4 Things To Consider Before Using SharePoint for Document Managementon 27 December 2018
Microsoft SharePoint is an enterprise product that’s been on the market for many years and has grown to address a number of organisational needs. Chief among these is using SharePoint for document management.
But is it the right choice for your organisation, or would another solution be more suitable? We reached out to two SharePoint power users to get their input on the platform’s value, what aspects organisations should consider before deciding, and what other solutions might work better and why.
SharePoint Document Management Examples
Ryan Gavin purchased SharePoint after he and his partners left a large law firm to start their own small firm, Kamykowski, Gavin & Smith, P.C. “We wanted a cloud-based document management solution that allowed us to move folders and files from the physical server at our old office to the cloud, while still maintaining the same appearance and structure. SharePoint enabled this at a low cost for our space needs.”
As for his user and purchase experience, Gavin notes being happy overall with his decision but felt the system lacked features that would make it a perfect fit.
In contrast, Kenneth Lang of KML Consultants used SharePoint for keeping up with clients’ documents. “SharePoint was the best solution for our company, as we needed to consolidate several smaller brands' documentation into one source. We also needed to be able to easily train business users on how to use SharePoint Online as part of Office 365.”
Lang says his company’s usage of SharePoint for document management was satisfactory but wouldn’t recommend it as a robust solution for truly managing content.
4 SharePoint Document Management Considerations
While SharePoint includes numerous areas we could focus on, Gavin and Lang pointed out these four areas had the most impact on their decision.
Many organisations already use Microsoft Office; since SharePoint is a Microsoft product, it’s easily added on to Office 365. Easy, seamless integration is appealing for many prospective users. “We liked the integration with Office 365. It made adding SharePoint very easy. Also, the cost was low, and it largely required no maintenance,” said Gavin.
While SharePoint may be customisable, it’s still a Microsoft product. That means the interface is the traditional Windows file structure, which may or may not be your organisation’s cup of tea. Some like the familiarity of a directory, while others prefer a more visual approach.
“If you like the traditional folder and file directory structure of Windows, as opposed to more modern document management software, [SharePoint] fits the bill,” says Gavin.
Both Gavin and Lang indicate that SharePoint’s feature set around document management is lacking. Gavin notes, “We had problems with documents that were checked out by users in the system. If not checked back in, there was no good way to identify those missing items. Additionally, we felt the ability to search and sort documents by different fields or parameters was limited and difficult.”
Lang’s take is more direct: “I wouldn't recommend [SharePoint] as a content management system unless you want something very basic—perhaps as a simple intranet where that use case would make sense. The features just aren’t there to support it.”
Are you planning on using SharePoint as an ongoing solution or for a specific project? In either case, you’ll have to train users. This may present a sizeable and costly challenge if you want to use SharePoint for a short-term engagement.
Lang recommends that, before implementing SharePoint as a document management system, you should ”determine the scope of the project or projects you need it for, then put the proper training in place. This includes educating users, developing best practices and governance processes, and ensuring that they are all constantly updated.”
While this may be an acceptable burden as part of daily operations, a project would likely have to be sizeable or lengthy to warrant employing SharePoint.
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Alternatives To SharePoint For Document Management
After considering the points above, you may feel that SharePoint isn’t the right solution for your organisation. In that case, there’s several options available.
Lang feels that SharePoint works for his company but can see how another solution may be more suited for certain organisations. “If your company is looking for a simple solution, try Dropbox. But I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re worried about security,” he warns.
Similar to Dropbox, Google Docs is also a solution Lang recommends as a simple alternative to SharePoint for document management. However, it also carries the same concern for him—a lack of security, especially for larger or data-sensitive organisations.
While SharePoint worked initially for Gavin’s needs, he eventually moved on. “We switched to Box.com because it offers better integration with our law practice management software. While Box is more expensive, it also has a more user-friendly web portal, and the customer support has been much better than SharePoint.”
Lastly, Glasscubes works quite well for document management. Plus, it doesn’t have the issues that Lang and Gavin call out about Dropbox and SharePoint. Data in Glasscubes is secured by SSL encryption at rest and during transfer. Plus, users have lauded it’s customer support. “Glasscubes provide OUTSTANDING customer support! I cannot emphasise this enough. [...] You can ask the simplest question and someone will have a response to you typically within one minute - unheard of in today's support world,” shares Michael Neustel of Neustel Law Offices.
Need a document management solution that won’t break the bank, requires no training, and offers robust security? Look no further than Glasscubes.
More and more organisations are starting to look beyond the traditional document management solutions, realising that familiarity doesn’t necessarily equate with value. (Tweet this!) Demand for these solutions to deliver a more comprehensive feature set has driven vendors to create and innovate.
Glasscubes is one such innovation. It’s a sophisticated, easy-to-use, all-in-one solution used by many high-performing businesses for both document management and collaboration. Being a cloud-based SaaS solution, it’s accessible anytime, anywhere, and requires no installation or IT involvement.
With Glasscubes, you can:
- Store and control your documents in a centralised, go-to file repository that keeps all your documents in one place.
- Enjoy automated version control for every document uploaded, ensuring users always have the latest and most accurate information.
- Collaborate with your internal staff and clients with customised workspaces. (They’re modern-day intranets and extranets.)
- Maintain peace of mind with SSL encryption for data transfers and at-rest data encryption for all client files and information.
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