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3 business benefits of adopting metadata in SharePoint document libraries

by Becky Driscoll SharePoint Microsoft Office Office 365

3 business benefits of adopting metadata in SharePoint document libraries

As a business, key information can be hard to keep track of. Often, information is stored across emails, desktops, Dropbox, team sites, One Drive, the list goes on… So why not consolidate your information in one place where the data can be managed and protected correctly?

Enter SharePoint document libraries…

SharePoint allows you to store, manage and track your documentation. Designed with common sense in mind, it boosts productivity whilst managing and protecting your data in line with compliance requirements. Through metadata and folder functionalities – information can be labelled, organised and managed from when it is first inputted into the system, through to its deletion.

So, what is metadata and how can it help me?

Simply put, metadata is information on information. It can be many things such as a location, a date, or a catalogue item number. Take film streaming services, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime for example. Users can browse by genre or by recommendations. Alternatively, they can search based on the film title, movie actor, genre, rating, or director.

In a business context, you can use this information and track it in SharePoint Document Libraries. Different users can browse and find documents in different ways, without needing to understand how to click through a folder hierarchy. Because documents can be tagged with multiple metadata values, documents can be discovered in several different intuitive ways.

Business Benefit #1: Meeting compliance requirements

Information Managers and Records Managers love metadata because it enforces common metadata standards and compliance policies, whilst improving a user’s ability to find the correct information. This includes:

  • Retention schedules/ classification labels can be applied to content types – to show the business when this information needs to be deleted or if the data contains personally identifiable information (PII).
  • Metadata contains information about the origins of a data set, the history of processes and the authorisation that was used to perform the action.
  • Enforces standards – including managed metadata columns and classification labels.

With the recent enforcement of GDPR legislation (General Data Protection Regulation), metadata functionalities in SharePoint Document Libraries allow you to identify, manage and protect your data in line with compliance requirements.

Business Benefit #2: Boosts productivity

Metadata provides a common sense means of working. Information is quick and easy to find as documents can be logically organised by a common theme (such as a project).

  • Documents can be accessed remotely as well as on-premise.
  • Documents can be filtered and grouped intuitively – according to user requirements.
  • Metadata provides consistent definitions and recognises the information’s context. For example, it is able to recognise that two terms relate to one and other (such as the term ‘customer’ and ‘client’).

Business Benefit #3: Data Security

Data security is a daunting task for IT teams to implement across the business, as it is not only systems but human error that needs to be anticipated. Metadata security for SharePoint Document Libraries allows users to protect documents according to their metadata properties and restrict access, to limit the risk of critical business information falling into the wrong hands.

  • Groups can be created with different permissions (such as only the Finance or HR department can access certain information)
  • Sharing information can be prohibited – for example, files that contain personal information.

Deltascheme’s business consultants are here to advise you on how to develop an effective information architecture, including how to apply metadata standards to SharePoint sites, Office 365 Groups, Microsoft Teams and more.

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