Apr 14, 2015

SharePoint 2013 Information Architecture Part 3: Publishing Portals vs. Collaboration Sites

Credera Team

Credera Team

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As we learned in the previous article in this series, there are many types of enterprise data that we need to account for when planning your business’s information architecture (IA) scheme. SharePoint helps out a ton with this by offering different site types depending on the data you are going to surface. In this blog, we will discuss the big two—publishing portals and collaboration sites—to determine which best suits your business’s needs.

Publishing Portals

A publishing portal is commonly thought of as the company’s standard intranet. This is the place where common documents are stored, such as dress code, employee handbook, benefits information, etc. Generally, this is the place to store finalized documents for broad consumption where the content doesn’t change often. When thinking about the two types of data discussed from the previous post, publishing portals best display institutional controlled data.

Collaboration Sites

On the other side of the equation, we have collaboration sites. This is where users are able to collaborate on team projects and support consumer controlled data. Collaboration sites facilitate information sharing, whether that’s organizing the company picnic or small groups working on a project. Content changes and grows rapidly here but each piece only applies to a smaller audience. The content is more ad hoc as users are posting comments and feedback on other information.

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Below, we can see how these differ at a high level:

Information Architecture

Multiple IA strategies are available depending on your business, type of information, and amount of content you plan to show on your SharePoint site. Smaller companies may not choose to have a publishing portal or collaboration site, but a hybrid containing both site types. Larger companies may choose to have both and separate them out as separate web applications or even separate farms completely. It is important to think about the end goal when building out your AI plan—what it is your SharePoint site is trying to accomplish. Each of these site types have different IA needs and focusing on the appropriate areas will ensure success. In the final two posts in this series, we will dive deeper into the IA needs for each of these site types.

If you have questions or comments about this blog post, or other aspects of SharePoint development/information architecture, please leave a comment below, tweet us at @CrederaMSFT, or contact us online.

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