Why SharePoint Document Management


Without SharePoint

Every single department is looking for better ways to manage information - whether it be the telephone book, who owes us money, or who has an action item. There is a need for collecting information and tracking it. 

The existing Shared drive is a mass of layers of folders. Within those folders, different people may have different access that you may not even know about.  

Consider the situation of finding a document in the shared network drive.

What’s the file name? Did it have “proposal” in the name? Where on earth did it get filed? That makes no sense; why on earth, is it stored in this folder? Now that you’ve found it, you notice that there are several versions, with different file names, contributors, dates and version numbers.  Not only that, you found different copies of the same document, in different folders. 

Alright.  You’ve cleaned up all the different versions and have the most up-to-date document. It requires the input of several people.  You all can’t work on it at the same time, so it gets emailed as an attachment. And, when it gets emailed back to you, you ask the question, where do you store that again?

Or maybe this situation sounds familiar?

I have a Word document (called "document".docx), containing sensitive information. Five other people have to provide input on the document. I email the original document to the other people.  All the collaborators make their individual changes to the document (with or without track changes). Each person sends an updated copy of the document back (now entitled “document_person’s” initials.docx). I now have 6 versions of the same document. I spend days compiling the different versions into one complete document.

With SharePoint

There are several reasons to adopt SharePoint. The Presentation associated summarizes the benefits and the Acadia set up. 

  1. Versioning. SharePoint keeps versions of documents and allows you to revert to a prior version. There are different levels of versioning and can be set for each department.  
  • Minor (0.1, 1.1) as well as major (1.0, 2.0) version controls. Version numbers are visible (as in ‘Last Modified By’). Previous versions are all accessible and can be ‘promoted’. 
  • Check In/Out: Check out allows a user to lock down a document while it is being edited; the user who has checked out the document is clearly visible. When checked back in, the user can choose to create a new version or override the existing version. 
  1. Security. SharePoint offers a higher level of security. Users can only see sites and documents to which they have access. Security is permissions driven. The SharePoint department site owner has control over who has access to a site.
  2. External Access. SharePoint allows you to collaborate with external users, on projects and committees, without requiring guest access. External users can use their own email address. The site is secure so that internal documents cannot accidentally be shared externally. 
  3. Office 365.  SharePoint is part of Office 365, so it appears as just another icon when you log in.  There is no change in how you use Word, Excel, PowerPoint of other office tools.  However, the open and save operation will be slightly different. It is integrated into all the Office Suite - without having to go to an external product (DropBox or Google Docs). 
  4. Accessibility. SharePoint files can be accessed from anywhere with any device (mobile device, iPad or computer). There is no longer the need to access folders via VPN.
  5. Collaboration. Multiple people can edit the same document, and even at the same time without changes being lost, using both the web browsers or through a local application. 
  6. Search functionality. You can search for a document and find it without relying of the file creator's use of meaningful name.  There are no longer files buried under layers of folders that make sense only to the creator.  Searches can happen at multiple levels: the local library or list and across sites. 
  7. Document Management. Opens the door to a deliberate set of document management: taxonomy, document retention. 
  • Alerts: Alerts will send out an e-mail to let you know when new documents have been added or changed. Daily and weekly digests are also available. 

  • Workflow: Includes simple ‘approval’ workflow out of the box, as well as a few other simple workflows allowing, for example, the user to request someone else to review a document with that approval recorded in the workflow. 

  • Recycle Bin - SharePoint has individual and site collection recycle bins. If a document is deleted it is placed into the user's recycle bin where they can restore it or delete it. From there it goes to a site collection recycle bin, where the site collection administrator can restore or delete it. 

SharePoint enables you to

  • provide a document repository that can be easily accessed from your web browser, with optional versioning and meta-tagging for quick searches
  • collaborate on documents without the need to email copies back and forth
  • maintain a knowledge base or discussion boards
  • create custom lists to track tasks, issues, etc.
  • control access to your content to ensure privacy and security
  • reduce the amount of printing
  • easily find important information with a powerful search tool
  • email alerts when information changes

Who can use this service?

  • Faculty
  • Staff
  • Projects
  • Committees
  • Research groups (with external members)
  • Students


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Article ID: 487
Wed 10/25/17 2:19 PM
Tue 3/22/22 9:22 AM