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Document management with SharePoint and Co.: Which tool is suitable?

Microsoft 365 is the first choice for many companies when it comes to a document management system. No wonder, after all, all elements of the comprehensive Microsoft software were developed specifically for the requirements of the digital working world. Microsoft 365 provides users with three tools that help companies create, edit, search and read documents. Let's take a look at them!

Geschrieben von
Hannah
January 4, 2021
-
4 min reading time
Inhaltsverzeichnis
  1. SharePoint online: Structured digital filing
  2. MS Teams: Communication and document management
  3. OneDrive: Ideal for individual data storage
  4. Conclusion
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Document management, for example with SharePoint, is the first step towards a paperless office for many companies. The wealth of company-relevant documents that are published every day is huge. Manuals, instructions, concepts or protocols - documents play a key role, both internally and externally, in documenting and disseminating important information. Last but not least, Corona has also further raised awareness of the benefits of document management:

  • Digital and central storage of documents
  • Easy and fast retrieval of documents
  • Parallel working on projects
  • Comprehensive global search options
  • Important for digitalization

The question is therefore no longer whether companies benefit from digital document management. The question is which tool is best suited to the individual requirements of everyday office life.

SharePoint, MS Teams and OneDrive in comparison

Microsoft offers several ways to store and manage documents with its comprehensive Microsoft 365 software solution. In the following, we present the three relevant workloads for document storage in Microsoft 365 and explain which tool is suitable for which use case.

SharePoint online: Structured digital storage

SharePoint online is a service offered by Microsoft 365 and maps the basic functionalities of an ECM (enterprise content management-system). This means that company-relevant information for employees is centrally recorded, managed and made available here. Microsoft SharePoint thus forms the technical basis for setting up an intranet. Content, knowledge and documents can be made available to employees easily and centrally. SharePoint online also offers a wide range of options for managing documents. The core functionalities of document management in SharePoint are.

Search functions & indexing of documents with metadata

Metadata refers to information that helps to store documents. Based on this information, search fields can be created to find the documents easily and quickly.

Example: 

Document type: Concept

Department: Marketing

Creator: Ted Krueger

Creation date: 12-03-2020

This information can now be used to search retrospectively without knowing the title of the document.

Document versioning

With the help of document versioning, changes to documents can be tracked and restored.

Check-in/check-out functionalities

When changes are to be made to documents, documents can be checked out so that they cannot be changed during this time. Once the change has been made, the document can be checked back in. Here again the versioning mentioned above is of advantage.

Which documents should I store in SharePoint?

SharePoint is the right tool for all information that needs to be made available to a large number of employees in a structured manner. Especially the indexing of metadata makes SharePoint the optimal helper when you want to create document structures. Storage in SharePoint enables permanent availability as well as mobile access - an important factor for working from home. Documents such as guidelines, documentation or generally applicable sales documents that affect the entire company are particularly well suited for storage in SharePoint.

The following illustration shows how structured document storage in SharePoint online can look:

Document management with SharePoint

Which documents should not be stored in SharePoint?

Short-lived documents, i.e. those that are still in the development stage and are still being worked on, are rather unsuitable for storage in SharePoint. Only when a document has reached a certain degree of maturity and no further changes are planned for the time being can it be stored and managed in SharePoint in a structured manner (with metadata).

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MS Teams: Communication and document management

As the name suggests, MS Teams focuses on communication and collaboration in teams. In chats, channels and webcam meetings, employees can easily communicate with each other digitally while exchanging and filing documents.

Which documents should be stored in MS Teams?

With the help of the tool, documents can be exchanged directly with individuals as well as shared in so-called teams. Teams are made up of people with a common interest, such as a project team or a department. MS Teams is therefore particularly suitable for storing documents that are being worked on together and are still in the development phase.

Example: The marketing team is working on a new campaign, which has not yet been published. In a team in MS Teams, you store ideas in the form of documents. Based on this information, a joint concept for the campaign is created and also stored in that team. Everyone who is in the team can access it and make changes. The advantage of this is that the employees can immediately exchange ideas digitally via the chat and meeting functions.

Which documents should not be stored in MS Teams?

General documents that should be visible to all employees. Due to the grouping in teams or in individual chats, the storage of documents with a final status does not make sense. Important: Documents cannot be stored and managed in teams using metadata structures. Teams, channels and folders are the only way to store documents in a structured manner.

Document management with Microsoft Teams

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OneDrive: Ideal for individual data storage

Like MS Teams and SharePoint, OneDrive is also part of the Office 365 family. Documents and files can be managed with the help of the tool. OneDrive is particularly well suited for the individual storage of documents - and can thus be defined as a separate storage location.

Example: After a customer appointment, a protocol must be created, which then goes back to the customer. A Word document is now created, which is edited internally. Only when the document has been completely edited and has a final status is it sent to the customer. Until then, the raw version is stored individually in a OneDrive folder at the user's site.

Which documents should be stored in OneDrive?

Documents that are worked on individually without direct exchange with several people.

Which documents should not be stored in OneDrive?

General documents that affect multiple users or even the entire company. These documents are stored, for example, in a SharePoint intranet or in a team room in MS Teams. OneDrive also offers the option of structuring documents via folders.

Document management with OneDrive

 

Conclusion

There is no way around the digital workplace anymore. With SharePoint, MS Teams and OneDrive, Microsoft 365 offers three reliable tools for document management in companies. Which one is best suited for everyday use in your company depends on various factors. SharePoint has proven itself in long-term and structured filing, while MS Teams offers support for fast, project-related data exchange. For documents that employees work on solo, on the other hand, OneDrive is most suitable.

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