10 Reasons to Avoid Folders in SharePoint

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Maximize your SharePoint investment and find out why you need to avoid folders and start leveraging the Enterprise Content Management features in SharePoint. This presentation outlines the shortcomings of folders and explore such alternatives as Custom Columns, Views, Key Filters, Managed Metadata, Content Type, and Document Set.

View a recording of the session here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tDmGhIljmQ

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10 Reasons to Avoid Folders in SharePoint

  1. 1. Bobby Chang @bobbyschang
  2. 2. 2 | @bobbyschang | linkedin.com/in/bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Contact Info • slideshare.net/bobbyschang • linkedin.com/in/bobbyschang • @bobbyschang • bobbyschang.com Bobby Chang SharePoint Consultant at Planet Technologies
  3. 3. 3 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com
  4. 4. 4 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com
  5. 5. 5 | @bobbyschang | linkedin.com/in/bchang | bobbyschang.com
  6. 6. 6 | @bobbyschang | linkedin.com/in/bchang | bobbyschang.com Provide Value to Your End Users Photo Credit – Matthew Keagle & Creative Commons
  7. 7. 7 | @bobbyschang | linkedin.com/in/bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com • SharePoint appends all folders into URL • URL encoding applies, e.g.: Space = %20 Team Alpha Site Project Document Library Project SOW Proposal Draft Copies from Team My Personal Original Copies I Very Much like Subfolders http://mycompany.com/sites/TeamAlpha/ProjectDocuments/Project%20SOW/Proposal/Draft%20Copiesfrom%20Team… /MyPersonal%20Original%20Copies/I%20Very%20Much%20Like%20Subfolders/My%20Favorite%20Document.docx My Favorite Document.docx
  8. 8. 8 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Reason # 1
  9. 9. 9 | @bobbyschang | linkedin.com/in/bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com • Requires drilling down to sub-folders • Rigid structure leads to difficulty in finding content • Can be inefficient during file upload Number of clicks 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  10. 10. 10 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Reason # 2
  11. 11. 11 | @bobbyschang | linkedin.com/in/bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com • Every file HAS to belong to a folder • Cannot account for file that falls into multiple categories Company A Company B Document for Company A & B Merger
  12. 12. 12 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Reason # 3
  13. 13. 13 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Your links don’t work!! SharePoint is broken I HATE SharePoint!!!
  14. 14. 14 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com SharePoint 2016
  15. 15. 15 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Photo Credit – Julie de Waroquier
  16. 16. 16 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Reason # 4
  17. 17. 17 | @bobbyschang | linkedin.com/in/bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com • Folder is directly correlated with URLs – Deep Folder Structure = Long URL • System Constraint – MS Office restriction of 259 characters max for URL links – User may not be able to save, open, or update the files
  18. 18. 18 | @bobbyschang | linkedin.com/in/bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com • Renaming folder may result in Threshold Error • Generally occurs when total number of files in all sub-folders are greater than 5,000 files
  19. 19. 19 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Solution
  20. 20. 20 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Picture listening to a song in iTunes What do you see?
  21. 21. 21 | @bobbyschang | linkedin.com/in/bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com 1. Linear folder structure 2. Inability to account for multiple categories 3. Risk in broken links upon document move 4. Higher chance of running into error
  22. 22. 22 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Demo
  23. 23. 23 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Reason # 5
  24. 24. You’re at the mercy of the person who created the folder structure • Folder presents only one way of grouping info • Users have different preference to consume info • Provides for a taxonomy challenge
  25. 25. 25 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Region > Year > Project Phase > Document Category vs. Year > Document Category > Region > Project Phase
  26. 26. 26 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Demo
  27. 27. 27 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Demo
  28. 28. 28 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Reason # 6
  29. 29. 29 | @bobbyschang | linkedin.com/in/bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com • Synonyms are typically appended • E.g.: “Status / Progress Report / Project Team Update” • Folder names can’t contain special characters (e.g.: /) • Adding Synonym Folder Name Change URL Change
  30. 30. 30 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Demo
  31. 31. 31 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Reason # 7
  32. 32. ”Is she changing our spectacularly designed folder structure?” • Contributors have too much control – Create, Delete, or Move folders – Rename folders • Folder structure could be altered by team members
  33. 33. 33 | @bobbyschang | linkedin.com/in/bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com • With folders, contributors have free reign over taxonomy management • Reserve capability for selective individuals – i.e.: Content Manager or Site Manager • Avoid the Wild Wild West scenario
  34. 34. 34 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Demo
  35. 35. 35 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Reason # 8
  36. 36. 36 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Demo
  37. 37. 37 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Demo
  38. 38. 38 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Reason # 9
  39. 39. 39 | @bobbyschang | linkedin.com/in/bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com 2012 Southeast Project Status Weekly Status Reports Team A M A N U A L C O P Y P R O C E S S 2012 Status ProjectReports WeeklyProjectStatus Southeast 2012 Project Status Weekly Status Reports 2012 Status Reports Team B Team C Team D Inconsistent
  40. 40. 40 | @bobbyschang | linkedin.com/in/bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com • Foundation of SharePoint Content Management • Even if you’re not aware of Content Type, you most likely have already interacted with it • Provide standardization: • Consistent set of tags or metadata • Ability to attach standard document template • Associate automated business workflow process
  41. 41. 41 | @bobbyschang | linkedin.com/in/bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Weekly Status Reports Content Type Team A Team B Team C Team D A U T O M A T E D
  42. 42. 42 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Demo
  43. 43. 43 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Reason # 10
  44. 44. 44 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Demo
  45. 45. 45 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com No. NEVER
  46. 46. 46 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com
  47. 47. 47 | @bobbyschang | linkedin.com/in/bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com • People are comfortable with folders • Metadata is a Huge Mind Shift – Expect Resistance & Initial Uphill Battle – Requires Continuous Education and Training Nice to meet you Meta data
  48. 48. 48 | @bobbyschang | linkedin.com/in/bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com • Permissions can be set at the folder level • Documents residing in a folder would inherit the permissions of that folder • Fantastic for complex permission requirements within a single repository
  49. 49. 49 | @bobbyschang | linkedin.com/in/bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com 1. Document Sync 2. Drag and Drop Feature 3. Open with Explorer What do they have in common?
  50. 50. 50 | @bobbyschang | linkedin.com/in/bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Where do I tag?? Just uploaded TONS of files
  51. 51. 51 | @bobbyschang | linkedin.com/in/bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com • Content Type unsupported in Datasheet/Quick Edit • In SharePoint 2010: – Managed Metadata unsupported in Datasheet View – Content Type unsupported in Inline Editing
  52. 52. 52 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com
  53. 53. 53 | @bobbyschang | linkedin.com/in/bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com • Combine Folders with Metadata • Utilize “Common Default Values” – Metadata value can be automatically assigned – Each folder can have different default values • Create “Without Folders” SharePoint View – Hides folder structure when displaying documents – Eliminates hierarchy issue when browsing
  54. 54. 54 | @bobbyschang | linkedin.com/in/bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com • Different options for different audience • Display Folder View for Contributors – More efficient for upload – Auto-assigns tags via Common Default Values
  55. 55. 55 | @bobbyschang | linkedin.com/in/bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com • Display Non-Folder View for Visitors – Removes reliance on navigating by folders – Leverages power of metadata
  56. 56. 56 | @bobbyschang | bobbyschang.com Should I NEVER use folder? No. Not necessarily. But Folder should be the Exception NOT the Rule
  57. 57. linkedin.com/in/bobbyschang bobbyschang.com @bobbyschang Questions? Feel Free to Contact Me Bobby Chang twitter.com/bobbyschang slideshare.net/bobbyschang

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