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Implementing Enterprise Content Management Using Microsoft SharePoint™

In Brief: Daily, we are bombarded with a growing amount of free-form information—unstructured content that, while important, is not nearly as useful or accessible as information catalogued or organized by such tools as enterprise resource planning systems or workflow applications. In fact, these methods and technologies, typically called Enterprise Content Management (ECM), are what enable today's information managers to simplify information management, collaboration, and business process automation. By taking better control of their information, organizations are able to make it more accessible and usable, helping them to better comply with laws and regulations, improve efficiencies, and strategically move forward. By taking better control of their information, organizations are able to make it more accessible and usable, helping them to better comply with laws and regulations, improve efficiencies, and strategically move forward.

Unstructured content is not nearly as useful as information organized by tools such as enterprise resource planning systems or workflow applications.

This important literature review introduces information managers to Enterprise Content Management as a strategic tool and specifically demonstrates how to implement and use one of those tools—Microsoft SharePoint™—to reach specific information-related goals.

While there is no single correct path to implementing an ECM, most successful strategies include a cost/benefits analysis, requirements planning, recommended practices review, and set of requirements guidelines. With the results in hand, the information managers for small to medium, private sector, global manufacturing companies can then effectively choose an ECM tool, such as SharePoint™, to begin streamlining business processes, improving communications, enhancing collaboration, and more efficiently managing documents and web content.

Among SharePoint's many advantages, include: integration with Microsoft Office 2007 to help create, store, retrieve, edit, and secure content; facilitating collaboration by distributing information, data, and documents; and support for managing records, policy compliance, retention, access control, and corporate information security. Additionally, SharePoint™ helps users design, deploy, and manage Web sites and automates business processes through Workflow and Business Process Management. To successfully implement SharePoint™, information managers should follow a five-step preparation plan:

  1. Determine user needs and map those needs to features in the SharePoint sites. Be sure to consider client, server, and line-of-business integration, add-on solutions, features, and applications.
  2. Determine number of users and user types, including those who will use SharePoint, how they will interact with it, and which features they will use, such as communication, collaboration, document storage, and search.
  3. Plan for website structure and publishing. The ability to predictably locate the site and the content needed within it is key to its success.
  4. Plan for content by structuring the site with lists, libraries, content types, and workflows, making it easier for users to find, contribute to, and work with that content.
  5. Plan for integration with Microsoft Office. Choose which functionality to implement to facilitate collaboration between Calendars, Tasks, Contact lists, and libraries.

References

  • Bates, S. and Smith, T. (2007). SharePoint 2007 User's Guide: Learning Microsoft's Collaboration and Productivity Platform. New York: Springer-Verlag, Inc.
  • Bishop, D. (2007). Enterprise Content Management with Microsoft SharePoint. Retrieved November 9, 2007, from ECM Connection.
  • Blair, B. (2004). An Enterprise Content Management Primer. Information Management Journal, Vol. 38 Issue 5, p. 64-66. Retrieved October 24, 2007, from EbscoHost: Academic Search Premier.
  • Londer, O., English, B., Bleeker, T., and Coventry, P. (2007). Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Step by Step. Washington: Microsoft Press.
  • Microsoft. (2007a). Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Evaluation Guide. Retrieved November 2, 2007, from Microsoft website.
  • Microsoft. (2007b). Planning and architecture for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 technology. Retrieved November 2, 2007, from Microsoft TechNet.
AIM alumna Dana Fowler

Research Paper Author: Dana Fowler—2008 AIM Graduate, Programmer/Database Administrator, Key Knife, Inc.—2008 AIM Graduate

Abstract: Enterprise Content Management (ECM) refers to technologies used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes (Duhon, 2005a). Microsoft SharePointTM provides the ability to create, publish, and manage content (Microsoft, 2007a). Through analysis of twenty-five sources published between 2002 and 2007, this literature review provides an introduction to SharePointTM and describes its role as a specific selected ECM in order to assist information managers in the implementation of ECM.

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