Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Managed Document Center – Part I

I was challenged last week by a very interesting request. A potential Office 365 user wanted an application where he can upload scanned documents in PDF format to a Web site. The documents will be automatically renamed based on three attributes: Facility, Document Type, and Product. The number of facilities is static, but he needs to be able to add more Document Types and Products. Each facility has one or more users that need read-only access to the documents on their own facility only; and they need to filter documents by document type or product easily. The application needs to be secure and available 99% of the time.

After a brief discussion with my team, we decided that SharePoint in Office 365 was the best an easy solution compared with developing and coding a new application. This is how we would use SharePoint Online to meet the customer requirements:

  • Users need to access the document on their own facility only: A document library with unique permissions for each facility.
  • Upload documents to a central place: A drop-off library with content rules to move the documents to other libraries.
  • Be able to add Document Types and Products: Use managed metadata as document attributes.
  • Rename documents based on their attributes: Workflow rules to rename documents.
  • Be able to filter documents easily: Metadata Navigation Hierarchies.
  • Security and availability: SharePoint Online meets this requirements.

In order to accomplish this mission, I will divide the job in the following steps:

  1. Create the necessary Term Sets in the Term Store.
  2. Create a new site using the Document Center template.
  3. Enable and set up the Content Organizer.
  4. Create a site Content Type using Document as Parent Content Type.
  5. Edit the default Documents library with the columns and views needed.
  6. Create a workflow to rename the documents.
  7. Save the Documents library as template and create a new document library for each facility.
  8. Create Content Organizing rules to route the documents to his final location.
  9. Redirect the default “Upload a Document” button to the Drop Off Library.

In this series of posts, I will go over all those steps, so you can create a totally managed document center from the ground up.

Let’s start with the first step!

Create the necessary Term Sets in the Term Store

As the SharePoint Administration Center mentions, the Term Store “contains a set of related keywords (called managed terms) organized into a hierarchy of information, such as a well-defined product category or materials list, that you can then use to control the entry of list values. A Term Store helps improve the consistency, reliability, and discoverability of information within a site collection.” The reason we are going to use managed metadata instead of site columns is because managed metadata allows user to add more terms in the fly. With site columns, users need to go to the site settings or library settings every time they need to add new items. Also managed metadata allows easy filtering using Navigation Hierarchies.

In order to access the Term Store, you need to login into the Office 365 Portal with admin credentials. Then, in the Admin tab, click on Manage under Microsoft Office 365 > SharePoint; this will open the SharePoint Online Administration Center. Click on Manage Term Store.

In the Term Store, you will see a hierarchy that has the word Taxonomy followed by a series of characters as the root. If this is the first time you use the Term Store, you need to add Term Store Administrators on the right side. Make sure you add the account you are currently using. Then, click on Save. Only the Term Store Administrators can add new groups and new term sets.

Next, right click on the root of the hierarchy (Taxonomy_xxxxxxxxxx) and click on New Group. Name the new group as “Document Center”. Now, right click on the newly created group and click on New Term Set.

Name the new term set as “Document Type”. In the right panel, type a description for your term set. Under the Stakeholders field, add all the accounts that will have permissions to add new items to this term set. Make sure also that Submission Policy is Open.

Save the Term Set and then you can enter some initial terms. To do this, right click on the newly created term set and click on Create Term.

Press enter after creating a new term and a SharePoint will add a blank line, so you can create new terms easily.

Repeat this whole process to create two new term sets called “Facility” and “Product”.
At the end your structure should look similar to this:

 You could also create a hierarchy inside the term sets, as the following example:

This way, you can organize your products and document types by category, or your facilities by region. For the simplicity of this demo, I will use only first level terms in each term set.

In my next posts, I will cover how to use this metadata on content types to achieve the goal of a totally managed document center. Keep posted!

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