Too Many SharePoint Choices? How to Narrow Them Down

When it comes to SharePoint, there are usually at least 4 or 5 ways of getting the job done. While this is cool for variety, it is bewildering for people new to the technology.  How are you supposed to know which option to choose?

Let’s use communications as an example. We need to communicate to the team! Ok cool – your options are :

  • Announcements
  • Surveys
  • Team Discussions
  • Custom Lists
  • Blogs
  • Site Newsfeed
  • Personal Newsfeed
  • Community Sites

Which one do you choose?  Work backwards from what it is you need to report on and need to achieve.  Start asking more questions.

The first obvious question would be – do you want people to be able to respond to the communication being sent out; must they be able to reply, like or rate the content?

If yes, it immediately negates Announcements because you can’t do any of that with Announcements.  You also can’t like or rate a Site Newsfeed or Survey so those are out too.  Now we’re down to these :

  • Team Discussions
  • Custom Lists
  • Blogs
  • Personal Newsfeed
  • Community Sites

Must they be able to add attachments?  If yes, all of the above can be used.  More questions please.

Must you be able to include pictures in the communications?  All of the above can do that too.  Next question.

Who needs to see the communications?  Everybody?  Then Personal Newsfeed isn’t the place because if people aren’t following you, they won’t see it. Down to four :

  • Team Discussions
  • Custom Lists
  • Blogs
  • Community Sites

Are the communications part of a greater site, or is there a portal just for comms?  If they are part of a bigger picture, you can’t use a Blog because it’s a completely different subsite.  Three options left, much better.

  • Team Discussions
  • Custom Lists
  • Community Sites

Do you need to categorize the communications and create views based on metadata? If yes, a Custom List wins hands down, (don’t forget to activate versioning and append changes to Multiple Lines of Text fields).  You can create views to only show current or open communications.

  • Custom Lists

Or, do you need to rate staff on their contributions as part of their KPI’s?  Then Community Sites are better because you can allocate reputational settings so staff can meet targets.  And Community Sites can either be embedded into your current site, or be a site on its own.

  • Community Sites

If it’s still down to two after all your questions, build one of each and see which one suits you better. There’s no hard and fast rule, do what makes you more comfortable and is the easiest for you to manage.

What this means is that it’s a good idea to understand what SharePoint can do for you out of box so you don’t end up custom dev’ing easy solutions.  And it means you need to understand what it is you are trying to achieve in your business.  If you don’t understand that, no technology is going to help you.  What do you need to report on and what do you need to manage – answer that first.

Decisions

About Veronique Palmer

Empowering people one at a time.
This entry was posted in Productivity Tips, SharePoint 2010, SharePoint 2013. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Too Many SharePoint Choices? How to Narrow Them Down

  1. Ram – no it doesn’t. Community Sites in this case are a specific feature of SharePoint 2013 that can be activated.

    Like

  2. Ram says:

    1. From the options presented, does “Community Sites” mean / include ‘team sites’, ‘project sites’ etc…?

    Like

  3. Shirley says:

    Thanks! If I have some spare time – I might get it started for you 🙂

    Like

  4. Thanks Shirley. If I can spare some time I’ll consider making it pretty. 🙂

    Like

  5. Shirley says:

    I really like the breakdown this provides! It would be helpful to see it in a flowchart. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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