For the management of project documents, it is common practice to manage a folder structure with Windows Explorer. Here, for example, a folder is created for each ongoing project and a subfolder for each area within the project (e.g. material, personnel, production, or for the individual manufacturing steps of a product). Files related to the project are then stored in the appropriate subfolders.
In the past, such a structure was provided either locally or on a company server/network drive in order to be accessible to all parties involved.
The challenge here is that there can only ever be one valid, current version of a file and that it must always be clear to everyone involved where it can be found. File storage on employee desktops is not very suitable for this. A network drive, on the other hand, is usually not accessible to external employees. And even finding information in a simple folder structure can be difficult. It is possible to search for content, but not, for example, across projects for all files that deal with the subject of “personnel”.
This can be remedied by no longer storing files on the desktop or a local server, but on Microsoft SharePoint in a document library. And if you use OneDrive for Business, the document storage is also offline and available to authorized external users at all times. A searchability of the stored documents according to certain criteria such as project area or categories still leaves a lot to be desired.
The solution here is to replicate the usual folder structure, as you know it from a network drive, within the SharePoint environment. It is then possible to use the document storage in the file system as before, but all content is regularly synchronized with the central SharePoint library. A project structure with the desired subfolders is created automatically, including indexing and categorization of the subfolders. When files are stored in one of these project folders and subfolders, they inherit all associated categorizations and attributes and are thus automatically tagged. All files can then be filtered at any time, for example according to the “Personnel” area, across all projects.
As soon as a new project is created on SharePoint, folders are automatically set up in the specified structure, which is the same for all projects.
The basic requirement for such a solution is already given by SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online. The design for the automatic creation of a specified folder structure, including indexing of the files uploaded therein, is carried out by a technical configuration of your SharePoint system. We would be happy to advise you and configure your system environment. Get in touch with us if you are interested!