As a consultancy, we come across problems users have often when it comes to finding their information. Depending on how SharePoint has been set up, users will have a hassle-free time with it, or the complete opposite. Our guide addressing many SharePoint wishes goes into how we can help make your IT wishes come true!
When it comes to having trouble finding information and documents, let’s use an example of Joan in HR:
“I can’t find the policies I want to update, so I have to create and upload new ones. Now I’m getting complaints saying users can’t find the new (or old) policies!
Joan from HR wants to update some company policies; however, she can’t find the original policies to update in SharePoint. What ends up happening is she saves these new policies to the company’s ‘S Drive’ (or whatever the common file share is) – and a few weeks later, staff are unaware of the new policies (which they can’t find) and inevitably communication problems arise as a result.
Joan simply wants to update the relevant documents and then those be accessible (and only those). Read more wishes in our guide here.
Joan was easy to help – her organisation already had SharePoint (within Office 365) – so her wishes could easily come true! Firstly, finding documents is easy due to some intelligent bits of functionality within SharePoint.
SharePoint has a sophisticated Search function. It can be customised to make it easier for users to find the information they’re looking for. To facilitate a better search environment, we recommend making sure your content can be found (see Metadata below).
Later versions of SharePoint allow you to tailor how search results look. This can help users distinguish between different types of results (you can use result types and display templates to show important information directly in the search results). To make finding your company information easier to find, you can use some out of the box web parts within SharePoint. These will enable a better Search experience, they are more intuitive, and it’ll condition users to adopt better search practices. Be aware that some search setting will impact search results (good from a Governance point of view!). SharePoint Site Owners/Administrators can set permissions against particular or sensitive data – therefore you can restrict what content is returned in some User’s search queries.
Through the tagging of files, metadata empowers search and enables users to find data quicker and filter what is needed. You can base it on content type, client type, project type – and more fundamental tags too such as document/ record author or when it was last modified. This is enabled in SharePoint columns instead of lots of unnecessary folders. Our strong recommendation is to apply quality ‘tagging’ to your information – search and eDiscovery are driven by good information architecture. It’s vital that your workforce understands the value that accurate metadata will provide. Using Office 365 and SharePoint, Joan is now able to easily locate the policies, update and re-save them without any hassle. By using these platforms and applying the right functionality, it allows users to effortlessly view the policies as and when needed.