Document management in SharePoint

by Jean Graef and Dan Antion

January, 2009

SharePoint's document management (DM) features are the catalyst for a new phase in knowledge base publishing - a focus on information strategy and policy. That's partly because DM in SharePoint is part of an integrated suite, not an isolated application sold by specialized vendors and managed by specialized staff. It's also because, like all SharePoint features, DM can be customized and managed largely by end users.

But the planning process required to implement it involves the creation of very specific rules and policies that must be closely aligned to business processes. It requires knowledge base publishers to integrate all the disciplines at their disposal - information discovery, content management, knowledge management, and business process management - and learn about the work habits of everyone from clerks to top executives. You can see this most readily in smaller organizations, such as American Nuclear Insurers (ANI). In this article, we introduce SharePoint DM features, discuss the planning and strategy implications, and summarize the experience of ANI's Dan Antion.

Document management in SharePoint
SharePoint document management features allow organizations to control document lifecycles — how they are created, reviewed, published, secured, and consumed, and ultimately disposed of or retained. Sometimes a legal requirement makes this necessary, but there are many other situations (e.g. project documentation) where lifecycle management is desirable. Although SharePoint has specific templates for both document management and its sister application, records management, lifecycle control features can be integrated into any application, such as collaboration and publishing. For example, documents for a specific project might appear on a SharePoint site for customer access, an extranet site collection for remote authoring by team members, and an intranet site collection for secure maintenance of the records management site.

Document and records management are used for documents that are in process (not yet completed or approved), active (approved and in use), or inactive (no longer in use but must be saved for compliance purposes).

Created on January 18, 2009 l Updated on January 4, 2010