Let’s get one thing clear before we start this post. There’s a misconception out there that moving SharePoint to the cloud removes the need for management or administration. Now, we know you’d all love it if this were true, but we’re going to have to burst that bubble (you’ll thank us when you’re older…).
From the software perspective, SharePoint is a system designed for businesses to build applications that facilitate the sharing of information and documents on servers. As a server-based platform, it can exist either On-Premises or on the cloud. Today we’ll be looking at the online iteration of SharePoint, but the point is that, whatever environment you choose for your organization, you’ll still need to manage and maintain the platform if you want to get the most out of it.
1. SharePoint Admin Center
This will be your go-to for simplifying all those administrative duties and you’ll come to depend on it. The SharePoint Admin Center helps you manage Site Collections, global settings, capabilities, policies, security and more. It’s a powerful console and makes managing your SharePoint online content and features from a single place much easier (it’s also quick to set up – phew!).
The SharePoint Admin Center contains links to the major administrative areas, displaying Site Collection administration capabilities, activities and metrics clearly for easy access.
As an alternative to the SharePoint Administration Center, Windows PowerShell lets you perform command-line operations using command-let which is more efficient for batch operations such as adding hundreds of new users. For example, when creating a site, the Command Builder tool allows Admins to quickly create a Site from the command line without having to step through several pages in the Admin Center user interface.
3. SharePoint Designer
This program is one of the best tools for editing, modifying and building different components in your environment. This might include customized sites, lists, libraries or workflow functions to match existing business processes and is absolutely essential when building custom workflows.
Some examples of workflows built using SharePoint Designer include automated emails to Users/Groups or auto-creation of List Items somewhere on a Site, provided the relevant workflow specific ‘IF’ statement is satisfied.
4. Site Features
Site creation and management provide a simple way of storing, sharing and managing digital information for the various business areas or functions within your organization. Let your creative juices flow – you can customize Sites for professional styling, branding and ease of use.
Using site features to easily control how users can use sites for various tasks, the Admin can establish a set of policies, roles, responsibilities and processes to govern how Groups interact with a SharePoint Site.
5. Information Policy
It might not be the sexiest job in the world, but Information Management (IM) is extremely important. IM policies enable Admins to manage access to organizational information and define who has access to information, what level of access and how long they can retain it.
Administrators can set up policies to manage document tracking, user access and retention periods by establishing a set of rules for each type of content, where each rule in a policy is identified as a policy feature.
6. Term Store
Organizations can create a consistent approach to data entry and management throughout their SharePoint environment using the Term Store which is the global directory of common terms relevant to a specific organization. Admins can manage terms in a term set either individually or collectively, within a local or global term set by accessing the Term Store management tool via the SharePoint Admin Center.
7. App Catalogue
Microsoft are changing the term ‘Apps’ to ‘Add-ins’ and while some existing SharePoint documentation might still use the term ‘Apps’, we will be using ‘Add-ins’ in this post. Add-in catalogues enable Admins to grant users access to the dedicated site Collection that hosts documents libraries for SharePoint Add-ins by uploading manifest files to the add-in catalogue for use within the organization.
8. Popularity Trends
The historical usage information for Site Collections, Sites, Pages or even Items can help Admins understand usage trends and identify when user activity is high or low. The reports show the number of page or item views either recently or since forever, unique users per day or per month and also the most popular items in a library.
This information is helpful in understanding how users interact with content on your SharePoint environment which is a good step towards maintaining a dynamic SharePoint environment.
A good understanding of user access or rights to information located in your SharePoint environment is essential, especially considering the concept of security inheritance from parent objects. Broken permission inheritance and orphaned permissions usually throw a curveball at Admins hence the need to analyze and understand existing permissions on a daily basis to ensure that parts of the system are not exposed due to oversight.
10. Backup & Archiving
SharePoint Online allows Microsoft to unburden organizations with redundancy, disaster recovery and updates, but backup and restoration limitations arising from their ‘one size fits all’ solution requires admin intervention.
Admin Control guarantees easy access to content in the event of an outage or data loss, allowing granular restores, backup and quick restore of permissions, archiving, etc. using centralized backup and archiving plans or policies.
Now, that’s a pretty well stocked toolbox right there! What do you use already for your SharePoint Management?