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Document Management in SharePoint 2013

Following along in our series on SharePoint 2013, here is what’s new for Document Management. In addition to the document management-specific features described here, many of the general improvements throughout SharePoint also relate to Document Management.

Cloud first

The key message for all of Microsoft Office, including SharePoint, is cloud first. This doesn’t just mean that Office 365’s cloud hosting of SharePoint is improved. A key feature is the tighter integration in Microsoft Office 2013 to SharePoint and the concept that SharePoint presents cloud-like capability to users regardless of whether it’s being run on-premise or through Office 365. Here is what you get when you click Save in Word 2013 on a new document:

SharePoint and the Cloud

SharePoint and Cloud

This further consolidates SharePoint as the obvious choice for building document management systems in a Microsoft environment. The second place that Office wants you to save your documents in is SkyDrive. SkyDrive is like Dropbox in that it synchronises files between your different computers and a web copy in the cloud. The SkyDrive Pro version that comes with SharePoint not only syncs all your computers together, but the cloud copy of your file is now in your personal area of SharePoint so that it is stored centrally and shareable within your organisation.

The beloved but risky home drive – or “C:” drive – has finally got an alternative that people will be happy to use. SkyDrive is as easy to use as a local folder yet at the same time allows enterprises to overlay the types of management and security that have long been a strength of SharePoint.


Improved browser support

Document management is now greatly improved on all modern browsers. My favourite example of advanced functionality that didn’t work except on Internet Explorer is now fixed:

Improved browser support

Document Management browser improvement

Another example is the Datasheet view. Now in FireFox there is a Quick Edit button that opens up a view very similar to Datasheet view.

Overall the browser support on iPads and other browsers is now pretty usable.


Unification of SharePoint, Exchange and Lync

A major investment by Microsoft has been made in the integration of SharePoint and Exchange. Lync conversations also save directly into Exchange, so that all three are effectively integrated. This creates a new server-side option to using a client-side tool such as the excellent OnePlaceMail which move user-selected content into SharePoint.

A search in Exchange includes items in SharePoint and a search in SharePoint includes items in Exchange. The eDiscovery features of SharePoint have now been applied to Exchange content so that legal holds can be created over both SharePoint and Exchange content. The following Microsoft diagram shows how the new Team Folders create a common view across SharePoint and Exchange data.

Unification of SharePoint, Exchange and Lync

Team Folders - common view across SharePoint and Exchange data


Pingar in the App Store

Now SharePoint has an app store too. Behind the app store is a whole new approach to building custom code for SharePoint. One cool app in the store right now is Pingar. These guys are one of New Zealand’s own little stars. Pingar’s apps use linguistic knowledge processing techniques to automatically extract metadata from documents and to automatically generate summaries of a document. Pingar’s goal is to make entering metadata obsolete. Now by using the App store their advanced technology becomes available with a few clicks, instead of requiring a developer to integrate a web service.

Pingar in the App Store

SharePoint App Store


Records Management

eDiscovery has had one of the largest development efforts in SharePoint. While eDiscovery is great for countries where lawsuits are more prevalent, in New Zealand and Australia the feature is unlikely to become as important for these purposes, but there is a good chance they’ll be repurposed for other uses.

The new eDiscovery improvements mean that when a legal hold is placed on a site or a set of documents identified by a search, those documents are frozen in time for the purpose of the case. In SharePoint 2010, any held content cannot be edited until the hold is released. In SharePoint 2013 users can go on editing content without affecting the frozen versions. Holds also apply to Exchange items which create interesting options for Record Management of Microsoft Exchange content.

The ability to export all the content of an eDiscovery search is new. The export will include all relevant documents, list items, pages and mails stored in your Exchange server. Additionally an XML file is created so that the set of content can be read in the courtroom using any compatible eDiscovery tool. 

This export feature should be useful for archiving and other uses outside of the eDiscovery scenario.



As you may know, we have a close partnership with RecordPoint http://www.recordpoint.com.au. RecordPoint helps SharePoint meet Public Records Act (PRA), ISO and VERS record management standards. The improvements in SharePoint 2013 Document Management do not eliminate the need for RecordPoint. In fact, RecordPoint has also been working with SharePoint 2013 for some time and will be leveraging some of the new features of SharePoint to extend their own product. We look forward to being able to reveal more about where RecordPoint is going in a future post.

SharePoint 2013 represents a major step for moving document management into the cloud and the mobile era of computing. The tighter integration with Office and the many new features in SharePoint will further consolidate SharePoint as the logical choice for Document Management in most Microsoft shops.

Please read our other blog posts in this series on SharePoint 2013 (SharePoint 2013 - Social, The new SharePoint - Essential Information) - many other new features in SharePoint noted elsewhere relate equally to Document Management.

Posted by: Philip Plimmer, Practice Lead, Portals, Content and Collaboration | 14 August 2012

Tags: SharePoint, Cloud, SharePoint 2013

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