A guide to understanding the pros and cons of using SharePoint as an LMS.
Almost every organization is under the pressure of some type of compliance training and that reflects why companies put together standard operating procedures to maintain processes that will ensure services and/or products are delivered consistently every time. Setting up a system to manage standard operating procedures is essential and the solutions SharePoint provides is invaluable.
The Brandon Hall Group recently published a 2014 report on why compliance training is so critical to business. What they found is that companies ranked compliance second behind products and services for overall business strategy, many had to demonstrate compliance to an external agency, and compliance effects a large portion of their organization. Here’s the problem…less than half of those in the study felt prepared for a compliance audit. This is not good news. But, fortunately there is a solution with SharePoint and in the following blog, we’ll explain in further detail how you can feel better prepared for such circumstances.
Choosing a library vs. site
First things first, you’ll need to decide how you will organize your standard operating procedures. SharePoint reigns supreme as a content management tool but there are a few ways you can go about organizing your content. The most important thing to consider is content findability. When someone comes to your SharePoint HR Portal, they should find what they expect and they should find it with a minimum of clicks. So, the question is should you store SOPs in a library or site?
Libraries are primarily a tool of document management. Unlike folders, libraries support metadata for search, workflows, versioning, and the implementation of managed processes. Sites, on the other hand, are a tool of information management. Sites are robust and offer the ability to present documents in a broader context – links, calendar, blog. Some organizations found that depending on the situation, their site wasn’t being utilized to its fullest and the library was the only feature being used. Something to consider - a well-defined library looks much better than an unused team site.
If you choose to move forward and structure an SOP library, the best approach is to get rid of the Shared Documents library which tends to become a “junk drawer.” Don’t ask where to put it. Ask, where am I going to find it. Think about how you access your documents, and then build libraries around that.
The next step after creating a library is to distinguish how much control is needed. Who should have access to the content, add or change content, and with what restrictions?
Make sure standard operating procedures are findable with metadata
Metadata allows for library configuration that enforces consistent document classification which in turn helps improve the user’s search results. If you have a very large amount of SOPs, than metadata navigation is a tool you’ll want to get familiar with.
When metadata navigation is configured for a list or library, a tree control on the left-hand side of the page displays a hierarchy of both folders and managed metadata terms that can be used to filter the view of items in the list or library to create dynamic displays of content.
Setting up metadata navigation
1. Go to the list or library for which you want to configure metadata navigation.
2. Click the List or Library tab of the ribbon, and then click List Settings or Library Settings.
3. Under General Settings, click Metadata navigation settings. In the Configure Navigation Hierarchies section, select the field or fields that you want to display in the navigation hierarchy and then click Add.
4. By default, the navigation tree displays folders. If you do not want folders to display, select Folders and then click Remove.
5. In the Configure Key Filters section, select the fields that you want to add as Key Filters, and then click Add.
6. In the Configure automatic column indexing for this list, specify whether you want to create indexes automatically on this list. This improves the performance of the queries that users perform when they use the navigation tree and Key Filter columns that you specified. It is recommended that you select the option automatically manage column indices on this list.
7. Click OK.
Cover all your bases with SharePoint workflows
With standard operating procedures, it is imperative that there is structure from how the document is created, edited, finalized and approved. Workflows in SharePoint are a great tool to automate movement of documents or items through a sequence of actions or tasks that are related to a business process. This can happen on a document or library level.
Types of workflows:
Adding a workflow:
Keep all standard operating procedure records with auditing and version control
According to the previously mentioned Brandon Hall Group study, many organizations must demonstrate compliance to an outside agency. SharePoint makes it easy with auditing and version control.
Now that we’ve added metadata and workflows to your SOP library, now it’s time to set versioning.
SOP training is crucial because not only is it the backbone of the organization but it also becomes the living, breathing foundation that evolves with the organization. Add to the fact that about 78 percent of companies employ SharePoint, wouldn’t it make sense to utilize its supreme content management capabilities for your standard operating procedures? Content management, advanced search capabilities, workflows, versioning and auditing are just a click away. See how SharePoint can cover all your compliance needs to make your job easier.