How to Organize Content in SharePoint

by Taylor Stroot on May 1, 2018

It's time to organize content in SharePoint

Your SharePoint is a mess. It's time to clean it up. But where do you start to organize your SharePoint, so it's structured and intuitive for your users? In a wild, wild west SharePoint, users are already having difficulty traversing the mess and finding the documents they need. The last thing you want to do is make it worse.


Talk to everyone. Your leadership, your users, and outside experts

It's important to get input from all places within your organization before you start as well as consulting with experts who can direct you to best practices and steer you away from pitfalls. Start with your leadership. The execs will give you a good idea on what they expect, how the governance should look like, and if they have any plans for switching platforms in the future.

Next, it's time to talk to your end users. Your users are the people who are knee-deep in your company's information everyday. You'll want to work with your end users the closest to ensure that any systems and rules they have established are include when you begin to organize content in SharePoint.

Finally, chatting with experts like those of us at KnowledgeLake will help you understand the best road to travel to ensure your SharePoint can get organized.

Create your taxonomy & governance plan company-wide and by department

You should always start with taxonomy and governance. How else would you know how to structure your team sites and document libraries in SharePoint? After having conversations with your leadership, end users and experts about the governance and taxonomy, actually create the plan. Draw it out and write it down.

As you plan to organize content in SharePoint, pay attention to how rules and processes change by department. It's vital to ensure that those rules and process are accommodated and only changed to ensure efficiency. What may work for accounting probably doesn't work for human resources.

Just do it and keep it simple

Too many content types, metadata fields, folders, etc. will ruin your attempt at organization and ultimately make it worse. After your taxonomy and governance plan is created, review it again with end users to ensure that it is truly efficient. Don't be afraid to start slim because you can always add folders, site columns, and even document libraries later on.

Metadata vs Folders

Don't start with a folder structure. There, we said it. You won't have the opportunity to truly find what you need in folders. Folder structures are especially difficult when organized by date and not by topic, client, or project. While there are some benefits of using folders, like governance and easier structure and ability to upload documents, it's important to not just use folders when you organize content in SharePoint.

Instead, use site columns in your SharePoint libraries. Utilize the metadata to help you organize your information in the most efficient way possible. Of course, use folders when they are most useful, but take advantage of the site columns you can create and use across multiple libraries in your SharePoint site.

 

Every organization is different

Understand that every organization, company, and so ultimately, it's up to you to undercover exactly what your business needs to organize content in SharePoint. Talk to experts like those of us at KnowledgeLake so you can truly optimize your plan to get out of the wild west of SharePoint and get it organized.

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