SharePoint is one of many information management systems on the market and remains popular due to it being a respected Microsoft product. It can be purchased without a specific purpose in mind and is often part of a larger bundle in many IT departments’ software packages.
There are plenty of things users need to know about SharePoint and below is a closer look at just a few.
Platform not Application
Users should remember and consider SharePoint a platform rather than an application. This is because it’s packed out with features that can be used by organisations to actually build further applications. An application can be described as a number of features combined to give an organisation a further capability such as a social computing capability for example. SharePoint is definitely rich in features but they’re not designed or linked together in anyway which gives an organisation a distinct capability, until you start working with it.
Taking a closer look at its social computing capability SharePoint actually does provide all the necessary features including micro-blogging, discussion boards, wikis and blogs but they’re not all linked in any specific way and so you would need to build a customised user interface on top of the features or consider extended SharePoint with a third party application.
SharePoint for File Sharing
SharePoint is by no means reaching the end of popularity but new developments are beginning to cross its path. Service such as box/net and others are beginning to threaten SharePoint with their cloud-based file-sharing delivery. SharePoint’s core usage is for file-sharing within internal networks and despite the competition this is still one of the main things that the system does well.
SharePoint Document Libraries
SharePoint Document Libraries have a huge advantage over other types of file sharing and can limit many of the problems with other methods. The problem with sharing files by using e-mail attachments is that if a document is to be edited but needs sending to several colleagues there will be issues finding the most recent version. Network file sharing can also be a problem as it can be hard to locate individual files in large network folders and there’s no simple method for content approval.
Storing files in SharePoint Document Libraries gives many advantages as it allows for custom properties to be applied to documents so more information can be stored. This makes them easier to organize and retrieve, especially if you need access to a large group of linked documents. Libraries also allow you to use shared or personal view options to sort and filter documents which are needed. SharePoint also makes discussing documents straightforward with its Web Discussions option. Most importantly content approval can be used which allows site managers to approve or reject documents which are trying to be added into any given library.
Many organisations have made the switch to cloud-based file sharing services which may seem good in the short term but can’t really compare to the all-round power and performance of SharePoint. Although its main functionality is file sharing there are many more applications available.
Raymond King is an app developer and small business owner from Frodsham. He uses SharePoint business systems in his office for file sharing and more.