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SharePoint is not only for documents


I am somewhat troubled to still in 2016, hear even IT-consultants claim that SharePoint is for documents. It is fascinating that after 15 years it is still not used as it should by many.

I gave a speech about the road to failure for a SharePoint project, let me give you 6 statements of how a SharePoint project can go wrong.

  • Claim implementing SharePoint is an IT-project, it is a business-project delivered with IT. Don’t allow IT-department or consultants lead the project!
  • Everything in the first implementation, I know that SharePoint is powerful. Don’t throw all features in, it will kill user adoption.
  • Support from management is crucial to success. If the management don’t support implementing SharePoint, simply don’t do it!
  • Lack of knowledge what SharePoint is and best used. I have seen SharePoint that are coded to death and not user friendly.
  • Dump files without a plan in SharePoint, it can easily become an informational graveyard. Do invest time and resources into governance and archiving.
  • See SharePoint as a replacement for a fileserver and use it for purely documents. Use lists to avoid Excel, use pages to gather information.

Too many installations of SharePoint is purely about storing and syncing documents. Last week I wrote a post about the new sync client, In that post I stated try to avoid syncing files. If you see SharePoint as purely a storage system you are not professional. It is like driving an 18-wheeler truck on the highway only on the first gear. You simply don’t utilize all  the power of the system. SharePoint is not only for documents, you should use it for lists that can be converted from Excel.

Lists in SharePoint is really what document libraries are as well, it is a list of links to the file you access via the web server from the database. Oh, you did not know that SharePoint stores everything in a database? Even the documents are stored in the SQL database! For users that are new to SharePoint I tell them it is a web-based Excel view of lists and libraries. Columsn and rows like you have in Excel. Even the types of columns are familiar for Excel-users. What types of list can you create in SharePoint? On top of this post you see most of the standard lists that are available in SharePoint. There are so many options for creating lists, the most open one is custom list. The custom list contains of one column(title as free-text single line)

The easiest path to convert Excel lists to SharePoint is to create the list type Import Spreadsheet. The Excel file has to be a table with column names. The challenge with an Excel file is if several people are going to edit the file at the same time. They have to share custody of the file, If you store the data in SharePoint you avoid this problem. Any list in SharePoint can be opened in Excel, then you can use Excel what it is good for.

Start using lists in SharePoint, now during the summer you may have some time to work on testing. If you do want any guidance on SharePoint list give us a call at +46 8 5000 3170(we are at the office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CEST) or drop us an email.

Next weeks post is about SharePoint pages, I will show you how to display subsets of libraries, lists and other webparts on one page in SharePoint.