Leveraging SharePoint for Information Management

January 22, 2024

Leveraging SharePoint for Information Management

Chances are, your organization already has Microsoft 365, and it’s actively used by most knowledge workers. With more than 345 million seats worldwide, Microsoft 365 is deployed at 80% of Fortune 500 companies and millions of other organizations from high-tech to construction to government agencies.

Those seats aren’t free, however, and all of those subscription costs mean your organization is already heavily investing in the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, whether or not you’re fully utilizing the full range of Information Management capabilities. While Outlook, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel might be the headliners that drove your purchase decision for Microsoft 365, you also have access to SharePoint and Microsoft Teams.

Savvy IT leaders realize this and are leaning into the Microsoft 365 ecosystem and basing their Information Management strategies around SharePoint for a key few reasons.

Maximize ongoing, existing investments

If your organization is using Microsoft 365, you’re already paying for SharePoint. It’s included with every standard bundle they offer. So why not use it to its full potential?

SharePoint’s status as an incumbent, included, and trusted product has inspired businesses of all shapes and sizes to leverage that asset for Information Management. That’s why nearly 70% of businesses use it for document collaboration. With such a powerful, reliable solution already in-house, it’s simply smart business to center your Information Management strategy around SharePoint in most cases.

For example, Allianz uses SharePoint DMS sites, which are compliant digital archiving sites. “DMS sites come with an extended set of metadata that allows users to classify the uploaded files or emails with some extensions that describe the content of the file,” said Julia Stettner, M365 Governance Service Manager, leaders in Allianz Technologies. “We have an extended capability for retention and records. Management and users really benefit from the automatic retention labeling on those SharePoint DMS sites.”

A simplified technology stack

Microsoft 365 and SharePoint certainly aren’t the only options when it comes to Information Management. There are scores of third-party solutions tackling these issues from various angles, often with rich feature sets and capabilities. But all of these offerings can’t compete with SharePoint on one key point—they’re going to add yet another layer to your technology stack.

As you know, introducing another vendor and product line to your IT environment comes with lots of considerations and complications. From security to credentialing to training and support, it’s one more burden for your already overworked IT department staff, not to mention all the hassle of RFPs, finance approving purchase orders, and other administrative overhead.

With SharePoint already in the fold, IT departments tasked with developing and deploying Information Management capabilities can build on a familiar foundation that’s already been fully vetted and most likely paid for. And unlike some startups in the Information Management space, there are no worries that Microsoft will disappear or pivot away from one of its core product lines and solution suites.

A familiar user experience

Expecting end users to learn how to use a completely new product and then use it consistently is rarely a recipe for success, especially when end users see limited value in their own daily lives for doing so. Information Management initiatives do pay dividends for end users down the line, but initially, the benefits may seem vague and distant, further hampering broad adoption and usage. Therefore it’s imperative that IT reduces any barriers that may hinder widespread uptake and the end-user experience is an often overlooked area.

Because SharePoint is already part of the Microsoft 365 Suite that your colleagues are already using daily, it’s a much shorter learning curve for these individuals to begin engaging with a SharePoint-based solution. And IT teams have a secret weapon they can deploy to make it even easier and more straightforward for end users by letting them interact with SharePoint directly from within Outlook.

There is a significant difference between a process that takes three seconds to archive a project document and a process that takes 30 seconds for the same task,” suggests Jürgen Kaiser, Project Manager at Klotz.

With harmon.ie, a Microsoft-certified plug-in for Outlook, the vast majority of end users won’t ever have to use SharePoint directly, instead performing most or all of their SharePoint-related tasks from within Outlook. End users can drag and drop email messages and attachments directly into the appropriate folder on SharePoint and—if configured accordingly—be prompted to enter any required or optional metadata during that workflow.

harmon.ie also makes it just as easy to send items saved on SharePoint as attachments or as secure, permission-based links—which cuts down on version control issues—all without ever leaving Outlook. They can just search or browse SharePoint from the harmon.ie panel within Outlook and select the files they want to share.

These UX shortcuts may seem small, but they make a huge impact for end users who are sharing and saving files multiple times per day. This simplified workflow in a familiar application significantly boosts adoption and compliance while also making life easier for IT.

Our users usually don’t know they are using SharePoint,” said Mike Miller, Assistant Director of the Missouri Department of Transportation Information Systems. “All they know is harmon.ie."

Ready to see how harmon.ie can take your SharePoint-based Information Management experience to the next level? Download a free trial today or check out some of our case studies to see how other organizations have made the leap.

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