In this blog post we take a look at three designs that add real value to a Teams or SharePoint Online environment, note how implementing those designs is quite challenging and explore how software called MacroView Solution Provisioning makes implementation so much easier.
Great Design #1
You are using Microsoft Teams extensively. You have tried using the email addresses of Teams libraries to streamline the saving of outlook emails, but have found that approach leaves a lot to be desired. You want instead to use software like MacroView Message or MacroView DMF so you can drag and drop to save Outlook emails. As part of the save the MacroView software will automatically select an Email content type and record the attributes of the email in corresponding metadata columns. So you need to add that Email content type and its metadata columns to the Teams library. You also want a new Emails view added to the Teams library, so you can view the saved emails together with their attributes – just as you would in Outlook itself. This design will make it easy to save emails while you work in Outlook, and also allow the saved emails to be visible within the Teams UI.
Great Design #2
You want to manage documents and emails related to lots of Projects in SharePoint Online. It is essential that you be able to search for those documents and emails using Project attributes such as Project Type, Project Start Date, Project Manager, etc, but you don’t want to be prompted to enter those Project-level attributes every time you save a document or an email for a Project. You have decided to use a document set for each Project, with the Project Document Set content type having a number of Project-level attributes, which are then Shared with the documents and emails that are subsequently stored in the Project document set. You also want to set these Shared metadata attributes to Hidden in the Document content types within the document set – that will ensure that you are not prompted for these Project-level attributes as you save documents and emails.
Great Design #3
You are migrating a large Public Folder environment to SharePoint Online. To avoid List View Threshold issues you have decided to create a tree of sites and libraries, ready to receive the migrated emails. It’s a large Public Folder structure, so there are over a thousand libraries to be created, each with the email management content type, metadata columns and Emails view that are described above under Design #1. Oh, and your users want to see standard sets of folders in those document libraries, with different sets of folders across the different libraries. Having that design in place is a key success factor for the migration – the new SharePoint Online environment needs to look and feel similar to the existing Public Folder structure, otherwise users will be reluctant to adopt.
Implementing Such Designs Is Challenging
Implementing such designs is challenging indeed if you are using the native Site Settings and Library Settings pages of the SharePoint UI. SharePoint Best Practice is that you define site columns and site content types (at site collection level) with the Site Settings page and then incorporate those components into your document libraries with the Library Settings page. You also need to use the Library Settings page to define additional Views.
The challenge with Design #1 is that you need to add components to the Shared Documents library in each Teams site. Users can create new Teams sites quite often, so this library enhancement task is going to chew a lot of admin resources.
Design #2 is challenging because of the number of admin steps involved. Adding document set content types and columns at site collection level is not a frequent task, but for every new library you need to remember to set the Hidden columns and define the Views.
Volume is clearly a challenge with Design #3, but so too is the need to create different sets of folders in the 1,000+ new document libraries. Clearly this is not a design that you can create manually using the native admin features of SharePoint Online.
MacroView Solution Provisioning
MacroView Solution Provisioning (MVSP) is a software tool that makes it much easier to accurately implement designs in SharePoint and Teams, such as the three example designs outlined above.
MVSP complies with SharePoint Best Practice by the way it adds content types and metadata columns at the site collection level, and then re-uses those components in document libraries. MVSP supports document sets well, including the definition of Shared metadata columns. MVSP is also aware of SharePoint peculiarities, such as the need to define Hidden attributes at library, rather than at site content type level. This means that MVSP is ideal for implementing Design #2.
MVSP can create new site collections, sites, libraries, document sets and folders in SharePoint – both SharePoint Online and on-premises SharePoint. It can also add new design components to existing site collections and libraries. So you don’t have to start again when you want to implement a great design.
MVSP has excellent support for provisioning Microsoft Teams. In addition to adding new content types, metadata columns and views to the Shared Documents libraries that are created automatically by Microsoft Teams when you add a new Team, MVSP can also create a new Team site or a new Channel within an existing Team site. MVSP recognizes that Team sites have a single document library, so it allows you to add components to a Teams library in a single step.
MVSP is available as an extension for MacroView Message and MacroView DMF. Once MVSP is installed, you can right-click on a site collection, site or document library in the intuitive MacroView tree-view of your SharePoint environment and choose Provision in order to add new design components or create new sub-areas. This means that users with appropriate permissions can create and extend designs while they continue to work in the familiar environment of Microsoft Outlook or Word, Excel, PowerPoint or DMF Explorer.
The MVSP extension and solutions to add email management components to new or existing libraries in SharePoint and Teams is a no-extra-charge add-in for all customers of MacroView Message, MacroView DMF and products based on MacroView DMF (such as MacroView Case and Matter). That’s great news for an organization looking to implement Design #1 or Design #2.
MVSP can also be used outside MacroView DMF and MacroView Message, as a console app. This enables the scripted creation of new sites and libraries that have a specific design – including standard sets of folders and / or document sets. This scripted creation is relevant for creating Design #3. Going forward, MacroView Professional Services will be able to deliver integration solutions, wherein MVSP is invoked programmatically – e.g. to provision the new area(s) in SharePoint Online that correspond to a new Client or Project as that new entity is defined in a CRM or Line of Business application.
Behind the scenes, MVSP makes good use of Microsoft PNP – the de-facto standard for defining SharePoint provisioning in XML files. MacroView has augmented the standard PNP offering so that MVSP users benefit from additional provisioning functionality and much improved performance when provisioning.
As a result, MacroView Professional Services are able to define custom designs and customers can then use MVSP to easily and safely implement those custom designs in their SharePoint or Teams environment. MVSP dramatically reduces the need for administrator effort (compared to using the native Site Settings and Library Settings pages) while at the same time ensuring accurate, consistent designs.
This video shows MacroView Solution Provisioning in action.