As your business grows beyond the point where all your employees work in nearby offices, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep everyone on the same page. What SharePoint does is carve out a little nook in the internet where everyone can stay in touch virtually. Pages and information can be arranged by department and role. But each individual worker is kept plugged in to the company as a whole.
Simply put, SharePoint is what you use to create your business’s own place on the web where all your employees can sign in when they get to work. Think of the MSN or Yahoo home pages but geared just to the people who work at your company. You sign in, see company news and announcements, and have access to all your standard web tools like email and calendars. You also have access to all the company documents you may need to read or edit, along with updates on projects currently underway and information on clients.
It’s important to note that SharePoint out-of-the-box and SharePoint as you can get it customized by software developers are two very different things. SharePoint can be customized to encompass almost any aspect of business computing. And it’s really this customizability that makes SharePoint such a powerful tool.
SharePoint is often referred to as an “intranet platform” and a “collaboration tool.” Here’s what those terms mean:
This just means that your SharePoint pages are internally facing—they’re designed for people inside your company. Employees all sign in to the same place. They all go to the same folders for files and documents. And they can all see schedules, calendars, and contact information for their coworkers. This helps them coordinate their efforts, makes communicating easier, and keeps everyone from getting lost trying to find the information they need. The design of the pages can even be customized to convey brand identity so it serves as a prompt and a reminder of both the company’s mission and its style.
SharePoint is also commonly used to create extranet platforms which enable outside companies you’re partnering with to access relevant pages.
Documents can be saved on SharePoint instead of on your PC’s hard drive. This keeps you from having to email a copy to everyone who needs to read or edit it. Every time you email an attached document, you’re creating another version of that document. So if you have three people working on it, you end up with three different versions. But if the document is on SharePoint, all three people can locate, view, edit, and save changes to it at the same time—and you never have to worry about different people working on different versions. And this is just one aspect of how SharePoint makes it easier to collaborate. One other area it’s commonly used for is keeping track of records on clients. But scheduling, meetings, and events can all be organized through SharePoint.
This is a highly general description of what SharePoint is and what it does. If you have a particular issue you’re wondering if SharePoint might help you resolve, feel free to ask about it in the comments section. You can also contact us through our website.
I'm Aptera's Content Strategist. I've been writing about tech and marketing for 5 years and have certifications from HubSpot and The Content Marketing Institute. A big science and literature geek, I taught college rhetoric and composition while I was still busy going to school for way too long, earning bachelor's degrees in anthropology and psychology, along with a master's in British and American literature. Look me up on LinkedIn.