5 Reasons to use SharePoint for Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Management

It is fair to say that with the highly regulated world we live in, for many industries, a good Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) management system and approach is the key to achieving regulatory compliance.

When people are looking to implement or improve their SOP management system, it is often difficult to see the wood for the trees. This can mean SharePoint may be overlooked as the correct tool for the job. Even though in most circumstances it is already in place and employees already have familiarity with it.

Not only should SharePoint be considered, it should be one of the main contenders. This blog post will give 5 of the many reasons why:

1) Collaboration

Successful Standard Operating Procedures require collaboration across the organization at varying levels. Both publishing experts and end users need to be comfortable with the process.

SharePoint is the perfect collaboration tool for this, making it easy to create specific sites for authoring or updating SOPs. Functions including discussion, wikis, tasks, and calendars, offer the perfect platform for pulling all the references and points of view into one place. All of these help you achieve the best quality end result.

How do you know if your policies are fully understood?

DocRead can help

2) Great Document Control within a Central SOP library

We have all been there, told to go follow a policy or procedure, only to realize when you look for it you find multiple contradicting versions, or worse have no idea where to look, or find nothing at all.

SharePoint makes it much easier to have a controlled central SOP library. Using a central library means employees will always know where to find the SOP and will be able to search easily. With the very strong version control built in, they should always get to the latest one too.

SharePoint makes it really easy to see changes and revert to previous versions if required. This makes it much easier to ensure the correct SOP is being referred to and used at all times. Full traceability of how and when an SOP changed and evolved is also available.

3) Security and Accessibility

Single or groups of SOP libraries are great, but there still needs to be some access control.

The features of SharePoint include fantastic permission options. Meaning you can truly control which employees or groups of employees can view, edit, or delete documents.

To give true flexibility on the audiences of your SOP’s, SharePoint can even be configured so that people outside your organization and on the Internet can access it.

4) SOP Distribution and Training

One thing is for sure, just having an SOP in a SharePoint library will not ensure it is read or ensure it is understood. SharePoint has some great features available as standard to aid in publishing and circulating of documents. However the true value comes in the various 3rd party SharePoint Add-ons that are available to support this process such as DocRead and DocSurvey.

  • Distribution - DocRead allows new or updated SOP’s to be distributed to any group of employees. It even tracks that they have read them, providing reminders if not.
  • Training – Using DocRead in conjunction with DocSurvey, employee comprehension of an SOP can also be ensured by adding a test.

NB: Take a look at this blog on How to improve your SOP training Using SharePoint

5) Compliance, Compliance, Compliance

Ensuring compliance is so important to every industry and process these days. Proving you are compliant is also important. Having SOP’s managed in SharePoint is an immediate plus point to any regulator and has a number of related benefits:

  • A single, easy to search database of policies and procedures. Make it much easier to demonstrate that you are doing the right things.
  • Once activated SharePoint auditing can track key events and interactions with your policy, again helping in your compliance efforts.
  • If SOP’s are created well, are easy to find in SharePoint, and distributed and trained effectively using SharePoint add-ons like DocRead and DocSurvey, this will go a long way to tightening the employee execution of these SOP’s.  Therefore ensuring that your company remains compliant and can demonstrate compliance.

NB: Take a look at his blog post on 10 Steps for Implementing Successful SOP's with SharePoint

Conclusion

The basic features offered by SharePoint mean it has the potential to be used for a SOP management system. If your organization is already using SharePoint, then you may already have all of the functions you need.