3 Ways to Maximize Your SharePoint Investment

Like many organizations, Microsoft SharePoint might be the heart of your information management, utilizing its robust architecture to ensure content is being securely stored and always accessible. While SharePoint was born to store all kinds of content, managing and applying governance to all information (not just records) can be a daunting task. Building out customized workflow, management dashboards and intuitive search tools to ensure compliance, is a large undertaking. I’d like to share with you 3 ways you can extend the capabilities of SharePoint to ensure your organization is making the most of its investment. 1. UNDERSTAND SHAREPOINT AS A PLATFORM

If you ask 10 people what SharePoint is, you will likely get 10 different answers. It’s important that you define what SharePoint will do in your organization and clearly define what it WILL NOT do. Ask yourself, what do I need SharePoint for? A good starting point is to map enterprise technologies with key functions that your organization requires. This should be done for your current state and for your proposed future state. Although Microsoft has continued building functionality through the 2013 release of SharePoint, there still exists a major gap in Records Management and Information Governance that needs to be filled.


SharePoint, if left to its own devices will not provide comprehensive Information Governance. SharePoint Information Governance must include all of the following key elements:

Let’s focus on Content & Classification for the purposes of this conversation. Content Governance must be applied in SharePoint. It should ensure that all Content (that’s right not just records!!!) is managed with consistency throughout its lifecycle from creation through to disposition. This will take much work and a ton of preparation to get it right. But it is possible if you can get key stakeholders in the same room.

  • Site Provisioning & Disposition
  • Metadata (Columns) Standardization
  • Library & List Standards
  • File Plan Application
  • Establishing Site Templates
  • Setting Up Consistent Classification
  • Automating Records Declaration
  • Defining Points of Divergence For Properties
  • Use of the Managed Metadata Service & Content Type Hub


Let’s suppose your organization has done a great job in managing and applying governance rules to its information stored in SharePoint. Well good for you, but is your job done? The simple answer is NO. You most likely have other systems (HR, Accounting, e-discovery, Ethical Wall, shared drives, etc.) and paper in which the key governance elements need to be applied. It is not acceptable to inconsistently apply governance policies between systems and between formats (electronic & paper). You need to be able to manage, track and govern content in all formats. A truly unified information governance strategy is needed.

Here are a few suggested ways to bridge the gap between SharePoint and Everything Else:

  • Consistent application and integrated view of electronic and paper through a 3rd Party application that integrates within SharePoint.
  • A software tool (RFID) that can govern and control the management of paper. Yes, paper is not going away!!!
  • Automatic declaration of content (electronic and paper) through a 3rd party solution that can apply your own unique information management policies.

By understanding SharePoint as a platform, building information governance into and throughout SharePoint and Aligning SharePoint with everything else for consistent application of policy and procedure, your organization will maximize its existing investment and make SharePoint the HEART of its information.

If you would like to take a deeper dive into any of the topics discussed, please click this http://filetrail.com/videos.php to hear a lively discussion between myself and SharePoint Expert, Nick Inglis (CEO of Left Gen Group).

Also, feel free to ping me anytime at jmerrifield@filetrail.com or (646) 584-7687.

Jim Merrifield, Director of Information Governance at FileTrail, Inc.