SharePoint Online: An introduction

SharePoint Online

SharePoint is a web-based collaborative platform that integrates with Microsoft Office, launched in 2001 and primarily sold as a document management and storage system. But what sets it apart is the way its architecture is highly configurable, and its usage varies substantially amongst organizations. 

In this article, we will explore the types of issues SharePoint – specifically its Online variant – was designed to solve, some specific features that SharePoint offers regarding collaboration and why it is essential to have an expert involved if you are thinking of implementing SharePoint.  

DMS iTech Fun Fact: According to Microsoft, SharePoint boasts 190 million users across 200,000 customer organizations. 

To begin with, let us look at the various editions of Share Point, each of which boasts distinct functions. 

  • SharePoint Standard – This builds on Microsoft SharePoint Foundation in a few key product areas, including Sites, Communities, Content, Search and Composites
  • SharePoint Server – Provided to organizations that seek greater control over SharePoint’s behaviour or design, installed on customers’ IT infrastructure; Standard and Enterprise editions are available. 
  • SharePoint Enterprise – Built upon the SharePoint Standard, the features of this edition can be unlocked by providing an additional license key. 
  • Share Point Online – The focus of this article, this hosted variant of SharePoint is typically bundled in Microsoft 365 subscriptions but can be licensed separately; it has the advantage of not needing to maintain one’s servers, but as a result, lacks the customization options of a self-hosted installation of SharePoint

What it is Supposed to Address 

Every day, you face issues in your company that could easily be solved with the proper deployment – but this can be tricky since a complete solution might be out of budget, your IT team might be overloaded with projects, or you do not know what the best ways to solve the problem are. 

Several red flags will let you know it is time to act, whether to start using an intranet or update the functionalities you already have in place. Let us now look at some of the issues we have seen our customers dealing with and solved them by implementing SharePoint

  • Document Overload, Mismanagement and Lack of Compliance – Using SharePoint Online, virtual working groups allowed these companies’ employees to work collaboratively in a more efficient way.  
  • Simplification of Employee Evaluation Processes – Some larger organizations required an efficient system that made employee evaluations comply with legal requirements and company objectives; moving them to SharePoint Online enabled these companies to conduct employee evaluations with a functional and logical tool that included notifications, reports and graphics that made everything easier. 
  • Internal Communications Once Relegated to Email Only – Many companies needed better ways to collaborate and communicate, and adding SharePoint into the mix made an enormous impact on their efficiencies. 

Being that we just mentioned “collaboration,” let us look at some of the specific features that SharePoint, in general, offers which address this topic. 

SharePoint is a widely used enterprise-level platform that offers rich collaboration capabilities, in addition to content and project management, helping curb collaboration challenges both on-premises and in the cloud (as a standalone solution or as part of the Office 365 suite). 

What does SharePoint bring to the table as a collaboration platform, exactly? 

First, it is convenient for establishing collaboration on both a small and large scale. Secondly, it can be applied to: 

  • Team-Based Collaboration – SharePoint can create a virtual workspace with team-only access. 
  • Company-Wide Collaboration – SharePoint can support cross-departmental collaboration through numerous tools like content management systems; SharePoint intranets can also help corporate life through communities, which creates “weak ties” that are valuable for boosting collaboration. 

Don’t Fall Down the Rabbit Hole: Turn to DMS iTech. 

On the surface, the question appears ridiculous: why would a company implement SharePoint if it has not already determined its actual benefits and overall value? 

In our day-to-day conversations with other technical and business figures, we are amazed at how often they cannot identify and quantify the actual ROI (return on investment) they see in SharePoint. Even more impressive is how many companies have not fully realized their SharePoint environment to reduce overall business costs and increase productivity. 

Therefore, we stress working with a professional like DMS iTech when you decide to implement SharePoint. We can help you utilize SharePoint more efficiently and educate you on some of the natural strengths of the platform.  

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