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Liberal Use of Content Types and Content Columns Underpin Any Successful Attempts to Implement Workflows in SharePoint

As Ira Fuchs explains in one of the first video tutorials included in his set, Cheap Thrills in SharePoint, any community looking to maximize the value of SharePoint’s workflow feature, will benefit from an understanding of content types and content columns. Fuchs claims SharePoint is actually entirely structured around content types.

The value added for stakeholders in all of this amounts to the fact content types are also very important to any effort at implementing SharePoint in an Enterprise Document Management (EDM) or Enterprise Content Management (ECM) scenario. Consider the entire set of policies, procedures, and methodologies included in any satisfactory, modern approach to Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) as examples of EDM/ECM automation. So tasking power users, or IT staff to implement workflows as a preferred method of producing EDM/ECM content can also produce a lot of the infrastructure required for the data collections needs of GRC applications, at least for heavily regulated businesses.

Over the first 3 video tutorials included in the set, Fuchs demonstrates how a simple effort of pointing and clicking on choices included in out of the box SharePoint 2010 or 2013 can produce each of the fields required to publish organization-specific documents, including offer letters for new hires. All the pointing and clicking is done through a process of specifying a content type for the offer letter he creates in his example, and, then, putting together the related fields through a selection of content columns already included in SharePoint.

Since these text strings already exist in SharePoint, within the metadata architecture for the platform, it makes sense for anyone planning on implementing workflows as a preferred method of building processes for an organization to follow Fuchs’ method. At the same time, the method is very easy to execute. The personnel tasked with building these workflows do not need to put together text strings for fields. They only need to click on existing options. At the same time, since they are parsing these options from out of the box content types and content columns, they should gain a much better understanding of metadata, and the SharePoint tagging mechanism, as well.

Ira Michael Blonder

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