SharePoint: What it is and why you should use it
Staff working from home and remote workers need tools to share and collaborate. Teams want to get jobs done efficiently and they need to work together to achieve this. Microsoft SharePoint is a great tool for making that happen.
SharePoint is used widely across numerous sectors. These include education, law and government and amongst tech companies.
If you are a Microsoft 365 subscriber on a business plan, then you already have access to SharePoint. This is Microsofts document management and collaboration tool. Wherever your users are working they can connect to SharePoint through their browser. SharePoint streamlines the process of tracking documents and workflows. But that is not all the platform can be used for.
SharePoint Core Features
In using SharePoint businesses get several benefits.
You can, of course, store documents on a server. But SharePoint allows you to create workflows, view document history, have files checked in and out, and much more
SharePoint can greets users with a screen that shows:
- what they interact with most frequently;
- the sites that they are following;
- featured and most used links;
- a search bar;
Access to important links, relevant sites and recent activity on the home page helps keep people on track and productive.
Within SharePoint you can also create lists to collect items together. These might include contacts, links, task lists or announcements.
As part of Microsoft 365 SharePoint seamlessly integrates with other Microsoft products. For example, a team might use a shared OneNote notebook to store notes. The team can access this via a link on SharePoint.
SharePoint sites acts a centralised location for teams to find out what they need. They can act as an intranet for your whole business and the departments within it. For example, HR might set up its own site where staff in that department can view and edit important forms. Staff from other departments can then access these via a link. This allows everybody to find the information they need quickly. The latest news from each department can be added to the main page. This way, everyone is kept up to date.
And there’s much, much more………
Emailing documents around a team for updates and changes is inefficient. This often leads to duplication. Or users not saving changes. With SharePoint you keep one, current document. This can be accessed and edited by everyone with the correct permissions. Version control means you know who added what when and you can revert to old versions if needs be.
Its easy to locate any documents on a site with advanced search capabilities. Users can even search for content across every site they have access to. Centralising your electronic assets avoids documents being inaccessible or lost because they are on an individual’s PC or laptop.
Site owners and admins can track analytic such as number of views, popular items, user interaction etc. Having all this data in one place makes it easier to review. Admins can see what is being used and who is accessing what.
The News feature can be used to keep teams engaged and informed. All staff can post updates or share documents and report in the newsfeed section of the site.
Files can be uploaded and accessed from any location. You can use any browser including Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome to access SharePoint. There is even an app so users can connect using their mobile devices.
SharePoint combines many different features into a single, highly customisable platform. Inefficient, paper-based processes can be replaced with a centralised document management system. This limits business bottlenecks and can help with accountability.
SharePoint helps you build personal, team, project, customer, and/or vendor-facing websites. Avoid long conference calls or confusing, lengthy email threads. Chat online and track edits.
Business processes can also be automated. SharePoint can be used to create intelligent workflows for simple tasks. For example it can automatically send files to line managers for approval. Once completed, the producer is notified and they can then proceed with the approved document.
Success with SharePoint
If you are going to adopt SharePoint it is worth investing the time to get it right. You’ll need to plan your implementation and train your staff to use it effectively. Businesses that have a lack of internal IT resources might struggle to build workflows or customise certain features.
If you’ve not got internal resources then we’d recommend getting expert help. As Micrsoft365 experts we can help you introduce SharePoint and put in place customisation and workflows wherever they might help you.
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