What is Microsoft SharePoint and How Can it Help My Business?

Ideally, all office collaboration would take place in a single room. That way, team members could share and edit their work without any delay or confusion. Unfortunately, many of today’s businesses are spread out over cities and even countries, making it difficult for employees to work together and complete projects. And unless you count your favorite mall’s food court, there aren’t many places where local and international stations can sit at the same table.

How does a company’s life look like without an intranet?

  • Communications & collaboration heavily dependent on email & attachments. This means that you never know which the latest version of a document is and projects information is “all over the place”. This in turn cause email and/or storage overload for your friend at the IT department
  • Company assets (i.e. info, knowledge) are decentralized and/or not available. In other words, it resides either in employees’ PCs or in independent silos. This also means that knowledge/people skills are not searchable, and serious compliance risks (i.e. who has access to what information?
  • Business processes are likely to be inefficient. They are likely to be paper based, time consuming and inefficient, and they are not very likely to have any audit controls to measure accountability or bottlenecks

Your solution? Microsoft SharePoint.

What is SharePoint?

  • SharePoint is a platform solution architected to meet a wide array of business needs, or “workloads”
  • SharePoint is a software platform, not a product. The same way MS Office is not a product. Office products are Excel, PowerPoint, etc
  • SharePoint is a large set of functionality bundled together in a single platform

But, what does it do?

  • It helps you build websites. You can build personal, team, project, customer, and/or vendor facing websites.
  • It helps you work with other people in projects and documents. Team members can edit each other’s contributions or chat in an online discussion board. With SharePoint, conference calls and confusing mass e-mails are a thing of the past.
  • It gives you a place to put and organize your company content. Sadly, the shared drives of many business’ servers resemble those closets you see in movies, the ones with random clutter that spill out and bury anyone unlucky enough to open the door. It’s all too easy to misplace or rename files when there are no controls over how important documents are shared. Before long, you end up with a confusing and ultimately useless drive full of shared work. However, Microsoft SharePoint gives you the tools to create special web sites for projects or departments allowing team members to easily add, edit, and manage group files. Use of these intranet portals can be limited so only relevant groups or departments have access to pertinent files.
  • It lets you search for content and people. How knows about XYZ in our company? This is a question you can find an answer to by using SharePoint search engine
  • It helps bring your information together & analyze it. SharePoint allows you to create dynamic dashboards and reports that are easily shared with internal and external team members
  • It helps automate business process.  SharePoint has the power to create intelligent workflows to perform many menial tasks without your help, allowing you to focus on the more fun parts of your job. For example, you can use a workflow to overhaul your document approval process. After you designate a few simple workflow commands, SharePoint will automatically send the file and an e-mail to approvers notifying them of their task. Once the approvers sign off on the file, SharePoint will send a notification e-mail back to you. It is a neat process, especially since you were getting some quality putting practice in your office the entire time.

Really? It does all that? Yeap!

It’s like having a global network share one computer, just with more elbow room. And if 75% of Fortune 500 companies are using SharePoint maybe you should too.

Are you interested in making Microsoft SharePoint a part of your business? Do you have a team project nightmare SharePoint could have helped you avoid?

The SharePoint experts at OSI can help! Like SharePoint, we are in the business of giving you the technological tools you need to grow your business and strengthen your communication, both with your customers and your employees. Click here or contact us to learn more.

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