Making information accessible

Microsoft SharePoint as a tool for information management


Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 10:15

Microsoft SharePoint is no longer something that can be taken out of the IT landscape of many businesses. Both small- and large-scale businesses are increasingly using SharePoint to set up a web site for exchanging information and online collaboration within a group or organization. Wherein lies the success of SharePoint in terms of information management and why is its use consistently on the rise?

Virtually every business has to deal with an increasing flow of information. There is an ever greater desire and necessity to manage this quantity of information and to make it more accessible. But often it lacks the correct tools. Take, for example, the storage of documents. Virtually every business has something such as a folder system in which staff are able to store their documents and files. The disadvantage of this decentralized way of working is that only the owner has a knowledge of the files, the versions, the context, etc. In the absence of the owner, the other employees will not be able to access this knowledge and it will be difficult or even impossible for them to retrieve this information.

Many businesses lack the time and money for working on an adequate solution to this information problem. But everyone is convinced that something needs to be done and specifically because information storage is only going to grow. Out-of-the-box, SharePoint 2013 (SP 2013) offers lots of features for managing information and thus to once again make information flows controllable. It would be too simplistic to imagine that the deployment of a tool such as SharePoint resolves all of the aforementioned problems in one go, but SP 2013 certainly helps in taking a first step in the right direction.

SP 2013 has functions, which can direct the information flows along the right lines in an intuitive manner.

  • Document Management System (DMS)
    It is often more difficult to add a document to a DMS than it is to a folder system or your own folder. New in SP2013 is the ability to drag a document directly from the file system into the correct document library. It is like working in a file system, which is nice for the end user. Documents in a document library are immediately available for searching.
  • E-mail integration
    E-mails and documents belong with one another. But an e-mail with a document attachment is managed in Outlook, whereas other documents are managed in SharePoint. New in SP 2013 is the 'Site Mailbox', a shared mailbox for staff, who work together on a project, for example. Project-related e-mails can be sent to the Site Mailbox and the attachments can easily be dragged to a document library. This ensures that all e-mails and documents are stored centrally for any particular project. The e-mails and documents are accessible for all involved.
  • Task integration
    Practice has taught us that each individual maintains tasks (things to do) in their own personal way. There is no overview of group tasks, for example. SP 2013 offers a user-friendly and uniform method of task management, which makes it possible to gain a simple overview and insight. To achieve this, it doesn't matter whether tasks come from MS Project or MS Outlook. Tasks can also be displayed in a visual timeline, which enhances readability.
  • Translation
    The translation service provides the ability to have content easily translated in SP 2013, for instance documents and web sites. The editor is able to arrange to translate a document or site by creating a 'translation package'. The 'translation package' can be created in XLIFF format, which means the translation can be processed in virtually any translation software.

In summary: SharePoint 2013 offers businesses an intuitive and relatively advantageous way of getting to grips with the increasing flow of information. Read more at the SharePoint site (link: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/microsoft-sharepoint-collab...) or contact DCT if you would like to find out more about the information management features of SharePoint 2013.