SharePoint ECM Plan: Avoid These 3 Mistakes

By Taylor Stroot on May 3, 2018

Avoid these hurdles in your SharePoint ECM plan.

Creating a SharePoint ECM plan is not easy. It takes understanding how your end users work, how your documents are stored in SharePoint, and how your document processes are laid out in your organization. Unfortunately, with such projects come mistakes and frustrations. The experts at KnowledgeLake have helped organizations develop their SharePoint ECM plan time and time again. They know the common mistakes to avoid: 

Mistake #1: Replicating Line-of-Business Data

Many line-of-business (LOB) applications on the market accommodate the business needs and use cases for day-to-day business operations. These LOB applications are targeted at vertical markets. A common mistake is replicating the LOB data categories in your SharePoint ECM plan. It's not necessary. In many ways, it reduces the effectiveness of the ECM system you plan on implementing.

However, it is important to remember that the data in the LOB application is the “source of truth” for a contract, invoice, HR document, etc. But it is not prudent to store all of that information on all of the documents that relate to that LOB record. If this is done, then a synchronization will need to be in place (usually with custom code) in order to harmonize the data when the main record changes in the LOB application. Essentially, by replicating the data from your LOB system into your SharePoint ECM plan, you're making the data collection and verification more complicated than it needs to be.

Mistake #2: Under-classifying data

While it's important not to replicate your LOB data exactly, it's also a common mistake to only store one or two key columns containing critical data from the LOB application. If the LOB application fails, documents in the document management system (DMS) would lose context. Instead, matched multiple fields from the LOB allow your SharePoint ECM system to leverage “source” data while maintaining context.

Good examples of data points to include in your SharePoint ECM plan are last name, date ranges, purchase order numbers, etc.

Mistake #3: Over-classifying data

Similar to storing too much LOB data on documents, there are other extreme cases of storing too many data points pertaining to documents. In addition to speed and size issues, this commonly requires the end users to key in too much metadata for each document during the capture process. Having too much data connected to your documents just complicates your SharePoint libraries and lists later on, making it harder to find documents when you need them.

When users feel like they are storing more data per document than is necessary, they will often not fill in fields, create abbreviations, or find easier ways to just get the document captured and into SharePoint. This renders the data that was keyed in by users useless when finding documents. Remember, you want your SharePoint ECM system to be easy for users to adopt, not cause them to have more work than needed.

When developing your SharePoint ECM plan, it's important to consider the common mistakes.

At KnowledgeLake, we've encountered more mistakes than you can believe when it comes to building our SharePoint ECM plans. We've been there. We've done that. So listen to us when we suggest you should avoid certain common hurdles in the planning process. By taking these mistakes into consideration, you will find that your plan is easier to implement and adopt.

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