Is SharePoint a solution for your small business?

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Microsoft SharePoint is a space for collaboration and, as any gig worker can tell you, not all platforms are made equal. 

Modern business has become significantly savvier – and much more demanding of genuine results – from the time when Windows dominated the globe. After some lukewarm tech from the company was unleashed upon humanity, Microsoft invested a wad of time and cash to maintain its market standing. There’s only one way to do that as a business-focused tech company, and that’s by producing great products. Alongside its modern cloud computing tools, comprehensive Office suites, and a host of nuanced apps, Microsoft made something of lasting value in SharePoint. 

Businesses that use SharePoint have a diversity of reasons for being on the platform. For instance, co-workers can communicate, trade files, deposit files and, yes, collaborate extensively on the platform. SharePoint is also an intranet, a web content management system, and a blog, fully enabling modern notions of a full suite collaborative app. Rank collaboration remains the impetus behind employment of the platform for the majority of companies, followed closely by document sharing and management, while SharePoint’s value as an intranet scores high, too.

Businesses also cite better security than their own, price, and modern features as strong reasons for making SharePoint their collaborative platform. What those running Windows 10 (and Pro) and perhaps Microsoft 365 or other Microsoft business products know, is that the value of seamless computing across a business day’s requirements has risen sharply over no more than a decade. Something Microsoft has got very right in its current form is an enabled modern work environment with all the bells and whistles. Although now almost 20 years old, today’s SharePoint is right up there as a flagship offering.

What’s the difference between Microsoft Teams and Microsoft SharePoint? 

While both SharePoint and Microsoft Teams enable collaboration, they have different applications or focus, and a different ethos surrounds each. SharePoint came first and is more frequently part of a company’s known toolset and familiar from daily use. Microsoft Teams is essentially a next-generation version of a collaboration platform, but their differences are important.

For some, amalgamating or adding to the features of a collaborative platform as Microsoft has done with Teams has negligible value. Many businesses find SharePoint’s the right focus for the kind of collaboration they want to see staff engaged in. SharePoint might sound bland in the description as a ‘document sharing platform,’ but it’s incredibly robust and enables a team to share storage and presentation of data seamlessly as a virtual workspace.

Microsoft Teams has been designed as an all-encapsulating platform, allowing users to IM, dispatch emails, and tie into calendars and communal projects. Both because of SharePoint’s innate construct and because of broad familiarity with the app, Microsoft Teams actually works best with SharePoint integration.

SharePoint is a library where you’re allowed to talk

Previously, Microsoft’s enabling of collaboration centered on Exchange and network file drives. These would contain files everyone could access, but which only a single user could edit at any one time. Problems arose when individual users worked on files on a PC (trying to enable multiple inputs on a single file, within a single time frame) as important inputs would be overwritten, and confusion arose as to what was current and what might have been lost.

SharePoint ironed out these issues and came with several novel advantages. File Versioning resolved much of the sharing dilemma, as SharePoint would autosave revisions with their own labels. It also allowed users to comment on what their revisions specifically contained. It allowed oversight by way of a check-out monitor, too. It would warn users that a file was already being edited by another, prompt a local download, or simply allow someone to wait until current edits were filed before adding their own. Modern SharePoint sends users a notification when others’ edits are complete.

Two other features entrenched SharePoint for the working world. As the planet became accustomed to Google’s search as a resource, magnified searching and indexing from SharePoint tied into that emerging, familiar behavior. A sleek web interface also rendered the app as a potent collaborative portal, tying into just how people had begun to work together. 

How SMEs can get the most out of SharePoint

Using SharePoint, a user will set up a “site.” The (web)site is the center pivot for collaboration on the platform, and once established allows users to add content and widgets. If that sounds like content management, it was very much a CMS like WordPress early on, except SharePoint was always geared towards collaborative input in a much broader sense. Featuring a higher intelligence, SharePoint now versions files and anticipates the nature of collaborative business projects.

With the advent of cloud computing – and specifically Microsoft’s OneDrive – simple file sharing found a new home. With OneDrive having become the default stash for Microsoft users, SharePoint has become a dynamite component of Office 365 (now Microsoft 365). In this way, businesses can most effectively and economically run cloud-based collaboration through an Office subscription.

SharePoint remains a web content platform, but not in the same sense as WordPress. On SharePoint, users can indeed create pages and publish these as though building a website, but typically build a team site, and then drop web parts into it that include the principal document library, team members’ identities and inputs, a blog for communal announcements, and even data grids extrapolated from Excel.

Although it can be employed as a public web CMS, SharePoint really comes into its own when employed as an intranet. It can display work progress peppered with excerpts of corporate identity and ready-made IP, substantially boosting productivity towards a collaborative goal. Compatible with browsers, iOS and MacOS, Android and of course Windows, modern SharePoint can also add apps to a site on the platform. SharePoint is the home stadium, the playing field for a team, and enables almost any needed input on collaboration the modern workspace demands.

 

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