SharePoint Transactional Content Management wasn't created in a day...
Wait, what is Transactional Content Management? Simply put, it's focused on document-driven business processes instead of collaborative or creative processes. You've probably experience the different between document and collaborative driven processes in your organization. Let me guess, you've already created flourishing collaborative and creative content management SharePoint sites, but when applying the same methods to more transactional means, like Invoice Processing, your SharePoint site flops.
Don't let SharePoint Transactional Content Management (TCM) get you down though. We have four tips you can use to implement a flourishing TCM site too. Need a deeper dive?
1 - Plan Your SharePoint TCM Roll Out
This tip may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised just how many departments begin creating a SharePoint site without any actual planning ahead. They just start building out their site, set permissions, and hope that their users actually begin to adopt the new site. But instead, what many admins and managers realize is that their new site collects dust while old, outdated systems continue.
In most cases, spontaneously creating collaborative sites around a project or client works. However, transactional content just isn't the same as collaborative, since they are meant more for the long term. So much more structure and planning needs to happen for your SharePoint transactional content management site.
2 - Get Involvement from Users and Subject Matter Experts
We talk about this a lot, but that's because it truly does matter when developing systems and processes in your organization. Truly talk with the people who run the processes everyday--and we don't just mean IT. If you can't get buy in from the users and subject matter experts, your new transactional content management system won't work. It's as simple as that. Here are three questions you can ask the users to begin to get buy in and involvement from them:
- If you could make this process more efficient, what would you do?
- Where is the easiest place to store documents for this process? What are your feelings of SharePoint?
- Since the process is being updated, what are the must-haves for the new process in order for you to continue to do your job well?
3 - Apply Proper Governance with SharePoint Permissions
Governance is one of the most complicated parts of creating a cohesive SharePoint TCM system because there are many different working parts that need to be taken in consideration. Luckily, if you're replacing an already existing process in your organization, you most likely already have your governance at your fingertips.
There are three sections of governance that you need to keep in mind: Legal compliance, structural operations, and individual user permissions. Work with your executives, department heads and end users to determine how to develop this governance plan in advance. Oh, and don't rush it. Write your plan out on a whiteboard and get it approved by everyone involved before creating the structure in SharePoint.
And if this is a little too much for you? Luckily, there are a lot of experts out there ready to assist you in staying compliant and structured.
4 - Structure Your Deployment
It's not enough to have a general taxonomy built, buy-in from users, and governance in place. You can't truly expect a successful SharePoint transactional content management system without a deployment plan with proper training mixed in as well.
Think of your new TCM system as a phased approach. A simple example of a phased plan could look something like this: phase one is the planning stage--that's what we're talking about now. Phase two is building the taxonomy, governance, and workflow, allowing your end users and subject matter experts to fuel the discussion. Phase three is utilizing out-of-the-box SharePoint functionality or third-party software to allow you to begin implementing the most efficient SharePoint TCM system you can. And phase four is to test your new system as well as train your users on the proper use of it.
Quick tip: Don't forget about following up with your users after you train them to ensure they actually understand how to use the new system. Without continual reassurance from leadership, your users may never fully adopt the new TCM system.
Bonus: Follow SharePoint TCM Best Practices
There are many tweaks and tips you can use in your SharePoint-specific TCM system. A good example is Metadata vs Folders--use metadata to fuel search functionality, and folders to fuel user permissions. There are many more opportunities to learn best practices, especially from experts like those of us at KnowledgeLake. Don't hesitate to do more research, consult with experts, and invest in third-party solutions, like KnowledgeLake's solution for SharePoint.
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