What is SharePoint and How SMEs Can Utilise it Best

First launched in 2001, SharePoint is a platform that integrates with Microsoft Office. There are estimated to be several million users around the world.

Primarily designed as a storage and management system, the platform is highly configurable. There are several editions of SharePoint, which each have different functions.

SharePoint is not a single software program. It is essentially a platform upon which several programs can run. It is a back-end system that ties PCs and mobile devices together across a business, allowing employees to communicate and collaborate with ease.

SharePoint is not a single software program. It is essentially a platform upon which several programs can run. It is a back-end system that ties PCs and mobile devices together across a business, allowing employees to communicate and collaborate with ease.

SharePoint is not a single software program. It is essentially a platform upon which several programs can run. It is a back-end system that ties PCs and mobile devices together across a business, allowing employees to communicate and collaborate with ease.

Why choose SharePoint?

Flexible and configurable to suit the needs of your business, SharePoint can be used to:

  • Create websites
  • Store and organise documents and information
  • Share and access information

SharePoint can be accessed from any device, providing you have a browser installed. The platform is compatible with PCs, Macs and mobile devices.

SharePoint is fully customisable so you can make it work for you, rather than rely on an out of the box solution.

What are the different editions of SharePoint?

There are several editions of SharePoint and the one most suited to you will depend on the nature of your business, plus what you wish to use the platform for.

SharePoint Foundation

The first edition of SharePoint, Foundation is no longer available separately. The free platform enabled the creation of documents, lists, calendars and web pages which could then  be shared and collaborated on across a business.

SharePoint Online

Cloud-based and hosted by Microsoft, SharePoint Online is the ideal solution for sharing documents, data and information with colleagues and customers in businesses of all sizes. This version can be purchased as either a standalone piece of software, or alternatively as part of an Office 365 plan.

SharePoint Server

Managed on the premises of a business, Server provides greater control over the features and functionality of the platform. With all the features of SharePoint Foundation, plus additional functionality such as Enterprise Content Management, personal sites, newsfeed, business intelligence, it is the ideal solution for business use.

SharePoint Designer

Last released in 2013, Designer is able to build workflow-enabled solutions. It can also be used to edit external content.

What is SharePoint used for?

There are a number of uses for SharePoint, which will vary depending on the specific needs of your business:

Collaboration

Access project statuses, workflows, client histories and more on the go or at your desk

Documents

Easily access and share documents from a central point. Collaborate on a live document and track updates without the need for several versions

Intranet

Customise dashboards to suit different departments or roles across your business, with specified access to news, tasks, information and announcements. Access rights can be set to ensure everyone has access to only the information they need

Extranet

You can use SharePoint to set up a site that you wish to share with stakeholders outside your business, such as a third party working on a project, a supply chain or a customer service provider. You can provide them with relevant date or information, whilst providing a place for them to upload any information you need about theirs

Websites

You can use SharePoint to build and manage a site, or use it as a CMS (Content Management System) to update and manage your information such as product descriptions, page text and images

Business Intelligence

Comprehensive access to your brand or business data through SharePoint allows you to use the insights to discover trend and patterns, then make informed business decisions based upon these findings. It can display trends over time and produce charts and graphs which can then be shared.

To find out more information on the benefits of cloud-based data management systems, contact us today for advice on how the cloud can help your business.

 

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