Getting the Most Out of SharePoint

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In my previous blog post, What is SharePoint and Why Should I Use It, I talked about some of the great advantages associated with using SharePoint and how to get the most out of the product.

In today’s post, I will dive into greater detail about more specific characteristics of SharePoint I find particularly useful and I’ll also share some tips on how to get the most out of the SharePoint platform.

What does SharePoint do? 

As stated in my previous post, there is so much that you can do with this platform.  I have listed below some of the key features, but please keep in mind this list is not inclusive.

  1. Collaboration is built into it. It helps you work with other people, by sharing documents, calendars, wiki-pages, task lists, and discussion boards.
  2. It gives you a place to put your data, keeps track of the content, control access and let you know when things change. Content like documents, spreadsheets, presentation, agendas, images, audio, video and even databases.
  3. It offers features like content types, metadata, versioning, content approval, check-out and check-in, co-authoring and information management policies.
    • Content Types allow data to be organized and categorized.
    • Metadata is used to better define the data.
    • Versioning eliminates the needs for multiple documents because each version of the document is saved within itself and can be restored if needed.
    • Content approval allows the document to go through an approval process and if desired only approved versions will be viewable.
    • Check-out allows users control of a document while making changes.
    • Co-authoring allows multiple people to work on the same document at the same time.
    • Information management policies enable you to control and track things like how long content is retained and based on its policy move it through the stages of its lifecycle.
  4. Libraries can be set up with customized templates, and workflows can be associated to them. For example; perhaps there are certain onboarding forms that new employees may need to complete.  A library can be set up to include these forms and workflows can be established to move the form through the on-boarding process.
  5. Documents can be shared and accessed via desktop, laptop, and mobile devices. Data can be edited in the web browser itself.
  6. It interacts with other Microsoft products. Examples:  Task Lists that can be connected and synchronized to Outlook and MS Project.  Calendars can be connected and synchronized to Outlook.  A Site Mailbox can be setup in SharePoint and synced with Outlook.
  7. If it’s properly set up SharePoint has one of the best search engines available, it not only allows you to search content but people too and it’s customizable and secure so that no one gets access to anything they shouldn’t.
  8. The site and data can be controlled or not, you can decide who has access to what content and their level of access.
  9. It helps you bring all of your information together like spreadsheets, tasks lists and business intelligence and presents that data in a way that makes sense by using dashboard, graphs, and Visio diagrams. In addition, the data can be setup to be updated automatically in real-time.
  10. It has the capability to be extended and customized using programs like SharePoint Designer in which you can build custom workflows, and have the ability to communicate securely with legacy application and database.

How to use SharePoint correctly? 

  1. Research to get a better understanding of SharePoint
  2. Attend training sessions and/or ask experts for help
  3. Hands-on experience

I’ve been working with SharePoint since 2007 and what’s great about it, is, it continues to evolve, and possibilities are becoming endless.

In summary, I hope this was helpful and please feel free to let me know what SharePoint topics you would like to see highlighted in future blogs.  Thank you!