Sign in to your company’s’ corporate SharePoint server site or Office 365, and click on SharePoint or click on the sites in app launcher navigation or the top bar. These are the different entry points to SharePoint.
SharePoint is the premier collaborative server environment, which provides tools for sharing documents and data across different departments inside a company’s network. Launched in 2001 it is primarily sold as a document management and storage system, but since wits highly configurable, the usage varies substantially between organizations. Now with office 365 in place SharePoint is affordable to many more. This article SharePoint for Dummies helps you get a quick overview of vast SharePoint and its functionalities.
SharePoint is not a tool, it’s a Platform
However, to start off with, let’s be clear that SharePoint is not a tool/Standalone application but it’s a Platform! What makes SharePoint often confusing is that it is not only a software program but a platform for multiple kinds of programs. It’s a Platform that can be used to build sites, collaborate, Share Ideas, Discover Connections, Discuss, Stay in Sync and Store information. For this same reason, we do not store or install SharePoint on our desktop; we install it on the server and access it using a browser, Mobile device or other applications like Word, Excel etc.
SharePoint can be referred to as one or more SharePoint products or technologies including SharePoint Online, SharePoint Server, SharePoint Foundation, SharePoint Designer 2013, OneDrive for Business Sync etc.
Also Read: Top 10 Benefits of SharePoint Online
Build Intranet/ Internet Websites
SharePoint is used to build sites. People come on these sites to collaborate or work together, save documents, find information and so on. Sharepoint powers your intranet throughout your connected workplace. It is a widely used platform for combining information and business process into a single intranet system. An effective SharePoint intranet can act as a portal through which employees interact with a company’s information. The first thing an employee see while they log on to their computer system is the intranet’s home page which should a centralized location where they can find the company-wide announcements, reminders on upcoming events, different tools they use regularly to achieve their daily goals. A well-designed SharePoint intranet software can meet these demands and more due to the scope of its offerings and flexibility to its software.
SharePoint contains team collaboration capabilities including project scheduling, social collaboration, shared mailboxes and project related document storage. While working together, the Different group of people builds different communities on these sites using different themes (Say HR, Finance etc.). You can manage permissions by granting/denying access to different groups to different people. The different ways that SharePoint development provides collaboration are:
— The team only access: Unless intentionally restricted by the admin any employee can create a SharePoint instance. Thus, employees have the flexibility to have SharePoint instances for departments, teams, divisions, the entire enterprise or just for the individual themselves.
— Central location: SharePoint is the central virtual location where employees can meet. This means that the team is never far away regardless of their real current location. They can chat, video conference, complete tasks, and compare calendars.
— Simultaneous editing: Since SharePoint uses the sync protocols similar to that of OneDrive each and every edit of a document is saved continuously and instantly to the cloud. Apart from storage SharePoint server allows more than one member to access, edit and annotate a document simultaneously.
— Tasks set for the team: To achieve a particular goal the team members will be asked to perform specific tasks. The team leader will have the tools to set up individual tasks and assign them to team members. This often supports efficient and effective collaboration.
— Shared calendar, notebook, chat, publish and other tools: SharePoint is the most effective collaboration tool when integrated with Office 365, thus it enhances the collaborative ability of an enterprise team.
Document Management System
When you start working as a group there are a lot of content involved in the process and SharePoint helps to store these content on these sites and thus allowing to manage and organize these content centrally and thereby avoiding version conflicts and other usual document management issues that are usually encountered on a daily basis in an organization. These features make SharePoint a great document management system.
If you are using Office 365 Business then you already own a SharePoint Online, therefore utilizing it will save you a great deal of license, maintenance, hardware, and upgrade costs.
[To comprehend better, think this way; usually, you work on an excel/word/PowerPoint file and save it in your desktop and then share it with your team by sending it as an email. With SharePoint in place, all you do is that you save this file on SharePoint and not on your desktop, by which you can easily collaborate with your team and even browse these on a browser using office 365 or view these on a mobile device. You realize SharePoint takes collaboration to new heights when you know that you can even share your calendar or your team’s calendar while working on your outlook with SharePoint. Thus SharePoint enhances each and every application like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, InfoPath, Visio etc. when used along with SharePoint].
Since a huge repository of content is now stored, people come to search and find these documents using different criteria. Using SharePoint’s advanced Search capabilities, it’s really easy to find a document in a single click.
Also Read: How to Migrate SharePoint 2010 to Office 365
Now that this whole content has been stored centrally on SharePoint, It allows people working together to generate various types of reports like KPIs using the available data. Thus, SharePoint can be used for Business Intelligence (BI) purposes. SharePoint BI allows accessing all the information required and thus enhance decision making. With proper data collection, organizing and reporting one can build meaningful business strategies that are worth for the business to reach heights.
Apart from all these, SharePoint has the capability to build custom solutions based on your specific requirements. For instance, you may add different workflows as per your requirement using SharePoint. This aspect of SharePoint gives it a whole new dimension that allows you to solve a wide variety of problems like managing the tenders with the help of an e-tendering software, or a performance management system to simplify the HR activities etc.
SharePoint is a mainstay in today’s’ world of business since many companies use this service to host their data. Though SharePoint is not a standalone application, it enhances the applications that you have been using, like Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc. by giving you the liberty to collaborate in a way that you’ve never done before. In addition, all the above features let you use SharePoint as a Document Management Solution, a Business Intelligence solution, a collaboration Platform and more importantly a program to build custom solutions! SharePoint for dummies, SharePoint 2016 for dummies, SharePoint online for dummies etc. helps people looking to manage their business environment and build business apps, and of course, SharePoint knowledge is critical.
Aufait is a SharePoint development company in India offering end-to-end custom SharePoint development and SharePoint migration services to organizations worldwide. Contact us for custom solutions on SharePoint or require SharePoint consulting or support.