SharePoint is a document management and collaboration tool developed by Microsoft. It’s basically an intranet and content management system that is used for internal purposes to assist with bringing an organisation together.
SharePoint is comprised of a multipurpose set of technologies that has tight integration with Office 365 as well as handy document management capabilities.
According to Microsoft, SharePoint is used by 78% of Fortune 500 companies. Between 2006 and 2011, Microsoft sold over 36.5 million user licenses.
Why Microsoft SharePoint is important
SharePoint’s core functions are a) to store documents in a more effective format than a regular folder system, and b) bring an organisation together so that everyone receives critical information that’s relevant to them.
Here are some benefits your organisation can get from using SharePoint:
Context around documents and folders
A traditional document storage facility is usually a folder on a server somewhere. The reason why SharePoint is more effective than the traditional method is because it brings context around the folder itself by tracking versions of the document. For example, in a traditional folder setup, you can’t have a running version history for each document or see any changes to the file name. Whereas with SharePoint, there’s more information provided about the file. It’s not just some file sitting in a folder; it’s an evolving piece of information that has a history as well as context.
Enable constant communication with all staff
In the past you might send a group email and copy everyone. The problem with that approach is a lot of information gets ignored or even lost, so some people might not get the information they need. For example, maybe you lost a company document and you missed an important discussion. Or maybe you did read it but afterwards it was very difficult to find and reference that information. SharePoint brings collaboration to the table so that all staff can see the important information and communication accordingly.
Store all information in a central location
This can range from things such as updates from the CEO to important meetings or events. SharePoint brings all the information to one internal place so staff can quickly find the information they need. Other use cases might be general warnings about particular customers or even incidents that everyone needs to be aware of. With SharePoint, simply post the message and everyone can access it from there. Forget email or announcement boards; simply post it on SharePoint.
SharePoint is really designed around getting the organisation into a central point where they can collaborate. This is particularly important for organisations that are not geographically connected. With some branches working in a very isolated format, SharePoint provides staff with the ability to connect with each other via a portal. Where in the past some staff might only interact with the company during a company meeting, SharePoint brings those people together so everyone can work together, all the time. Collaboration fosters innovation and builds a company culture that spawns creative ideas.