An Introduction to SharePoint: What Does it Do for Your Business?
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An introduction to SharePoint is important to understanding the industry standard in file management and collaboration. Microsoft SharePoint is a web application platform for the enterprise and internet, first launched in 2001. SharePoint has generally been associated with enterprise intranet content management and document management, but the latest versions offer significantly more internal and external collaboration, data insights, and workflow capabilities than previous versions. SharePoint is typically customized to meet specific business requirements and integrated with other applications and datasets.

introduction to sharepoint

SharePoint is comprised of a multipurpose set of web technologies with a common technical infrastructure. SharePoint offers a familiar user interface that is closely integrated with other Microsoft Office applications like office and customer relationship management (CRM). SharePoint's out-of-the-box core functionality can be used to enable intranet and extranet portals, social networks, document and file management, collaboration, external facing websites, enterprise search and business intelligence and insights.

An introduction to SharePoint: Structure

SharePoint Site: A collection of pages, lists and other information to present a set of related information, also known as a workspace.

Windows SharePoint Services: SharePoint specific functionality including Team Sites, Meeting Workspaces, Document Workspaces, and Personal Sites (My Site).

Site Collection: Consists of a Top Level Site and Child/Sub-Directory Sites.

An Introduction to SharePoint: Web Parts and Components

Document library: Document libraries can store file types including documents, spreadsheets, powerpoint slides, Adobe Acrobat .pdfs, etc. with metadata, version and file detail.

Picture library: Picture libraries store digital photos and graphics and feature a special interface for viewing images.

Wiki page library: A library configured to manage connected wiki pages.

Form library: A library used to manage a group of XML-based business forms.

List Web part: Add items to a list with metadata for enhanced search.

Discussion board: A list web part configured for announcements.

Contacts: A list web part configured for contact or user data.

Links: A list web part configured for URL links.

Calendar: A list web part configured to be displayed as a graphical calendar.

Tasks: A list web part configured for tasks and related data.

Content editor: A window to add static content.

Page customization is important in SharePoint and the system offers themes, cascading style sheets, site definitions, custom pages, plus list and site templates to design for user experiences that drive adoption.

An Introduction to SharePoint: The Connected Platform

More recent versions of SharePoint focus on collaboration and connected user experiences more than ever. Many site features enable users to engage in conversations and discussions to be informed and make better business decisions, share and tap into community knowledge for insights and answers, and work together as a team to manage projects and deliverables. Embedded social features include:

Microblogging: An app to share content, links, and media and to follow people, sites, content and conversation threads

Activity Feed: A list that provides a view into recent activity, content, and people.

Community: Sites with self-serve moderation and administration, plus likes, achievements, and reputation features.

Discussion Boards: A structured list of topics with dynamic, real-time commenting.

Blogs: Authoring application with category metadata, comment and moderation features and client integration.

Business App Integration: Connect and surface LOB apps data directly into site newsfeeds.

An introduction to SharePoint: Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

SharePoint includes powerful ECM features to create and organize content, manage content policy, architecture, and taxonomy, reduce risk and manage compliance with centralized eDiscovery tools. The system offers site-level retention policies that include associated mailboxes, project closure process, discovery cases and content holds, and expiration policy. Identity-based information management supports audited access and editing.

An Introduction to SharePoint: Search

Microsoft has made enterprise search front and center in the latest versions of SharePoint. Users can find what they're looking for intelligently and tailored to user search history, preferences and related data. Contextual previews provide helpful high-level cues into search results and search architecture is extendable to make data available across custom applications.

An Introduction to SharePoint: Business Intelligence

SharePoint allows data to be combined from multiple sources to create interactive reporting and visualizations to share insights and collaborate on demand. Self-service business intelligence is enhanced via PowerBi and Excel Services and respects control and compliance measures applied to the system and data.

An Introduction to SharePoint: Hybrid Deployment

Enabling SharePoint to work closer than ever with Office 365 is a major focus of the latest release. While it's not a turnkey process yet, it enables efficiencies including OneDrive redirects, followed sites in the App Launcher Sites app, hybrid team sites, and unified search and Delve inclusion.

There are many great features and tools available to consider as you explore and plan for SharePoint. PSC can help you understand and prepare a strategy for all the ways you can use SharePoint in your business or expand its utilization if you've already invested in it.

More SharePoint topics:

Microsoft SharePoint Server - Securely Store, Share, and Access Data

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