Over the years, SharePoint has evolved from being considered as just another file repository to being THE tool of choice for company-wide collaboration. If you are still considering whether or not to proceed with SharePoint, let me tell you about few things that, in my opinion, make it stand out from the rest of the tools out there.
Just a few years ago you had to choose one tool to manage documents, another to build your company intranet and another to manage your projects. A typical list of IT tools for an organization could look like this…
- Intranet Content Management System (3rd party tool)
- File Shares/Network Drives (within company firewall)
- External sharing (DropBox or FTP sites)
- Project Management Software (3rd party Software-as-a-Service/SaaS)
- Manual Processes/Forms (HR Onboarding, etc.)
- Employee Directory (Contacts) stored in Excel
Not anymore. SharePoint Online/Office 365 has evolved to the degree where you no longer have to choose different tools. You can easily build an awesome Intranet, create sites to manage documents or Office 365 Groups to manage projects.
2. Interactive Employee Directory
Remember the days when you had to purchase an expensive tool to manage your employee directory or circulate that pesky Excel list with employee contacts? Office 365 Delve can become your next (interactive) employee directory and it is included in your Office 365 subscription!
3. Superb Document Management
You might completely disagree with me (and it is totally normal), but SharePoint has amazing document management capabilities. From version history to check-in/check-out, to seamless integration with MS Office suite and the ability to modify files right in the browser – there is no better system to manage company documents the way you want.
4. Security Trimming
One of the biggest concerns companies have out there is that by switching to SharePoint, companies will lose the ability to keep private data private. This is a wrong assumption. In fact, SharePoint is rock solid when it comes to security. It uses a concept called “Security Trimming”. In pure English, what this means is that if you don’t have access to a specific site, you will not even see it in the navigation. Moreover, when you do a keyword search, the search results will not turn up results from the sites you don’t have access to. Same applies to Office 365 Delve, which shows latest activity feed of a user. Just like on Facebook, if you don’t have access to the content, you won’t see it in the feed.
5. Evolving Social Features
In the days when SharePoint used to be an on-premises only system, it was pretty static. Not anymore. With a myriad of social features, Office 365 Groups and evolvement of Yammer and “Follow” features, SharePoint is turning into an interactive and social system. It is becoming more fun and user-friendly to use, just like Facebook and LinkedIn.
6. External Access
This alone is a tremendous win for users and IT folks. Remember how in the old days, if you wanted to access SharePoint from your home or hotel or wanted an ability to share something externally from your SharePoint, you had to be real good friends with an IT guy? And, he had to jump through the hoops to set you up with VPN access and make SharePoint available behind the “firewall”.
Not anymore. SharePoint can now be accessed via the browser from any point of the world and external sharing is just a few clicks away.
7. Office 365 ecosystem
SharePoint, of course, is part of the Office 365 suite (ecosystem) with lots of functionality and features added all the time. Integration with OneDrive, Office 365 Groups, and a variety of Office 365 plans to suit your budget and needs speak for themselves.
8. Platform flexibility
The sky is the limit when it comes to SharePoint and Office 365. You can build your Intranet portal solely using Out of the box capabilities. But you don’t have to. If you have extra time and budget, you can configure it any way you want and there are lots of 3rd party tools out there that can help you along the way.