Skills: Knowledge Management, Information Architecture
I received a request from a client to increase the space allocation of their collaboration site. Their current allocation was 1GB; their site was filled to the extent that further edits to their documents were not allowed. They had approximately 1/10 of their content uploaded so they were in need of more space. Their current content was spread over personal folders and shared drives and it was impossible to find all the documents that related to presentations, policies, etc. by author, date, etc.
Their Management wanted to use SharePoint to accomplish two objectives:
- centralize the content; and,
- make it more usable
The client assured me that this site was not another junk drawer for documents as they had been planning the site and document library structure for weeks.
The plan was to upload the documents into one or more document libraries consisting of multiple structured metadata columns with options and values that would drive usability. Each document would be classified with the following metadata:
- type (policy, procedure, guideline, presentation, etc.)
- dates (create, last modified, published, etc.)
User feedback would drive the need to include additional columns in the future and to improve upon the overall user experience.
This solution provides a central place for their documents with the ability to filter and sort the documents based on a variety of metadata columns.
The SharePoint Effect is real; this scenario of centralizing content for findability, searchability and usability is a core need of every individual, group, team, department, division and company. This ability to classify content in a variety of ways makes SharePoint one of the most powerful tools in the enterprise toolbox. The key objective is to help people find documents and information quickly to complete their deliverables. Applying the answers to these basic questions of Who, What, When, Where, Why and How [to their content] will provide the context and the metadata to attract users to the right content.
- Identify Audiences … to understand who is involved
- Identify Roles … to understand the variances in the Audiences
- Identify Content … to understand what documents are available
- Identify Usage … to understand the metadata needed for filtering, sorting, views, etc.
- Identify Terms … to understand terminology required for Document Titles, Column Names, Page Titles, etc.
- Identify Timing … to understand seasonal or conditional drivers
- Identify Processes … to understand Audience, Content intersections
At the basic level, we need to structure our content, our libraries, our pages and our sites so that our users have
- what (contextual information) they need
- when (timing is everything) they need it
- where (location, location, location) they need it
- how (consumable format) they need it
Keep it simple …
- the right content
- to the right person
- at the right time
- at the right place
- in the right format
How has SharePoint affected you?