SharePoint—a Document Management Solution for SMBs and Non-Profit Organizations
By: Tracey Klein on Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 makes document management a reality for non-profits and small and medium-size businesses (SMBs). Its affordability, especially as a cloud hosted solution, and its familiar user interface appeal to both CFOs and end-users. Here is a mini “case study” of how mindSHIFT successfully delivered document management with SharePoint.

Our client is a global not-for-profit advocacy group. The chief operating officer (COO) had concluded that searching for and re-creating existing documents was a huge inefficiency in the organization. There were also risks associated with using the wrong versions of documents, where duplicate and even triplicates existed on shared file folders. Her goal was to implement a document management solution to enable version control, collaboration and effective document tagging and search results.

The COO engaged mindSHIFT to help implement an efficient document management solution. The planning phase (also known as “discovery”) lasted roughly three weeks. In this phase, we defined requirements for the intranet and document management solution, and organized them in the following categories and functions:

  • Document & knowledge management, with enhanced search
  • Corporate information (announcements, calendars, employee lookup, etc.)
  • Departmental collaboration, within and between departments and teams
  • Project collaboration
  • Employee self-service: Human Resources (HR), Communications, IT service requests forms, employee profile management, etc.
  • Branding
  • Training

During the planning phase, nine department stakeholders were interviewed and the needs of each were collected and documented. Specific needs were elevated to requirements, if a common theme was identified. This approach allowed us to repurpose logical architecture across department sites and allow customization as required—a time, money and effort saver.

Once the solution was designed, and document management features were configured in SharePoint, we were tasked with migrating over 400,000 assets from file servers into SharePoint.  Due to the size of this project, it would have been extremely challenging for the organization to implement it without the resources and expertise of the mindSHIFT team. In the end, it provided our client organization with a true document archive that serves as the foundation of their document creation and collaboration efforts.

For ongoing document management, we implemented a role-based solution to enable each of the departments to manage their own content and business rules (also known as workflows). Authenticated users are allowed access to documents, forms and data based on their permission settings. For two of the departments (HR and Finance), public and private SharePoint sites were implemented. This enabled the CFO, for example, to view all of the content in the Finance department’s private site collection, and then publish selected documents to the public site collection, for global employee access.

It’s this level of capability and granularity that makes SharePoint a strong document management option for small and medium-size businesses and not-for-profit organizations (NFPs).

Learn more about mindSHIFT’s SharePoint solutions.

Tracey Klein is Divisional Vice President of Sales for mindSHIFT’s Managed Hosting and e-Business Application Development group, based in our Commack, NY office.

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