What is SharePoint?
In short, SharePoint is a business collaboration platform. It enables employees to publish, share, search, analyse and manage information all through a browser. This video gives one example of how you might use it:
What Can SharePoint Do For Me?
Ever wondered why you can search the entire Internet in 0.2 seconds, and yet finding information in your own organisation is next to impossible?
SharePoint plugs into your existing intranet, file shares, databases and applications to become the Google for your company, One central location to search for everything, regardless of where it might be stored.
Collaboration and Knowledge Management
How do you make sure knowledge stays in the company if employees leave? How can you make sure knowledge is shared across the organisation instead of having staff repeatedly solve the same problem, simply because they don’t know a solution already exists?
With SharePoint you can create community sites (sometimes called communities of interest, or communities of practice) where staff can share knowledge and best practices. You can create blogs and wikis, and each employee gets a personalised home page - just like you are already familiar with in Facebook or LinkedIn – but with all the appropriate security, and none of the risks, of using public collaboration tools.
Document Management and Compliance
Have you ever been stuck waiting for someone to finish making changes to a document before you can add your contribution? Or worse still, edited a document only to find someone else has accidentally deleted your edits because they didn’t realise they had the wrong version?
SharePoint provides one central place to store documents, track changes, group related documents, retain, archive and manage records. SharePoint 2010 also adds new features supporting eDiscovery – helping you find and place holds on information subject to legal process and enables several people to edit the same document simultaneously meaning you never have to wait for your colleagues again!
Manage Teams and Projects
Coordinating and managing teams and complex projects can be a tricky task, but SharePoint enables everyone to work together effectively with shared team calendars, contact lists, task lists and document libraries. SharePoint becomes the central information hub that staff collaborate around, rather than having documents and information locked away on personal hard drives and in email. What’s more, if you’re a mobile worker, SharePoint Workspace let you take that information and continue to work on it while you are offline.
Track Your Business Performance
How often have you gone to a meeting and looked at print-outs of charts or data, and then tried to figure out who has the most up-to-date or correct version? SharePoint enables users to upload charts and data visualisations they have created in Excel and share them across the company without sharing the underlying data set or formulas. This means you get one “version of the truth” that the whole company can use to track your monthly business goals and understand how their performance contributes to the overall number.
How Can I Try It?
You have the choice of a traditional in-house deployment, or a cloud-based subscription offering.
The hosted cloud offering has the advantage that you can get started right away, there are no up-front licence fees or hardware costs to pay, and you don’t need to spend time and money training in-house IT staff on how to operate SharePoint before you begin. Sign-up for a 30 day free trial, or learn more about our hosted offering first.
If you prefer in-house deployment we can provide you with a 180-day trial licence for SharePoint and share our expertise to help you get up and running with useful sites and solutions tailored to your business for a small cost. To find out more, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.