Have you ever heard the word “SharePoint”?
Maybe you saw it in your organization’s 365 Portal or you read it on one of those articles about Microsoft Technologies?
You might also have overheard it from those in charge of website development or just have happened to stumble upon it while searching for a new productivity tool?
So, what is SharePoint exactly?
If you are any of the following:
- A stakeholder looking for a reliable, scalable platform for your business
- A consultant getting up to speed on cloud technologies and services
- A regular guy (or gal!) who’s just curious about what SharePoint is
This article is for you!
Definition and Use Cases
What is SharePoint? Is it a website? A cloud storage where you can store files? Is it a process automation tool? Or how about a personal blog site?
A resounding YES to all of the above – and EVEN MORE.
At its very core, SharePoint is built as a PLATFORM equipped with all the above-mentioned functionalities. The modules inside SharePoint enable organizations to create their own solutions, particularly website solutions.
Below are just some of the common use-cases on using SharePoint:
|Intranet Portals||Intranet Portals are mainly used as a ‘hub’ for centralizing and presenting information. These can include news, announcements, important links, calendars, dashboards, documents, and collaboration.|
|Self Service Portal|
SharePoint can be built as a Self Service Portal for users. Business processes such as Leave Requests, Expense Reimbursements, and Travel Requests among others can be automated in SharePoint itself through the use of Lists and SharePoint Workflows.
Users can submit entries and SharePoint will run approval workflows for the entries to get the required approvals / processing for the said entries.
|Document Management System|
A Document Management System is a portal mainly used for storing and managing documents.
With SharePoint, you can organize your documents by tagging them with your required metadata to allow for easier search and discovery. It also allows you to control who has access to specific sets of documents; to create approval workflows for documents; and to manage and maintain versions of documents.
The main purpose of a Collaboration Portal is to allow users to work together:
|Business Intelligence||Business Intelligence in SharePoint allows for integration with other Microsoft Products. User capabilities range from creating and managing information to sharing, updating, and keeping track of all relevant business information.|
SharePoint has its own Search Engine that allows users to easily discover needs-based relevant content in all SharePoint Sites.
Users can also use the various filters and features to further refine searches. For example, users can search for all documents tagged with “Proposal” keyword and categorize each document by date.
Why use SharePoint?
You might be thinking: “If users can create their own solution from SharePoint, why not just choose customized development?”
That’s a good question.
Everything you can do with SharePoint, you can do with your own customized solution.
But with custom development, you will be more or less building your site from the ground-up. You need to set up your foundation, choose the plug-ins and APIs you need to use, and plan how it will all work together.
That’s good if you have the time and resources for it, but what if you just want your site to be available in a short amount of time?
That’s where SharePoint will come in.
SharePoint already provides all the features necessary to cater to YOUR needs. Organizations can build upon these instead of creating their own – and customize it accordingly!
Consider this analogy when comparing custom development with SharePoint:
Custom development is like working with sand – where you can control, mold, and shape the sand to anyway you want to create what you want. There’s practically no limit to what you can do with it! But still, you’re building each part by hand which can take considerable time and effort, no matter how skilled you are.
With SharePoint, it’s like working with a block of Legos. You have pre-determined pieces that fit into each other (these are your SharePoint features/modules) AND you’re not building from scratch.
Rather, you’re simply assembling the pieces together until you can come up with the finished product – but in a MUCH shorter amount of time and effort to do so!
And there’s more..
Like those pre-made commercial Lego products and sets you can purchase, SharePoint also has those pre-made, ready-to-go templates and tools to empower your organization into one impressive digital workplace you deserve.
From Team Sites and Form Center to Project Management and Contacts/Calendar Apps, each of these cloud solutions is geared up for instant implementation but flexible enough to allow you to add all the bells and whistles your heart desires.
Current State and Next Steps
SharePoint is a powerful platform that can allow your organization to easily locate information, improve collaboration, automate your business process, and much more!
Interested in trying it out?
If this article has sparked your interest in SharePoint, why not try it out?