I've been tasked with transitioning a document control system into Sharepoint. We have a custom solution (that is, incidentally, on a platform that is no longer supported) and I'm having difficulty determining how I should approach imitating it in Sharepoint. (We've selected Sharepoint because we already have a license for it in our Organization.)
What we currently have is a really nested folder structure. Down four or 5 levels, for example:
By default, the folders are all not expanded, so it takes up little space. Everyone is used to how it is organized and are able to find anything they are looking for quickly. Files can be added quickly by clicking on the folder you want to add the file to, which brings up a window that lets you select the file you want to upload.
I've been reading that in Sharepoint, it is usually better to not have a hierarchy like this and rather to just classify documents with columns in their stead. The problem with this solution is two fold:
1) I'm not allowed to deviate from the hierarchy that exists as it would require a multi-month long bureaucratic process requiring a lot of people to agree on what it should look like before it can be built.
2) I cannot figure out how on earth I would get Sharepoint to come up with anything that remotely resembles this. I've tried Document libraries, but obviously MS doesn't want people using folders for this type of thing. Having a multi-second delay to get into the file and having it completely change the windows is an unacceptable solution. Similarly, if I were to use metadata, it seems like I would need to have either 100 columns or use one column per level of hierarchy. The former is obviously too complicated and the latter would group files together that have no relationship. (For example, a sub folder being grouped with an unrelated parent folder).
Too much deviation from this is going to be an impractical solution and I fear would be too simple for files to get lost.
Is there a way to replicate something similar to the picture above? Or am I stuck trying to convince people to switch the hierarchy they've used for 15 years?