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SharePoint and mstore: A 2-part paper by Paul Grant & Neil Maude (Part 2)

SharePoint and mstore: A 2-part paper by Paul Grant & Neil Maude (Part 2)

Our last post discussed the details of SharePoint and the benefits a turnkey solution such as mstore can provide businesses. This article focuses on how each software affects the user, and the restrictions of using a cloud-based solution.

User structure creation

A third aspect to consider is both a strength and weakness of SharePoint – user structure creation. SharePoint is very good at allowing users to make their own pages, which in effect means users can create their own mini-websites for projects, interests, or any other area they want to place content. This is brilliant, up until the point that the system starts to sprawl out of control. The organisation is then at risk of duplication, an inability to easily find content, and creates potential issues around information governance (who is holding what information and who is looking at it). This “sprawl” can be such a problem that organisations have been known to cease SharePoint projects in favour of structured EDM solutions. 

Questions to consider with this are:

  1. How will growth of user content within the system be managed and controlled?
  2. How can your organisation be assured that information – potentially subject to data protection regulation – is being held appropriately?

These considerations are implicit within a good EDMS such as mstore.

Restrictions with a cloud-based solution

Another consideration in regards to SharePoint versions are that Microsoft are adopting a cloud-first strategy with their productivity software, and SharePoint is no exception – they really want you to move to a cloud solution. This has a couple of issues. First of all, choosing a cloud solution restricts customisation options of SharePoint (for good reasons - Microsoft don’t want third party code running their shared cloud environment) – customisation is still possible, but it’s harder and more expensive. Secondly, the cloud is not always an appropriate location for sensitive content.

This leads to a number of cloud-related questions:

  1. Does the cloud solution serve your needs – is the required functionality still available?
  2. Can relevant information be put into a cloud solution (i.e. subject to regulation controls)?

The cloud can also be something of a one-way journey – an organisation should consider how to get information from the cloud if something changes and a new provider is chosen. This may sound simple, but imagine creating content every day for several years and then try to obtain it from the cloud in a matter of weeks in order to terminate a contract - that’s not going to be a straightforward task.

Summary

In conclusion, SharePoint is an excellent product and has a number of useful features for collaboration and creation of content. It is a very easy way to create team pages and other intranet-type functionality. However, SharePoint may not be either the best or most cost-effective way to deliver secure and regulatory compliant and structured electronic document management. Your choice of solution should be considered in light of the questions posed above, which can serve as a guide to the key issues in this decision. 

As information becomes ever more a strategic asset – and subject to regulation – the choice of system in which to store information also becomes more strategic. This means that this decision will be complex, novel (i.e. unfamiliar) and will very likely be hard to reverse once made. Arena recommends that at the very least an organisation should seek expert guidance to make the right choice.

Finally, to end on a positive note, SharePoint can be used as a tool to provide a view into your corporate information prior to putting a structured solution in place. The following screenshot shows Arena’s internal use of SharePoint as a “search appliance” to keep control of unstructured content. This can be a quick start on your information management journey.

Are you considering a more robust, bespoke Electronic Document Management Solution? You can call our team on 0344 863 8005 or visit http://www.mstore-edm.co.uk/

Already an mstore customer? Be a part of the conversation. Join our user group today.

About the authors

Paul Grant

Account Manager

Tel: 0344 863 8000 | Email: PaulG@arenagroup.net

Neil Maude

 Electronic Document Management General Manager

Tel: 0844 863 8000 | Email: NeilM@arenagroup.net

For article enquiries please email marketing@arenagroup.net

 

 

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