Setup a SharePoint “Power User” group – Ensure at the project outset a Power User or Super User group is identified and trained to own data and team sites across your Intranet and Document Portal. This reduces the burden on IT staff and users will automatically speak to Power Users to ask for advice and help. It can also be beneficial in some circumstances for these Power Users to setup a steering committee with other business teams to ensure you Intranet is delivering the best value for money.
2) Enable “Require documents to be checked out before they can be edited?” on any document library where multiple users might make changes. If you have multiple staff access the same documents on a daily basis, information can be overwritten and some changes lost. By ensuring “Require document to be checked out” is enabled user will only be able to edit documents one at a time. This will stop data getting overwritten. Also ensure that the column “Checked out to” is displayed in the default view. If you enable this to allow a quick glance to see who has checked out the document
3) Versioning – at the Information Architecture (IA) stage decide if this will be enabled and if draft versioning will be enabled. To reduce the burden on IT teams, consider how your Power Users can override a document checked out status with additional permissions.
4) Consider how users will search and find information – To obtain full buy-in from users, your SharePoint intranet needs to be simple, easy to find information and quick to respond. Setup views with specific filters and grouping of data. This allows information to be returned quicker if you use large amounts of data and documentation.
5) Use Content types – Again define Content Types and Site Metadata at the IA stage. Taking time to define this at the start of the project will reap benefits after go-live.
6) Search – SharePoint search is an excellent tool in any Intranet. Set this up correctly at the start and it will be an invaluable tool. By ensuring Metadata and Content Types have been correctly identified at the IA stage of your project, your SharePoint farm will deliver a powerful tool out of the box.
7) Branding – If your SharePoint farm will be for internal use only, then we at MindPoint recommend light branding and not spending a significant part of your investment customising every part of the User Interface. By all means add company logos, fonts and corporate colours where applicable but keep it simple!
8) Backup of data – Check by restoring. Ensure you have a working backup plan for your SharePoint farm. This should include your servers as well as SQL server data. However a backup is only as good as a tested restore. So restore your SharePoint farm in a separate environment and ensure it performs as expected. You should make sure you update your Disaster Recovery plan with these details.
9) Production farm & small test farm – Deploy solutions / development on test farm before production. Having a Test & Development farm allows custom farm solutions and developments to be installed and tested away from your Production environment. This will enable users and IT teams to check the new solution behaves as expected and more importantly can be retracted correctly.
10) Create target audiences – To communicate information effectively in your Intranet, Audience Targeting allows different messages to be communicated to various staff teams. For example, if you have a number of Remote Users, an HR team could inform these staff of import onsite events they will need to attend. Correspondingly remote staff would not need to know information that only affects onsite workers.
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