The File Share Problem
We’ve got a current customer that is facing a common problem as their file share grows. Nobody follows a naming convention, versioning is done with random bits of information like the date or month mixed into the document name, and files that may belong in more than one place are impossible to find. This is one of the perfect situations to leverage SharePoint metadata for files and document libraries.
The SharePoint Solution
Tagging documents with metadata is similar to tagging your friends in a Facebook photo. SharePoint allows you to manage what data you would like to be taggable to an uploaded document or even a document library. Rather than organizing your files into folders, which could get layers deep with no easy way to determine where a document current exists or should exists, leveraging SharePoint metadata would allow you to store your documents with a more linear approach. Thus, utilizing search and filter features that would use the selected metadata to find the documents you are looking for.
Our current customer has a need for a document to belong to a few separate areas. In their current file storage solution, this document can only live in one of those areas, and whomever is looking for it either must know this location or search through multiple areas until they find it. SharePoint’s metadata allows them to tag this document with multiple tags, making this document far easier to find. This also solves a concurrency problem, the document only lives once on the site as well.
Document versioning is another sore spot that SharePoint solves for this current customer. Rather than having users making versioned copies of files and inevitably failing to adhere to a naming convention, SharePoint takes care of all versioning issues providing a clean way to retrieve older versions of the documents in the library.
For this customer SharePoint’s document library functionality and metadata solution was a perfect solution to their needs.