It’s incredible that we’re now over a decade into the 21st century and e-mail—a standard that was first developed and implemented in the 1970s—still reigns as the king of business communication. Invoices, meeting invitations, contracts, and automated alerts are just a few of the critical items that might be sitting in your Outlook inbox right now. Interestingly enough, you can manage all of those things using SharePoint 2010, though I would not suggest dumping your Exchange server outright in favor of this software. Instead, I’d like to talk about some e-mail-enabled features of SharePoint 2010 and how you can use them together to get the most out of your SharePoint implementation.
Anyone with a little bit of SharePoint software experience knows that one of its most powerful features is its out-of-the-box e-mail alert capability. But in case you’re not familiar, the SharePoint 2010 software allows you to enable e-mail alerts on any document library, list, or page in the system. This means that any time an item is added or changed in a library, or if a page is edited, you can receive an e-mail alert letting you know what has changed, when, and who changed it. I’ve personally seen this feature used in a variety of different ways, from organization-wide e-mail alerts on announcement lists to group-wide alerts on project pages and Wikis. The fantastic thing about SP’s out-of-the-box alerts is that they are simple for any SharePoint user to set up and manage.
Alerts don’t have to be instantaneous, either. SharePoint 2010 alerts can also be configured to deliver all of a day’s alerts as a digest message. That ability comes right out of the box, too. Additionally, Share Point workflows can be used to achieve even more customized alert messages. For example, can you imagine opening your inbox in the morning and being greeted with the following SP software alert:
Good Morning, David!
You have three outstanding invoices to approve.
Click here to visit the SharePoint invoice library and approve the invoice for payment.
YourCompany’s SharePoint Server
With SharePoint 2010, automated alerts like those can be configured to be sent on a regular schedule, or any time an item is added to a list, using a SharePoint workflow that identifies the name of the user, the number of outstanding tasks, the URL of that user’s task list, and more.
One of its primary roles in an organization is to cull the use of e-mail attachments. Any business that relies heavily on e-mail-attached documents is setting itself up for massive problems down the road. If living documents are sitting in an employee’s inbox, what happens when that employee gets sick or can’t access their inbox? For businesses not using this software, losing access to attached e-mail documents and not sharing those documents across the organization can lead to lost time, lost information, and a lack of transparency.
For more on moving away from email as storage, listen to this short podcast from our SharePoint senior manager…