SharePoint is one of the most widespread and mature document management systems. When we discuss “collaboration,” what often comes to mind is the sharing of a document for revision and approval. This certainly does occur on the enterprise level, but the needs of business go far beyond this capability: often there is a complex workflow of interaction and triggers between people with different responsibilities and distributed among different departments. When these processes are left as informal, there are often lags in productivity cause by confusion, limited employee bandwidth, and resistance to the process. The advantage of SharePoint – and what makes it one of the top choices for enterprise – is the ability to automate processes so that they are codified in the very way in which personnel interact with documents. This is largely thanks to SharePoint’s built-in workflow capabilities and PowerShell administrator commands. Let us look at the example of a firm that has the requirement to send a periodic report to a third-party.
- The document may require the approval of several different boards, each made up of an approved collection of members (who could even have assigned emergency delegates – just to give a more realistic sense of the complications involved).
- These boards may be assembled from quality assurance, supply chain, finance, and any number of disparate groups.
- Documents contain metadata that can signal when each board has signed off.
- Email alerts can notify all the stakeholders at each point in the approval process.
- When a user attempts to check in the document, its current state can be checked against whether or not it is on the list of approvers.
- When all criteria have been met, the document can be safely checked in for final release, and can even be distributed to any number of key recipients or placed in a special repository.
The possibilities are nearly endless and can be adapted to all of the varied needs of a business.