As the structure and workings of businesses develop, so does the need for better technology. With improvements in Wi-Fi networks and fidelity, it is possible to work in a far greater range of locations than before.
As such, businesses are adapting to new working methods. Employees no longer need to be in the office, sat at a workstation from 9 – 5, Monday to Friday. Now they can work just about anywhere – whether it’s hot-desking at another office in almost any city in the world, in their study at home, or even on the go with mobile phones or tablets.
With more businesses opting to provide increased flexibility to their employees, there is a growing need for a platform which can facilitate this type of freedom. Microsoft SharePoint provides just that. It is a content management system, which can be accessed from any browser on any operating system. It provides a secure, centralised space for sharing documents and collaboratively working with others on the same documents. Most importantly, it integrates seamlessly with the existing Office applications you use on a daily basis.
Browser-based means location flexibility for your employees
Because SharePoint is a browser-based platform, it gives everyone in your company access to documents, websites, intranet portals and more, from any device or browser. The days when every employee had their own desktop workstation are in decline. It is increasingly common for each employee to have a company laptop, or indeed, to bring their own laptop or tablet to work. As such, browser-based platforms meet those needs in a more efficient and convenient way. It does not matter whether users are using Windows, Mac OS, or any other operating system or browser – they can always access what they need to. All the information is stored in the cloud, though it is also possible for it to be stored on-premises too, if that is more suitable for your business needs.
One platform for all your business needs
SharePoint is scalable and supported by web services and interoperability standards, which means that it is fully integrated and can continue to respond to any changes or developments within your business. It works with all existing Microsoft applications and has the added bonus of being able to integrate with non-Microsoft products, which is ideal when using tools like Microsoft Flow. Connectors in Flow let you use SharePoint as either an event trigger (for instance, if a new item is added to a SharePoint, you can automatically email selected parties to get their signatures, using Adobe), or as an event recipient (for instance, if tweets on Twitter include a specific hashtag, they can be automatically saved to a SharePoint list). The options for connecting SharePoint to third-party tools are both useful and extensive, and can save you a huge amount of time and money.
Powerful collaboration capabilities…
SharePoint has some of the most powerful collaboration capabilities available on the market. Co-authoring allows multiple employees to work on the same document at once, while also having access to all associated project documentation, so they can easily refer to any relevant information about a specific project at any time. There is also an approval option which prevents permanent changes from being made without the approval of a manager. Applications such as Yammer provide a platform for different areas of the business to work informally within your SharePoint sites, as well as being a powerful communication tool for sharing your successes. Once you’ve experienced them, the collaborative possibilities of SharePoint will soon become indispensable to your business, and will significantly improve productivity.
…without compromising proprietary information
Even up-to-date spreadsheets which include sensitive information – that otherwise could not be shared due to the proprietary information on show – can be collaborated on in real time. Using Excel Services running on SharePoint, parts of a document can be protected while still allowing several employees to be working on it at once.
Security and governance come as standard
SharePoint has a wealth of security features to ensure your data is protected. User access permissions can be locked down at a granular level – from the entire site down to an individual user. Lists and document libraries can be individually tailored with unique permissions so staff can only see the information they need. Versioning and auditing can be switched on as required, so any changes made will always have a historical record. You can also share externally, and decide to what extent documents can be viewed or edited. Storage and auditing policies combined with expiration settings ensure that records are kept for the length of time mandated by the government. Meanwhile, sensitive documentation can be kept from prying eyes – ensuring that you’re compliant in all areas of data protection, including the 2018 change to GDPR law.
Instant communication results in increased productivity
SharePoint also allows for instant communication, and can be integrated with many instant messaging systems including Skype for Business (and older tools, such as Lync). You simply need to add the chat function to your SharePoint portal and you can then integrate your chosen communication service. This results in far more efficient communication, which is often even faster than if you were in the same office – a benefit which will undoubtedly result in an increase in productivity.
Reports and statistics at the click of a button
Being able to create a host of sites is great, but do you know how much they are being used? SharePoint can provide a suite of reports which show you how successful your newly implemented sites have been with visitors, monitoring site usage and activity over time. Furthermore, you can integrate dashboards from other tools such as Power BI, and produce key performance indicators and business-critical information.
Multiple functions: whatever you need to do, you can do it with SharePoint
SharePoint can be used for a myriad of tasks. It can be used to build intranets, websites, applications and CRMs, though there are plenty of other tools — like Microsoft Dynamics 365 — which will integrate with SharePoint if you already have them in place. SharePoint is more than just any one of these things, it is a platform that enables your workforce to complete a multitude of tasks. It also lets your staff use web-based versions of many other Office 365 applications, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. This integration allows for smoother, more efficient operations throughout the business, while still letting employees use applications that they are already comfortable with.
Easy to use and build without hiring a web developer
Not only does SharePoint offer all the functionality already mentioned, it was also built with the user in mind. It is easy to use and includes all the tools necessary for you to make changes, updates or develop solutions yourself. You no longer need to spend a fortune on Microsoft SharePoint development, or hire a web developer to update pages for you. The out-of-the-box functionality will let you start creating an intranet portal, teams, sites, web pages and more, and the integrated help system means that answers are only a click away. You are free to create your SharePoint portal in whichever form you need, and because you’re doing it yourself, the savings you make will soon add up. And at any point in the future if you want to take advantage of the more advanced functionality which SharePoint offers, or need to get your staff up to speed quickly, OfficeLabs can provide both Microsoft SharePoint training and Microsoft SharePoint support.
Start using SharePoint today
There are many benefits to be gained by using Microsoft SharePoint, with significant data to suggest that using SharePoint leads to increased productivity. This ultimately results in more profits for your business. So, get started with SharePoint today to see what it can do for your business.
How Can OfficeLabs Help?
These are just some of the benefits SharePoint can offer your company. When you book an appointment with an OfficeLabs consultant, they will talk to you in depth about your business needs, and how best to utilise the power of Office 365. Remember, SharePoint is just one tool in the suite — OfficeLabs will ensure you get the most out of each of these applications. Making sure your business runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible is why OfficeLabs has been chosen by both FTSE 250 companies and huge public-sector bodies. Our no-jargon approach will let you talk to us with confidence about your requirements.
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