakeholder community heavily involved here. This is an iterative process and it’s ok for the users to change their mind.
  7. Create a proof of concept early during the project and use this to generate discussions around how each team works with documents. This helps to gain insights in real life scenarios. Ensure the solution caters for these use cases.
  8. Don’t boil the ocean. The approach should be to establish a platform suitable for the long term enterprise information needs and to deploy the solution in manageable phases to reflect the priorities
  9. Commence the rollout with effective strategy and action plan for user adoption. Involve the senior most stakeholders as early as possible. Make them the author of the change they want to bring in.
    • Not everything needs to be migrated. Define migration rules with the business. Involve your stakeholders very early.
    • While focusing on areas like – data cleansing, amount and type of data is very useful, do not neglect issues like linked documents, hyperlinks within documents and issue of broken links post migration. There are various options to tackle this problem.
    • Make sure to identify the extent of complex excel spreadsheet (based applications) especially the ones with macros, cubes and VBA code behind. Again there are strategies available to ensure smooth migration.
    • Various migration options are available from manual migration to third party tools. Define your migration scenarios so as to map migration approach for each scenario as each scenario may need a different options.
    • Take account of any system generated report(s) that are currently dumped to your network folder and define a plan of action to ensure continuity.
    • Ensure compatibility with your line of business applications (like third party reporting software Hyperion and others) with the DMS and the version of Office )
  10. Identify any third party applications that will need to interact with the new DMS
  11. SharePoint is a powerful multi-faceted applications platform. It requires appropriate management and operational guidelines. Your Governance should include –
    • Deployment Strategy (Big bang/iterative[based on feature/teams])
    • Comms Planning (Identify and utilise the available & appropriate channels)
    • Plan Training ( End User/Super User/SME/Internal Helpdesk) and define responsibilities
    • Operational excellence planning ( how about forming communities of practice)
    • Define measure of success and keep tracking

12. Lastly but most importantly have some fun while delivering your Document and Knowledge Management rollout. This is going to bring in a massive positive change in the organisation.

 

With the right setup, SharePoint will just be great!

 

About Prometix: Prometix work with our clients to establish a structure that makes information easier to create, store, find and share with others. We’ve worked hard to understand how people want to access and share information.

For more information on our success stories please feel free to call us on (02) 8072 0666 or email enquiries@prometix.com.au

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