3 Things to Look for in SharePoint Document Management Solutions

Sometimes the simplest yet most easily overlooked step in looking for solutions for your users is this one: Ask your users what they need.

But if you can’t, don't, or won’t, I suggest you start by looking for these 3 features in a SharePoint document management solution. Sure, they’re self-evident, and no, I didn’t make them up, but they make sense:

  • Search capabilities: A good, powerful search means users spend less time hunting for items.
  • Sync capabilities: If you want to give users the ability to work offline, they’ll need syncing capabilities.
  • Integration with other heavily used productivity tools: You can only hasten SharePoint adoption when you integrate SharePoint with tools users already know and use.

I’m not saying anything new when I say that SharePoint 2010 is gaining ground as a document management solution. But in spite of its vaunted improvements over MOSS 2007, it still doesn’t work the way many end-users want it to.

And maybe you’ve been wondering how to feed SharePoint to your recalcitrant, prone-to-temper-tantrums, or resigned-to-apathetic-resistance end-users. Aside from referring you to paragraph 1 above, there are actually quite a few document management/content management solutions out there that can help.

I recently saw a demo of Workshare Point, a SharePoint content management solution, courtesy of Workshare’s senior product manager Kevin Docherty. Workshare Point integrates SharePoint 2010 and Microsoft Office Outlook, with the reasoning that users will be more productive and less resistant to change if they’re using a familiar interface and the simplicity of drag-and-drop features.

When you’re in Outlook and create an email message, the Workshare Point pane also pops up, letting you access SharePoint document libraries while still in Outlook. You can drill down to the data and document needed and drag and drop files from anywhere in SharePoint into Outlook to send as attachments or links. You can also upload new documents from inside Office to SharePoint.

You can check out documents, compare documents and document versions,  and file email messages. Or you can work offline and sync later. The FAST search feature is also exposed in several areas, in case you forget what something was called or where it’s located.  The interface is also customizable, so you can make it specific to your industry or department—in the demo I saw, the interface was customized for the legal industry.

If you’d like to learn more about this particular solution, go to Workshare’s website. And stay tuned for our SharePoint Document Management Solution Buyer’s Guide, coming in a month.

While you’re waiting, take a look at our earlier SharePoint Document Management Buyer’s Guide. And drop me a line [cmarwitz that at thing penton.com] about your SharePoint document management solution experiences.

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