Get your SharePoint information architecture sorted to enhance collaboration
Creating a SharePoint intranet with planning your information architecture is like building a house without plans. You can do it, but the flow of your house will be all over the place and you’ll find yourself missing those boring but important details like plumbing.
Information architecture, in the context of SharePoint, refers to how content and documents are laid out and saved within an Intranet system. Getting your information architecture right is critical to user adoption. A well-planned and intuitive information architecture means your Intranet will be useful and widely adopted by users, rather than an expensive investment that nobody uses.
It's not about the technology
SharePoint is a flexible tool that can store and display a wide array of content: text, images, videos, documents, lists of data, forms, social content and more. As well as what is being stored, there’s incredible flexibility in how it is stored.
This is why it’s vital to realise that the technology of SharePoint is not really the answer to your information management woes. We can help you to articulate and define your goals, and develop a plan for bringing that vision to life. When it comes to SharePoint, it’s HOW you use it that’s important.
By engaging with content owners, we get an understanding of how employees, contractors and external parties need to engage with the information – and determine if that’s different from any desired change in user behaviour. This means understanding the types of documents being stored, what metadata needs to be saved, how much multimedia content will there be, who needs to access the information, and so forth.
Understand your SharePoint information architecture building blocks
SharePoint has various tools available to organise, store and manage content. How we put these building blocks together depends very much on your organisational needs.
At the top level, there will be your Site, and Subsites which are the core visible elements of SharePoint. Depending on your organisation, Subsites might be based on business units (for example HR, IT, Finance and Marketing are common) or on specific projects. Within Subsites, there are Libraries, Lists and Folders, which have specific best-practice uses. Your Green Dot consultant can help you to define which building block to use when and to create guidelines for your employees so that the correct elements are being used.
When developing your SharePoint information architecture, we’ll help you to make sure it is logical, intuitive, and able to grow to suit changing business needs.
Get set for search
The other vital element is making sure that the appropriate metadata is being collected and created to enable easy search functionality. We can help you to create appropriate metadata fields so that when content is uploaded to the intranet, it is tagged in a way that is logical – without overwhelming users with choices. It’s about striking the balance between collecting enough metadata to allow for useful and relevant search results without having to ask users to enter data in twenty different fields.
Could your SharePoint do with a bit of help?
Green Dot is working with some of Australia’s largest organisations to help them get the most value from their technology investments, including SharePoint and Office 365. As well as getting the right technical foundations in place, we’re experts at change management, so your business can actually realise the promised benefits. To find out how we can help you, call us today on 1300 80 11 88.