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This chapter is from the book

Adding Value by Using Alerts

As users realize the benefits of a SharePoint solution, sites can grow quickly with information, users, and applications being added and changed continuously. Instead of having to comb sites and workspaces for modifications on a regular basis, a user can set up alerts so that they are only notified of changes in the information of interest to them. SharePoint alerts can be set to notify users of changes to documents, sites, lists (announcements, contacts, events, tasks, surveys, and links), individual items in the lists, news items, document libraries, and portal users. In addition, an alert can be set to notify users when the results of a saved query change. With so many possibilities, it is important that alerts be set up to provide the user with beneficial information as opposed to generating a lot of messages that may get ignored.

Alerts can be used by various groups within the organization. The Marketing Department can use a SharePoint document library as a repository for employee-submitted newsletter articles. The editor of the newsletter can create an alert to be notified when documents are added so that they can be reviewed and incorporated into the final newsletter. A SharePoint administrator, responsible for managing the hardware used to provide SharePoint services, can set up an alert to be notified when sites and users are added, to assist in controlling resource allocation. The Sales Department can use SharePoint Contacts for storing customer information. When there is a change to customer information, the salespeople can be alerted so that they can follow up and take appropriate action. Salespersons can set up alerts for their own specific customers so that they don't get bombarded with alerts for customers who are not their responsibility.

A project team can use SharePoint Tasks to delegate work to the individuals on the project. The individuals can update the task information as they complete various aspects of the project. At the end of the week, the project manager wants to know what was accomplished during the week for the weekly status report, so the project manager can set up a weekly alert on the project task list.

An engineer in the IT department has created a Discussion Board to get assistance from the other engineers regarding best practices for migrating an Exchange 5.5 server to Exchange 2003. The engineer creates an alert to get notified when someone posts a response as opposed to checking the discussion board throughout the day to see whether anyone has replied to the request.

A group of people collaborating on a research project can use a SharePoint Team site for collaborating on the project, and set up alerts to be notified when information is added to the site. When one of the members finds a site with information that can be used for the project, he can add the site address to the SharePoint Links section of the project Team Site. Because the team members have created an alert to be notified when links have been added, they are notified and can then check out the new information.

A Customer Service department can use a SharePoint Issues list for tracking and responding to customer problems. The department manager can create alerts on the issues list to be notified when issues are created and modified, to keep tabs on those issues taking too long to respond to.

Announcements can be used for distributing important company information. All users might want to set up an alert for changes or additions to Announcements to ensure that they don't miss any important information.

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