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There is a constant in the manufacturing industry, even with all the noise around robots, AI, and IOT, the drive is always to reduce the cost and improve Quality. If you are facing this pressure, you may have found that your company is adopting Microsoft Office 365 with its clear ROI of over 200% compared to using previous versions of Office. Which has probably left you with thinking about how to get the most out of your new platform; and with more questions than answers? This QikGuide is a set of principles for SharePoint document management that we use at QikSolve.

Out of this guide, you should learn to:

  • Understand SharePoint Document management lingo
  • Create a snap-shot of your documents
  • Select the right option
  • Create a document library
  • Roll out and get users involved

We have found that SharePoint provides a great repository for documents for our operations as it allows us to quickly create, work together and share documents across the business in a managed way. We often work from customer sites, whilst traveling or working late nights at home and the freedom to log in and we always have confidence that we have the latest version of the document. Our SharePoint document management solutions provide an easy central location that everyone knows where to find our key documents; from project contracts and documents to key HR policies and procedures.

SharePoint document management lingo:

Document Content Type: allows you to group documents together with the relevant information required for each document. i.e. Invoices, Policies

Metadata: functional data that decribes the document; usually this is anything you might want to search or filter for, example: Document Type

Library: A SharePoint document management term for the location of your documented information, a physical analogy would be a filing cabinet with different draws for different documents.

View: Each library comes with a pre-defined set of columns that shows all documents and their relavent information, this is the index card that shows where each document it stored on the system.

Online collaboration: SharePoint allows for the co-working on documents stored on the platform, where users can work on same document at the same time, and see in real time where changes are being made.

Version History: Every document in SharePoint can have historical versions saved, creating a running record of all changes made. These versions can be re-instated at any time.

Create an inventory of documents

We recommend your first point of action is nothing to do with SharePoint document management at all, you need to go out and do some research in your organisation. Each department in the organisation has a different need; understand yours and then implement a solution. We provide a proforma for clients to let them establish a list of key documents and information required. Contact us if you would like a copy. You want to know; document types, key metadata for each document type and permissions required.

An example would be: 

A Policy with the metadata of: Department, Document ID, Approval date, Approved by, with edit permissions for the Quality Manager only.

Select the right platform

Within Office 365 you have three options for your document management solution

SharePoint Online – This is a central location that is best suited for your structured documents that need to be shared across the organisation. We recommend using this for Marketing material, QMS and HR documents. It creates a central location that you can make highly visible for anyone signing in to your platform. We use this for our ISO 9001 QMS.

Microsoft Teams and groups – Microsoft teams allows you to share and manage documents within a group, this can be extremely powerful for collaboration on semi-strucutred content like project documents

One Drive for business – Allows for the management of personal documents that can be shared across the organisation, we recommend this is the right

Creating a document library

For this guide we are using the premise of creating structured data for use across the organisation, so we are picking a SharePoint Online Team site with a library. Continuing on with a policy library; lets create a location to share the HR policies of the organisation.

Create your new SharePoint site and create a new library app, you can follow the guidance from Microsoft to understand the basics of getting set up. We highly recommend the use of Content types to help you manage your documents and search and filtering of documents, but for now, we just create a couple of columns that contain the metadata that you want to capture as above.

Upload your documentsin to the library and populate the required fields, this will allow you to create new views and filters that you can share later on.

Following the Microsoft guidance, configure the access to the new library by creating groups and adding users. You want your general viewers of the documents to have read-only permissions.

Now you can share the documents with your collaborators to update them in a real time together if required.

Sharing your documents

You have your documents all set up, and permissions locked and loaded. Now it’s time to get your documents out in to the hands of those that need them, there is a handy guide to follow here. That will show you how to share your documents through outlook, chat and many other mediums. Make sure you start using the site usage metrics to see how your documents are being used: Site Usage Report.

Contact us to know how you can learn to use SharePoint to manage your documents.