Microsoft Teams SharePoint Front-End?
Microsoft Team’s continues to evolve. Teams offers some good basic collaboration features, but one thing the product has not evolved into is a knowledge management front-end to SharePoint. It is true that Teams is built on SharePoint. While, Teams is a major advance over the simple Team Sites that existed in previous versions of SharePoint, the movement of content from collaboration to curation remains an issue.
Teams was designed as a collaborative environment. That does not mean that Teams cannot be used as a repository, but it does mean that it will prove difficult to control if the environment is open to a wide range of people in a collaborative setting.
It can be confusing for content owners because every Team creates a SharePoint site that is visible within SharePoint, with files loaded under a folder titled “General.” As Teams is built on SharePoint that makes perfect sense, and the SharePoint site works like any other SharePoint site. Information management issues arise because Teams immediately creates a sub-set of a SharePoint site’s file structure, forcing all content associated with the Team under a folder titled “General.” This structure adds extra clicks for those accessing the content via SharePoint, which does make sense for an information management or dissemination site.
For those who want maintain a SharePoint site as a publishing repository, they need to consider taking the following actions:
How to Use Teams as a SharePoint Front-End if You Really Want to
- Document the content architecture and the locations of all the files that are to live in the new SharePoint site.
- Create the Team, but do not invite anyone beyond the content management team.
- Open the SharePoint version of the site and build out the directories above “General.” It is highly advised to not create any directory below “General.”
- [Optional] Return to the Team and add links to the Team for each relevant folder. (This step demonstrates the cumbersomeness of the relationship between Teams and SharePoint. If the Team becomes the primary interface, then all content by default exists below “General” creating a SharePoint site that underutilizes the power of its organizing structure to make relevant content accessible. If, however, you choose to build a structure in SharePoint and link it back to the team, then it can take considerable time to link the relevant folders. This also presents an issue for the Teams UI, which isn’t designed to house perhaps dozens of extra folder links as peers to “General.”
- It is highly advised that the content sharing Team never be opened beyond its curators, and that SharePoint permissions be set for read-only access to the intended audience be administered within SharePoint and not via Teams.
As of this analysis, however, the information architecture does not support the smooth transition from collaboration to curation
It is best that Teams be left as a collaborative environment and that knowledge management policies and practices be put in place to migrate content from Teams to a SharePoint repository once it reaches a final state. Content that requires revision can be copied from SharePoint back into a Team for future revisions, and the final version of those revisions used to replace existing copies in the SharePoint site. This is no more difficult than any other collaborative system and curated repository relationship. It becomes confusing because it appears that within the Microsoft ecosystem that it should be easier and more transparent because Teams and SharePoint are so tightly interwoven. As of this analysis, however, the information architecture does not support the smooth transition from collaboration to curation which should be a primary consideration for Microsoft’s designers in the future.
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