Businesses are becoming increasingly reliant on data. IDC forecasts the global data sphere to reach 175 zettabytes. That’s a lot of data for the business community to handle, considering that data management is already a big challenge for many enterprises today. One of the biggest pain points is organizing and managing enterprise content, such as documents, videos, images, emails, and web material. This is where an enterprise content management system (CMS) comes in handy. Let’s talk about how you can use Microsoft SharePoint as a powerful CMS solution. 

What Is a Content Management System?

Before we get to SharePoint, let’s get the basics out of the way. What is enterprise content, and what is a CMS? 

Enterprise content is a general term for any media that circulates within an organization. The media could be in any format, from documents and video to images. This includes shared emails, memos, training videos, reports, workflow material, and web posts. The content is sometimes created by multiple contributors and should be readily accessible to those who need it. This is what makes content management so challenging. 

A CMS is a software or service that enables users to create, modify, manage, publish, share, and store content on a network platform—in this case, a corporate intranet or site. The CMS handles all the technical processes, such as file system management in the background, leaving the forward-facing part to the user. 

CMS solutions come with all sorts of bells and whistles. But a good CMS must provide the following basic capabilities: 

  • Content creation 
  • Content management 
  • Content publishing 
  • Content discovery and retrieval 

Content management is not to be confused with document management. A document management system creates, tracks, and stores structured documents such as Word, PDF, and Excel files. A CMS software goes well beyond document management. It also handles unstructured data and multimedia assets. In fact, a document manager is just a small part of a CMS. 

What is SharePoint Online CMS?

SharePoint is a powerful web-based collaboration tool developed by Microsoft. It allows organizations to develop versatile intranet sites where users can create, view, organize, and manage information. SharePoint also offers Communication and Team Site Templates to meet today’s endless realm of collaboration and publishing opportunities. SharePoint Online is the cloud version of the on-prem SharePoint server. It runs on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. 

SharePoint sites are designed for teams to share internal organizational information such as news and reports in well-structured, visually appealing formats. All this information is organized and managed by SharePoint Online CMS. 

The SharePoint CMS is what’s known as a headless CMS. This is because the content repository is separate from the content display or interface. The disjointed structure means that users do not require any technical knowledge about the CMS to make it work. Interacting with the CMS feels seamless without worrying about what’s happening in the background. 

SharePoint Content Management System Features

SharePoint CMS packs several useful and unique content management features. Here is a list of some of the features that set SharePoint CMS apart: 

Content Organizer

Content Organizer enables content authors to automatically route content to its location. The author sets custom routing rules in the Drop Off libraries to make this happen. The Content Organizer also screens and monitors submissions to avoid double submissions, content duplications, or any other errors on the end-user side. 

Asset Library

This is a specially modified library where users can manage various media assets such as videos, images, and audio. Unlike a regular doc library, the Asset Library has more metadata features, allowing for quick browsing and searching. 

Managed Metadata Service

Metadata is any information describing a piece of data, such as timestamps, author, file attributes, and origin. The Managed Metadata Service enables users to apply formal and informal metadata to content. Doing this from a central location drastically simplifies file search and recognition. It also helps to create contextual views or automate business processes by leveraging Power Apps. 

Shared Content Types

This enables users to share content types across sites. The feature allows users to define different documents and columns into a template deployed against libraries and lists, which can then be shared across site collections. For example, you can standardize assets such as announcements, invoices and expenses using a defined metadata structure to ensure that key details are included such as name, department, etc. 

Records Management

Records management is traditionally handled in a record centre. But with SharePoint CMS, this can be done using a built-in library. Admins can declare any SharePoint document as a record and apply various protection rights to it. This feature comes in handy for organizations keen on record retention and protection. 

Integration with Microsoft 365 Services

SharePoint seamlessly integrates with other Microsoft 365 apps and services such as Outlook, OneDrive, Teams and Stream. Users can modify email attachments, OneDrive files, and Teams documents and sync the updates with SharePoint content in real time. 

How To Use SharePoint Online CMS?

SharePoint Online CMS manages content on a SharePoint site. This could be web, work, or blog content. So, to take advantage of SharePoint’s CMS software, you must be using SharePoint Online and its sites. A SharePoint Online license starts at CAD $6.4/user/month; this basic package is ideal for small and mid-sized enterprises. You’ll need the SharePoint Online Plan 2 or Office 365 E3 licence to enjoy all of SharePoint’s features and capabilities. 

Can You Use SharePoint to Create a Public-Facing Website?

No. You can’t use SharePoint at all to create or run an externally facing site. On March 9, 2015, Microsoft announced that SharePoint would no longer support external sites. Organizations that were already using the SharePoint Online Public Websites feature were given a minimum of two years to adjust to the change. Microsoft made this decision to better focus on service delivery across Microsoft 365. So, SharePoint can only be used to run intranet sites—those deployed within a corporate network. 

Why Choose SharePoint for Your Enterprise Content Management System?

SharePoint Online CMS is unlike any other CMS software. Here are the reasons you should choose SharePoint enterprise CMS over other solutions:  

  • Costs less than other services offering similar capabilities 
  • Robust third-party integration support 
  • Enhanced security (including regulatory compliance and data security) 
  • Centralized administration 
  • Intuitive and easy to use 
  • Built-in multi-purpose functionality 
  • Optimized content delivery 
  • Flexibility in customization 
  • Integration with multiple file types 
  • Enhanced workplace collaboration and productivity 
  • Microsoft makes continuous improvements to SharePoint to the benefit of its clients.   

 

SharePoint Enterprise Content Management simplifies information control and administration in an intranet. This enhances communication, collaboration, and workflow among teams and throughout an organization. Microsoft CMS is the way to go for streamlined content management, especially if you already use other Microsoft 365 solutions. 

Let Softlanding help you make the most of your digital investment. We push businesses to reach their true digital potential through the adoption and efficient utilization of Microsoft solutions. Contact us today and start pushing your business limits with SharePoint, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, Teams, and more. 

Written By:

softlanding

Softlanding is a long-established IT services provider of transformation, professional services and managed IT services that helps organizations boost innovation and drive business value. We are a multi-award-winning Microsoft Gold Partner with 13 Gold Competencies and we use our experience and expertise to be a trusted advisor to our clients. Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, we have staff and offices in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary to serve clients across Canada.

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