SharePoint is not just a program or individual solution; it’s a massive platform that provides secure places to store, organize, share, and access information from almost any device. Able to be deployed within a server environment or used in the cloud, SharePoint is highly scalable, extensible, flexible and cost effective. As versatile as it is ubiquitous, SharePoint can be used to access or create solutions that provide:
- Websites – for your employees and your customers
- File sharing and document collaboration
- Enterprise social networking
- Organization of people, processes, and projects
- Custom web parts and applications
- Enterprise search
- Standardization and refinement of forms, approval, and workflow
- Records management and legal compliance
- Business intelligence and data visualization
The fundamental building blocks of SharePoint are internally or externally facing websites to which users make changes and contribute content. The degree that users can alter or access these SharePoint sites can be limited to ensure information is only available to those who need it or should have it. Changes to information and sites are monitored and controlled. Groups can set up centralized spaces for document sharing where documents can be stored, edited, and collaborated on. SharePoint’s integration with Microsoft Office online allows users to edit documents directly in their web browser. Additionally, SharePoint collaboration environments can be extended through the use of apps and web parts to provide additional functions like email alerts, shared calendars, data summaries, and sophisticated tools to search through, securely access, and reuse large amounts of content.
SharePoint can be used to enhance an organization’s ability to manage content and information at the enterprise level. Solutions are employed to manage enterprise metadata, define a company’s best practice for creating documents collaboratively (including versioning and check in/ check out functionality), and enforce policies that govern workflow across a project’s life cycle. In addition, SharePoint can be used to ensure records management regulatory compliance and mitigate legal risk across all of an organization’s content.
SharePoint 2013 has advanced integration with Microsoft’s self-service BI platform. This integration gives users access to PowerView in SharePoint providing numerous ways to visualize data, create easy-to-use dashboards, and share reports with colleagues. Also new to SharePoint 2013 is a focus on social sharing. Microsoft’s acquisition of Yammer allows SharePoint users to engage in threaded discussions, “like” and share posts they find compelling, and connect other users to content. With Yammer, it’s even possible for SharePoint 2013 to learn from user activity and offer users relevant content automatically. Additionally, SharePoint 2013 users can create and access blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, and other functions associated with top social media platforms.