Using SharePoint 2016 & SharePoint Designer 2013. Online OOTB solutions only please.

Not permitted: cloud servers/365. Hubs & creating several separate site collections isn't possible.

Question: Why create sub-sites when libraries can act as info silos with permissions adjusted accordingly? Yes, everything would be in the root site - but does that matter if there's metadata and libraries?

Right now, we have a huge issue with duplicated work, lack of standardization, miscommunication and difficulty in smaller locations getting info. Workflows are our main priority this year.

Currently, all sub-sites serve the exact same purpose: policy, templates, doc retention & doc signatures. There are no impressive webpart/app parts, our use is very basic and OOTB. All sub-sites are currently based on location (not by department..which doesn't make sense to me).

I have 2 major needs:

  1. OOTB workflows: for document signature location-to-location & dept-to-dept.
  2. Navigation: 2 views of the same data. Allowing our members to view documents based on location-specific content (6 locations) & department-specific content (HR, finance, etc.).

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To me, the easiest thing would be to put all docs (everything) in a large container (single site), and tag with metadata. This would make views easier and allow for workflows..since OOTB workflows are not possible across sites.

Yes, a few libraries would need restricted permission (HR, Exec & finance). But other than that we don't care if all members see any content they want.

Is there anything wrong with my approach/understanding? Is there an OOTB way of meeting my 2 needs that's better than the above?

Thanks in advance!

1 Answer 1


Your approach seems to be quite reasonable and can be easily done. A metadata column using tags of location and a column having metadata tag of dept will be enough for end users to filter all the documents. This is the most straightforward way of using managed metadata.

OOB workflow will works for such basic file structure. The only thing I am not clear is about your meaning about workflow for document signature location-to-location & dept-to-dept. Does that mean you want the workflow will need to send the signature to different users based on the location and dept tag? If so, at least you will need to use SharePoint designer to customize the workflow. OOB workflow will not be able to do so

  • To clarify, the intent was to emphasize that workflows would need to bridge various silos. For our workflows, dispersed locations need our VP signature in HQ, these docs are always passed through relevant departments for review. Since our site collection is currently structured as 6 sub-sites for our 6 locations, this would make our target workflows difficult. Wouldn't workflows (made on Designer 2013) be easier if all sub-sites were removed and thrown into a single root site? Thanks so much for your time!
    – Au Par
    Jun 16, 2020 at 15:03
  • @AuPar If only the VP will need to sign the docs, an OOB signature workflow shall be enough. And for reviewing, as it seems the relevant dept varies for different docs, you may need a bit more work on it.
    – Jerry_MSFT
    Jun 17, 2020 at 1:33

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