Our organization has a large number of centrally managed stores. In order to control security, apply storage templates, etc. we decided to implement a "flat" architecture, using independent site collections for each store. Each store has their own collection of documents, completed forms, etc.
I'm running into a bit of trouble figuring out how to centralize their document templates (EG blank contracts). To accomplish this, I've been looking at using a central site collection for Content Search Web Parts to pull from. This seems to work to deliver links to the content and delivers useful features such as filtering on metadata so only documents relevant to a given store are served to their site collection (EG a store that does not offer a service does not see those contracts.)
Unfortunately, there are some usability issues that arise, such as formatting of the CSWP's results, Office defaulting the save location back to the library for the forms, etc. To this end, I have a couple questions, though I feel they're embarrassingly basic.
- Am I barking up the right tree with this design? This seems like an intended use case for the features, but the formatting and usability is very clumsy leading me to think I've managed to stuff a square peg into a round hole.
- If this is the best way to design this, are there good ways to work around these usability issues? Is there a way to make them function less like links and more like a remote template library?
I've looked at other mechanisms such as using content type publishing and using a document in a remote site collection as the base template for that type, cross site publishing, etc., but each has its own issues. I'm getting convinced I'm missing something basic and I think I just need a little steering to get back on the right course.