Provisioning SharePoint for Document and Email Management

MacroView 2018 Highlights
December 11, 2018

MacroView can supply some really good software for managing documents and emails in SharePoint – both Online on on-premises.  But we are quick to point out that good software is only one of the key factors for successful document management and / or email management on SharePoint.  The other key success factor is having a good design for your SharePoint-based document and email store.

The good news is that MacroView is able to assist with both the design and implementation of your SharePoint DM store. Our design skills are based on our deep understanding of how document management is handled by SharePoint and have been refined by exposure to dozens of SharePoint-based DM implementations.  We have developed our new MacroView Provisioning Framework to give us a real edge when we need to implement a SharePoint DM design. 

When a MacroView product is installed, relevant aspects of the Provisioning Framework can also be available as right-click commands, which provides a good experience for admins and users who need to provision new areas.

In this blog post we look at the key MacroView Provisioning Framework, particularly at how it works with Office 365 / SharePoint Online.

PowerShell Applets for Bulk Provisioning
Provisioning often needs to be done in bulk – e.g. to create hundreds of new sites / document libraries as part of a migration from Windows file shares or Outlook Public Folders.  We are finding that the bulk-provisioning scenario is also relevant to organizations that are moving their document and email management from on-premises SharePoint Server to SharePoint Online.

Powershell applets are the go-to technology for bulk provisioning.  The MacroView Provisioning Framework has a comprehensive range of Powershell applets. They handle tasks such as:

  • Add a content type to a library
  • Add a view to a library
  • Delete a view from a library
  • Add a metadata column to a library
  • Define a default view for a library
  • etc

If the applet needs to provision a specific structure (e.g. the content types, metadata columns and views in a document library) the applet obtains the details of that structure from a specially formatted XML file.  This XML file format is as defined by Microsoft Patterns and Practices team (PnP for short).  In other words, the MacroView Provisioning Framework is compatible with the Microsoft PnP ‘standard’.

Convenient Provisioning by Right-click
Powershell applets are great when you need to provision in bulk, but often the provisioning task is much smaller scale – e.g. create a new Site Collection to correspond to a new line of business, or a new sub-site for a new Customer, etc. The MacroView Provisioning Framework allows such tasks to be performed easily and conveniently by right-clicking in a MacroView tree display and choosing the Create option.

The MacroView software displays a complete and accurate tree-view of the current structure of the Office 365 tenant, while you work in Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint or in the Windows app called MacroView DMF Explorer. Being able to right-click in that tree to provision new site collections, site content types, sub-sites, document libraries and document sets and folders is both convenient and intuitive.

Right-click to Provision a new Site Collection and Site Content Types
The screen shot below shows right-clicking the top-most node in the MacroView tree (that corresponds to the Office 365 tenant) and choosing Create>Site Collection.

Provisioning a new Site Collection with right-click, Create command from MacroView Provisioning Framework

The user is prompted for details of the new site collection, much as they would be if they were creating that site collection in the SharePoint web browser UI.

In addition to a new Site Collection, the right-click>Create>Site Collection command will also provision a set of Site Content Types that is relevant to the installed MacroView product.  For example:

MacroView DMF 365

  • MacroView Document
  • Email

MacroView Message 365

  • MacroView Document
  • Email

MacroView Case and Matter 365

  • Matter Document Set
  • Matter Document
  • Email

To be able to use this right-click>Create command the user will need to have Tenant Admin permissions – i.e. the permissions required are the same as if the provisioning was done in the SharePoint web browser UI. So the right-click>Create makes things easier but still respects the SharePoint Online permission model.

Right-click to Provision New Sites and Document Libraries
The right-click > Create command also makes it easy and convenient to provision new sites and document libraries.

The screen shot below shows use of right-clicking on an existing Legal site to provision a new sub-site with the title 210 – Contoso.

Provisioning a new (sub) Site by right-click>Create>Site

To be able to use this right-click>Create> Site command the user will need to have Site Collection Admin permissions – i.e. the permissions required are the same as if the provisioning was done in the SharePoint web browser UI.  As with provisioning a new site collection, right-click> Create  makes things easier but still respects the SharePoint Online permission model.

The right-click>Create>Document Library  command will create a new document library with a specified template, title and URL extension. It will also provision the new library with the content types and views that are relevant to the installed MacroView product. For even more convenience the right-click>Create>Document Library command will also provision the site content types that are relevant to the installed MacroView product (see above) if those site content types are not already in place. This removes the need for a user to leave Outlook, Word or other desktop app where they would otherwise be working and jump out to the SharePoint web browser UI to create a new document library using Library Settings>New>App….

If the installed product is MacroView Case and Matter, the right-click> Create command will have an option to provision a new Client Site – i.e. a sub-site for a specified new customer, with that new sub-site already having a Matters document library.  End-users can then go ahead and create the areas for new Matters in that new Matters library (see below).

Provisioning the Area For a New Matter

The base design of MacroView Case and Matter uses a Document Set for each Matter.  Provisioning a new document set for a new Matter is also easy and convenient thanks to a right-click command.

A user can right-click in the MacroView tree display on a Matters library and choose Create New Matter.  The screen shot below shows right-click>Create New Matter being used to create a new document set for an Employment Matter called Hire John Citizen.

Provisioning a new Matter document set with standard set of folders using right-click>Create New Matter

The metadata attributes captured for the new Matter (e.g. Matter Type, Matter Managed By, etc.) are automatically shared with the documents and emails that are subsequently stored in the new Matter area. This automatic metadata recording is a major positive for user adoption (users generally dislike having to respond to metadata prompts each time they save a document or email).

The right-click>Create New Matter command will automatically assign the next available Matter Number (1064) and incorporate that Matter Number in the name of the new document set.  This facilitates the future use of the MacroView Corporate Email Filing module to automate the saving to the Matter document set of received and sent emails.

In addition, the right-click>Create New Matter will provision a set of folders in the new document set.  The folders correspond to frequently used types of document. Different sets of folders can be defined for different types of Matter. Dropping an email or document to one of these folders will automatically record the value of Document Type – again this automatic metadata capture further reduces profiling fatigue for users, which in turn leads to improved user satisfaction and adoption.

First Run Experience
Part of the automated installation of the latest versions of MacroView DMF 365 or MacroView Message 365 is the First Run Experience.  This component performs several steps to make the set-up of the new MacroView software as easy as possible, including:

  • Activating the MacroView software license
  • Registering the Office 365 Tenant so that the user can see all areas for which he / she has permissio
  • Installing a MacroView sample library in the user’s OneDrive for Business personal site
  • Playing an introductory video to show the new user how to save, search etc.

The new MacroView sample library will contain the MacroView Email  site content type, so that the user can experience the automatic recording of metadata as he / she drags and drops to save an Outlook email. The sample library will also have views provisioned so that you can see the metadata attributes that have been recorded automatically for emails and other documents.

The sample library with its site content types and views is provisioned by the same underlying code as runs when you right-click>Create (see above).

Standardising Migrated Emails
As an organization moves its email management to Office 365, they will generally want to migrate a large volume of existing emails to areas in SharePoint Online.  While the upload of emails can be done in bulk (e.g. by using Windows Explorer or similar techniques) the migrated emails will not have their attributes (e.g. To, From, Subject) recorded as metadata, which decreases the effectiveness of searches for emails.

MacroView can supply the MacroView Standardiser utility, which trawls across a nominated site collection, site or library in SharePoint Online, automatically processing each email that is stored there so that its metadata is ‘standardised’ – i.e. the attributes of the email are recorded as metadata exactly as they would be had the email been saved by dragging and dropping with MacroView.

In addition, MacroView Standardiser will also update the file names for the files in which the migrated emails are stored, so that those file names are in line with the MacroView file naming convention.  This naming convention has the advantage of preventing duplicate copies of any one email in any one area of SharePoint Online, while at the same time avoiding confusion when multiple emails for a conversation are stored in that area.

The MacroView Provisioning Framework is often used in conjunction with MacroView Standardiser. A good example is provisioning document libraries that have the MacroView Email content type and the Emails view, which together enable the recording and viewing of the attributes for emails stored in SharePoint Online.

Custom Provisioning Solutions
MacroView Professional Services has the skills and experience to design a SharePoint Online environment so that it is optimal for managing documents and emails.  In addition to documenting the recommended design they can also handle the implementation of that design. They do this by utilizing the MacroView Provisioning Framework that is described above.

For More Information

See also the MacroView website or contact MacroView Services.