SharePoint Online is a powerful tool that can greatly enhance collaboration and productivity within organizations. However, like any tool, it can be misused, resulting in wasted time, lost data, and frustration. In this post, we’ll explore some common SharePoint Online mistakes and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Not planning your information architecture

SharePoint Online is a powerful tool, but it can quickly become cluttered and confusing if you don’t have a plan for organizing your content. Failing to plan your information architecture can lead to a disorganized and inefficient SharePoint Online environment.

Solution: To avoid this mistake, plan your information architecture by understanding your business requirements, information types, and team’s work process. Create a detailed plan that includes site hierarchy, content types, metadata, and permissions. Use best practices and consult with experts if needed.

Mistake #2: Not setting up permissions correctly

SharePoint Online allows you to control who has access to your content, but failing to set up permissions correctly can lead to security breaches, data leaks, and confusion.

Solution: To avoid this mistake, use SharePoint groups to manage permissions, assign permissions based on roles and responsibilities, and avoid giving users more permissions than they need. Regularly review and update permissions to ensure that they remain appropriate.

Mistake #3: Not using metadata

Metadata is information about your content that helps you categorize and filter it. Not using metadata can make it difficult to find and access the information you need.

Solution: To avoid this mistake, use metadata to categorize and filter your data. This will make it easier to find and access the information you need. Use consistent and meaningful metadata values and consider using a taxonomy or controlled vocabulary.

Mistake #4: Not Training Users

SharePoint Online is a powerful tool, but it can also be complex and overwhelming for new users. Unfortunately, many organizations fail to properly train their users, resulting in frustration and wasted time.

Solution: Provide comprehensive training for all users of SharePoint Online. This should include training on the basic features of SharePoint Online, as well as any customizations or configurations that are specific to your organization. You should also provide ongoing support and training as needed to ensure that users are comfortable and confident using SharePoint Online.

Mistake #5: Not leveraging out-of-the-box features

Explanation: SharePoint Online has many built-in features that can help you improve productivity and collaboration. Not leveraging these features can lead to inefficiency and missed opportunities.

Solution: To avoid this mistake, explore and use the built-in features of SharePoint Online to maximize productivity and collaboration. These features include lists, libraries, web parts, workflows, and search. Avoid unnecessary customization and ensure that any customization is compatible with future updates.

Mistake #6: Overusing folders

Overusing folders is another mistake that organizations make when using SharePoint Online. This can result in a site that is difficult to navigate and makes it hard to find the information you need.

Solution: To avoid this mistake, use metadata and views to categorize and filter your data instead of overusing folders. This will make it easier to find and access the information you need. Use consistent and meaningful metadata values and consider using a taxonomy or controlled vocabulary.

Mistake #7: Not using third-party apps and integrations

SharePoint Online has many built-in features, but there may be times when you need additional functionality that is not available out-of-the-box. Failing to use third-party apps and integrations can limit your productivity and collaboration.

Solution: To avoid this mistake, explore third-party apps and integrations that can help you extend the functionality of SharePoint Online. Use trusted and compatible apps from the Microsoft AppSource or SharePoint Store. Evaluate the app’s features, support, and security before installing it.

Mistake #8: Not considering performance and scalability

SharePoint Online can handle large amounts of data, but failing to consider performance and scalability can lead to slow response times, timeouts, and crashes.

Solution: To avoid this mistake, consider performance and scalability when designing your SharePoint Online environment. Use best practices for storage, indexing, and search. Avoid large lists and libraries, and consider using metadata and views to filter your data. Use load testing tools to identify potential performance issues and optimize your environment accordingly.

Mistake #9: Not monitoring your SharePoint Online environment

Failing to monitor your SharePoint Online environment can lead to security breaches, data loss, and inefficiency.

Solution: To avoid this mistake, use monitoring tools such as Microsoft 365 Security Center or third-party solutions to track changes, analyze logs, and detect anomalies. Regularly review reports and alerts to identify potential issues.

SharePoint Online is a powerful tool that can greatly enhance collaboration and productivity within organizations. However, it’s important to avoid common mistakes, such as not having a plan, not properly securing SharePoint Online, not training users, not regularly maintaining SharePoint Online, and not customizing SharePoint Online. By avoiding these mistakes and implementing best practices, your organization can realize the full potential of SharePoint Online.

Adnan, a distinguished professional, boasts an impressive track record as a Microsoft MVP, having achieved this prestigious recognition for the eighth consecutive year since 2015. With an extensive career spanning over 18 years, Adnan has honed his expertise in various domains, notably excelling in SharePoint, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams, the .Net Platform, and Microsoft BI. Presently, he holds the esteemed position of Senior Microsoft Consultant at Olive + Goose. Notably, Adnan served as the MCT Regional Lead for the Pakistan Chapter from 2012 to 2017, showcasing his leadership and commitment to fostering growth within the tech community. His journey in the realm of SharePoint spans 14 years, during which he has undertaken diverse projects involving both intranet and internet solutions for both private and government sectors. His impact has transcended geographical boundaries, leaving a mark on projects in the United States and the Gulf region, often collaborating with Fortune 500 companies. Beyond his roles, Adnan is a dedicated educator, sharing his insights and knowledge as a trainer. He also passionately advocates for technology, frequently engaging with the community through speaking engagements in various forums. His multifaceted contributions exemplify his dedication to the tech field and his role in driving its evolution.

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