Document management overview (SharePoint Server 2010)


Applies to: SharePoint Server 2010, SharePoint Foundation 2010

This article provides a high-level description of the various elements of a document management solution that is based on Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010.

In this article:

  • The elements of a document management system

  • The planning process

Document management controls the life cycle of documents in your organization — how they are created, reviewed, and published, and how they are ultimately disposed of or retained. Although the term "management" implies that information is controlled from the top of the organization, an effective document management system should reflect the culture of the organization that uses it. The tools that you use for document management should be flexible enough to enable you to tightly control a document's life cycle, if that fits your enterprise's culture and goals, but also to let you implement a more loosely structured system, if that better suits your enterprise.

The elements of a document management system

An effective document management solution specifies the following:

  • What kinds of documents and other content can be created in an organization.

  • What template to use for each kind of document.

  • What metadata to provide for each kind of document.

  • Where to store a document at each stage of its life cycle.

  • How to control access to a document at each stage of its life cycle.

  • How to move documents within the organization as team members contribute to the documents' creation, review, approval, publication, and disposition.

  • What policies to apply to documents so that document-related actions are audited, documents are retained or disposed of appropriately, and content that is important to the organization is protected.

  • Whether a document has to be converted from one format to another as it moves through the stages of its life cycle.

  • How to handle documents as corporate records, which must be retained according to legal requirements and corporate guidelines.

SharePoint Server 2010 includes features that implement all these aspects of document management. To ensure that information workers can easily take advantage of these capabilities without having to depart from their day-to-day operations and familiar tools, applications in the Microsoft Office system — such as Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Word — also include features that support each stage in a document's life cycle.

The planning process

The document management planning process consists of the following major steps:

  1. Identify document management roles   Ensure that your plans incorporate the feedback of your organization's key stakeholders, you have the best team to implement the solution, and you know who will participate in document management processes.

  2. Analyze document usage   After you identify who works on documents, determine the kinds of documents they work on and how they use them. For more information, see Identify users and analyze document usage (SharePoint Server 2010).

  3. Plan the organization of documents   You can organize documents in site collections, sites, and libraries. SharePoint Server 2010 offers a range of features to help organize and store documents, from specialized sites such as the Records Repository to loosely structured document libraries for quick document creation and collaboration. Within a library, you can further organize content into folders and subfolders. For more information, see Document library planning (SharePoint Server 2010) and Enterprise content storage planning (SharePoint Server 2010).

  4. Plan how content moves between locations   It might be necessary to move or copy a document from one site or library to another at different stages of its life cycle. For example, the publishing process might include moving a document from a staging site to a public Internet site. For more information, see "Plan the flow of content" in Document library planning (SharePoint Server 2010).

  5. Plan content types   Use content types to organize information about documents, such as metadata, document templates, policies, and workflow processes. This is an important step to help you organize your documents and enforce consistency across your organization. For more information, see Content type and workflow planning (SharePoint Server 2010).

  6. Plan workflows   When you plan workflows for your organization, you can control and track how documents move from one team member to another as each participant collaborates in a document's life cycle. SharePoint Server 2010 includes workflows for common team tasks such as reviewing and approving documents. SharePoint Server 2010 also supports creating and installing custom workflows. For more information, see Content type and workflow planning (SharePoint Server 2010).

  7. Plan content control   You can plan the appropriate degree of control based on content type or storage location. For example, you might require that documents in a particular library be checked out before they can be edited. For more information, see Versioning, content approval, and check-out planning (SharePoint Server 2010).

  8. Plan policies   For each content type, plan information management policies to ensure that documents are properly audited, retained, labeled, and otherwise handled according to your organization's institutional and legal requirements. SharePoint Server 2010 includes policies that implement auditing, document retention, labeling, and bar codes (to ensure that printed content can be correlated with corresponding electronic versions). For more information, see Information management policy planning (SharePoint Server 2010).

See Also

Other Resources

Resource Center: Enterprise Content Management in SharePoint Server 2010