Sandy Ussia from Lightning Tools started off my day at SPSDC. Her session: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle with SharePoint was a wonderful 100-level look at doing work upfront so that end users don’t have to. Her main focus was around reducing data duplication and inconsistency. She started off small and built-up in complexity as she went along. So here we go.
The first step is looking at the column level. Sandy gave us a rundown on choice and look-up columns. Basically, the takeaway here is that you can set up custom columns to use throughout your farm so that end users are using the same sets of columns that are, more importantly, configured the same way. Even this little thing can prove valuable when it comes to reporting.
The next step is managed metadata. A little time spent setting up metadata choices will ensure end users are keeping things consistent. By creating custom parameters around your organization’s data, you can give end users only the options you want them to have thus fostering consistent data.
Moving on from there Sandy talked about external data. For those that have access to Business Connectivity Services, you are able to set up external data to pull into these custom parameters mentioned above.
The next step in complexity is content types. A content type allows you to pull together these various customized elements so that end users can have them all in one easy place. These content types can then be referenced in content type hubs. This is a designated site collection that can be used by end-users to configure new ones. This allows the simple fast creation of a site collection while knowing all the data that will be entered will be done so in a consistent manner.
Beyond that, Sandy talked about reusable content, workflows, and site templates. These are pretty self-explanatory at this point. One good thing to know is that a site template will not carry over permissions, so set them up wisely.