Information Architecture in the Modern World: Chasm One – Managing Content Types

We’re in an interesting time in the SharePoint world. Rather than waiting for three year product cycles like we did in the past, we’re along for the ride. To me, it feels like we’re nearing the end of one of the cycles, as modern SharePoint has almost fully taken hold – at least in Office 365.

There are challenges here, and we have several chasms to cross before we’re in the promised land. (And by the time we get there, the promised land will have moved on another few hundred miles.)

Chasm One – Managing Content Types

Many smaller organizations – and even some large ones – only used one Site Collection for most things in SharePoint. When this was the case, we could set up Content Types in the root site in the Site Collection, then every subsite could use those Content Types and Site Columns easily because of the inheritance model.

If we needed wider coverage of the information architecture (more than one Site Collection) we used the Content Type Hub to manage Content Types which we needed to use across Site Collections. But in many cases, the Content Type Hub wasn’t needed, as there were few Content Types shared across Site Collections or there were too few Site Collections to drive its use.

If you work with or in a large organization, you may say no one would be using SharePoint this way – and you’d be wrong. There are many different types of SharePoint implementations, and I get to see a lot of them, there is no one-size-fits-all thinking here.

Now that we are moving to a flatter site topology, the Content Type Hub is really important. In most organizations – as part of the move to modern and to take advntage of new innovations like Hub Sites – we’re working to flatten those old topologies.

This means we need that antiquated Content Type Hub to be able to syndicate our information architecture across Site Collections. It’s not really up to the joib, and it hasn’t gotten any love from the Product Group in years. But it does get the job done, if you are patient and plan accordingly.

What about Site Scripts and Site Designs, you may ask? Well, those are great, but out of reach of your average power user. To use them, you tend to need a developer mindset (JSON, scripting, oh my), and that means getting IT into the game. This may be easy in your organization, but it’s hard in many others.

This push-me–pull-you between users of the platform and IT continues…

As it happens, I’m speaking about this topic at the SharePoint Conference in May in Las Vegas. If you haven’t registered yet, you really should. This is going to be a big one, with SO many announcements from Microsoft about modern SharePoint and Microsoft 365. If you use code MANDERSON, you can even save $50!

Wait, you say. You said there are several chasms! Well, stay tuned. I’ll get there…

from Marc D Anderson’s Blog