Empowering End Users via Automation

By Matthew Bretzius posted 10-18-2013 15:32


This is a guest post by Jeremy Thake, AvePoint Vice President of Global Product Innovation and Microsoft SharePoint Most Valuable Professional (MVP).

You’ve got your Microsoft SharePoint deployment up and running, and your SharePoint Admins have spent countless hours tidying things up to ensure your infrastructure architecture is under control. But there has to be an easier way to keep your SharePoint running at an optimal level without devoting the IT man hours right? Well there is – through automation.

An enterprise platform like SharePoint allows individuals to get together and share information in a container (a room, site, bucket, etc.). This container will have a lifecycle from the time it’s provisioned to the time it’s deprovisioned, and guess what - provisioning a new container is a task that can be automated too. But there are a host of other events that occur during the lifecycle that can be automated and taken off the plate of your IT department.

Here’s my top 10 SharePoint automation list:

  1. Self-service granting/removing access – The most common task a container will go through is the granting of permissions and removing of permissions to that container so users can be part of the collaboration.
  2. Self-service transferring/cloning access – The ability to transfer permissions from one individual to another or give someone the same permissions as another user is a very common scenario.
  3. Self-service onboarding content – When containers get created, often there is content that already exists in file shares, on local drives, and in people’s My Sites that needs to be moved into the new container.
  4. Self-service change business contact – Typically a business contact might change during its life, either due to people changing roles and responsibilities or leaving the organization. Keeping track of who is accountable for the container is one of the most important points as they go through the lifecycle.
  5. Self-service deployment of customizations – Customizations such as branding, content types/document types, extra functionalist, or apps being added.
  6. Self-service archiving of container – Often business contacts will want to clean up existing containers where information that has been created over three years ago, and not accessed or modified, can be archived off to the Enterprise Archival System, deleted completely, or simply marked as an archived area.
  7. Scheduled lease renewal of container – With all containers, at some point they will need to be deprovisioned. The business contact is reached out to on a scheduled basis to ask whether they still require this container.
  8. Scheduled inactivity alerts of container – With all containers, sometimes they will go dormant and unused for a while. This is a good opportunity to reach out to the business contact through a scheduled alert to find out if they really still need the site.
  9. Scheduled security audit recertification –This is especially important in financial services or public sector industries. This is a scheduled alert to the business contact who is accountable for a container to recertify that the people who have access to the content should have access.
  10. Scheduled archiving of old content – As well as self-service cleanup, scheduled archiving profiles can clean up proactively rather than waiting for business contacts to keep them accurate and up to date with quality content.

By automating these tasks, you’re taking the burden off of your IT department to manually perform each one, while empowering the end user to take some control of their own content. This will allow your IT department to spend their time on more important issues, while still ensuring that your SharePoint deployment stays neat and tidy.

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