In part 3 of our 8-part branding series, we focus on the development of Collaboration or “Team” Sites. Collaboration has been one of the biggest buzzwords in the enterprise space for years and the business benefits of effective collaboration are huge. Collaboration sites allow for cross-departmental team members to easily communicate and can be used on a more temporary, project-specific basis.
You run a business so you already know that branding makes a huge impact on consumer decision-making. This is no different for your SharePoint environment. Whether it’s an extranet or intranet that you’re creating, your users will be more inclined to engage if you offer them something that is not only useful, but intuitive and aesthetically pleasing.
In part 3 of our 8-part guide, we focus on the development of Collaboration or “Team” Sites. While you are planning your SharePoint environment, it is beneficial to think about these more “informal” spaces and determine where the need will be.
Collaboration Sites vs. Department Spaces
In part 2 of our branding series, we discussed Department Spaces and how important it is to plan out how you want to incorporate them into your environment before you start building it. Organization is key in SharePoint and the more you invest in offering a logical, simple structure to your users, the better your chances are of having high adoption and retention rates.
As we discussed, Department Spaces are private spaces for certain people to access and find specific information. We talked about an HR department needing two separate areas - one for approved employees to access highly sensitive information and another for public consumption that houses established policies. Collaboration Sites are different in that they are, comparatively, more “informal” and do not have publishing controls. They can also include cross-departmental team members and can be used on a more temporary, project-specific basis.
When to Build a Collaboration Site
Collaboration has been one of the biggest buzzwords in the enterprise space for years. The business benefits of effective collaboration are huge and companies have learned that by providing spaces for multiple people to share information and documents, they can easily realize efficiencies and increase productivity.
So how do you know when a collaboration site is needed? The best determining factors to consider are whether you want a spot for team members to connect on a project with requirements such as:
● Task Management
● Idea Exchange/Discussion Boards
For larger projects that require higher storage capacity (i.e. numerous documents, many users, etc.), you also have the option of building a Team Site Collection. While this is used less frequently, this is exactly as it sounds – a collection of Team Sites that has its own dedicated storage space. The determining factor for a Team Site Collection is simply the size or scope of the project. While you can always start with a team site and evolve into a Team Site collection, the process can be tricky. It is recommended to plan ahead and determine needs in advance.
The best way to think of a team site is a place where the work actually gets done. When multiple people from across the company are working on the same project, they need a place to easily communicate. Each person will still have their own individual assignments, but if you need a place to effectively collaborate and keep everyone on track, you need a team site.
Building an effective Collaboration Site
As you might expect, building an effective collaboration site is easier said than done. If you are thinking that yours needs to be built as a sub-site, please resist that urge. Fortunately, updates within SharePoint have made it possible for each team site to get their own site collection when a team site is built.
Also, if you really want to do this right, you will end up having many team sites. Why? You have multiple projects moving at the same time and, since team sites are meant to be project-based, you should have one for each. There will likely be different access and information management requirements, even if you have the same team members working on different projects.
Due to the project-based nature of collaboration sites, there will be an expiration date when the work is complete. A best practice here would be to archive these sites so the information is retained, but the overall environment stays organized and up-to-date for your users.