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SharePoint: the advanced document management system that saves you time

24 Aug, 2022

How long does it take you, on average, to find the documents you require each day? According to research, an employee may spend as much as 3.6 hours per day (!) looking for and gathering information. This obviously does not support productivity. But what to expect when documents are stored in local drives and in the cloud? Many organizations have a wealth of knowledge, but those who need to work with it cannot find the information or do not have access to it. SharePoint as a document management system (DMS), including advanced search and global navigation, helps you in making it simple to quickly find your documents.

What is a document management system?

Document management is about controlling a document’s life cycle, from creation to disposal or archiving. The creation of a policy is the first step in the foundation of document management. Furthermore, it is necessary to establish agreements and rules about how to manage access, how to work with metadata, how to collaborate and what documents to store and where. And for that to work out properly, a supporting and flexible system with these elements is essential. Once this is in place, a DMS will enable you to quickly locate all information that is available on a specific topic, so you can get on with your work.

The importance of search in your DMS

The average time spent on finding the right information highlights the value of search support in your DMS. Therefore, SharePoint offers you advanced search and global navigation.

Advanced search: a B2C search experience for B2B

We have all seen it on B2C web shops: filtering by size, color, model, and brand refines your options and allows you to find what you are looking for faster. You can also apply this in a B2B environment. If you want to create a more targeted query you can use advanced search to specify the type of document (Word, Excel, or PowerPoint), language, author, or document name. We even optimized this type of search for a technical service provider that specializes in security and safety solutions. All their customers and suppliers have access to the company’s instructions and manuals.

For this so-called extranet, we focused on enhancing the search capabilities by adding metadata to the files.- As a result, it became easier for customers and suppliers to locate the right manual faster. A preview of the document is now available, and it is possible to download the instruction directly from the search results thanks to the search tool’s clear information display. The look and feel is similar to the search fields found at B2C websites. This is how we bring the B2C search experience to B2B.

Unlock rich content with global navigation

With global navigation, you can provide SharePoint users a consistent set of navigational links from a SharePoint site that serves as an information hub. This functionality helps linking to popular sources like corporate policies, business-related apps, and relevant content for specific audiences. Thanks to global navigation, users can navigate to interesting resources regardless of which site in SharePoint they are on. This eliminates the need to switch back and forth between sites.

One of our customers, an international technical service provider that specializes in energy solutions, works with over 10,000 SharePoint sites for their projects. To maintain control over all of these projects, a clearly structured environment was required.

So, they started using SharePoint as their DMS. A project’s associated documents, photos, and drawings were all placed into a fixed template and global navigation categorized all of these sites into a tree view. The advantage? If you used the standard search option there would still be a ton of search results. Global navigation allows for a more organized overview of the appropriate project, client, or other relevant information.

Avoid time-consuming search with SharePoint as your DMS

A document management system is essential for every organization dealing with (lots of) documents. The management of these files start with a document management policy and guidelines, however a DMS is the next step to get in control over the document’s lifecycle. It helps employees saving time finding the right information and to optimally use all the information available in the organization. This is made even easier with the advanced search and global navigation functionalities, which include metadata.

A DMS also makes working remotely or elsewhere possible. It gives people access to the information they need to do their job and makes them collaborate more effectively.

Are you looking for these results as well? You can learn more about defining the right strategy in our whitepaper ‘The strategy towards hybrid working’.


This is part 3 of a series of blogs about the possibilities of SharePoint. Also read the blog about Migration to SharePoint Online: 8 do’s en don'ts.

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