09 February 2016

15 Tips for SharePoint Phone Messages

SharePoint iconWe have recently published no less than 15 Tips articles with demos on how to automate the distribution of phone messages within a SharePoint tenancy or farm.

15 tips might seem a bit too much for just phone messages, but these articles show off many techniques that you can use for any information gathering and distribution within your organization. The phone messages are intended as a simple piece of information that everyone can relate to.

Single or Enterprise Ready?
The most important question when you start creating a SharePoint list is how simple you should make it. Microsoft has made it very easy to create a new list and add columns and views with commands directly on the list page.

The problem with such a simple list is re-usability and consistency. The best way to make sure that everyone is entering the same information in the same columns, is to create a content type. And the best place to create content types is in the Content Type Hub. In SharePoint Online the Content Type Hub is created for you, but hidden. I show you how to find it.

All content types created and published in the Content Type Hub are distributed across all site collections in the entire farm. Therefore I generally advise customers and students to spend some more time on their SharePoint lists and create content types for them in the Content Type Hub.

From easy to advanced
So, if I recommend the Enterprise Ready solution, why do I even show how to create the simple one? Some followers might have use for it, but the main reason is that I want to go from easy to advanced. Many of the things I describe in the single solution are done in the same way when you use a content type – you just work in the Content Type Hub instead.

When the list has been created, with its special columns and views, I show how to create a workflow that sends an e-mail with details about the call to the person who was not able to answer. This can be done with a list workflow or with a reusable workflow, and I describe both.

Managed Metadata
When you add a Managed Metadata column to a list and connect it to a term set, you get a useful tool for gathering information about calls, or whatever items you are using the column for. When you have the Enterprise Ready solution and the content type is used in multiple site collections, you can set different default values for the column in different lists, to make it easier for the users.

Search Vertical
I am sure you all have used search verticals on Google, to search for images, videos or  news. The SharePoint Search Center also has such search vertical, and you can add your own with a few steps. At the same time you can show the results in a custom result web part and customize the refiners to the left on the Search Center page.

The demo above is just a teaser. There are 14 more and a lot of step by step instructions. I am sure you will find something useful even if you don't want to copy the whole phone messages solution.

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

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