Many SMB’s ask me ‘What can SharePoint do for me’?
Due to the current pandemic situation and the enforced remote working circumstances many businesses have found themselves thrown into over the past 3 months, there is a much greater awareness now of the Microsoft 365 suite and the advantages it brings for an SMB.
Certainly now, when it comes to advising businesses on their IT road-map and strategic vision, its a service which is given far more consideration than perhaps it was just 12 months ago. And as we move towards the ‘new normal’ the benefits the suite brings in a single subscription is hard to ignore.
Although most business owners may understand the concept of hosted Emails on Exchange Online, subscription based licencing for their Office applications, Teams and video calling tools and even syncing data with OneDrive, very few seem to be aware of the vast advantage SharePoint can bring to a business even with very basic configuration.
First we should explore the myth that OneDrive and SharePoint are the same thing which of course they are certainly not.
Yes, OneDrive allows users to access and update their own documents from anywhere, and work on specific documents in collaboration with others at the same time. However, SharePoint is specifically designed to allow users to manage their files, documents and ideas through tools such as document libraries, task lists, calendars, workflows, wikis and more.
SharePoint allows documents to be linked to specific projects and granted permissions at project or folder levels, whereas OneDrive is set up for one-off sharing of documents with individuals.
To summarise, If you’re working on a document on your own then save it in OneDrive but if your sharing documents within a team then save it in SharePoint in a shared library.
SharePoint’s core functions are;
- Store documents in a more effective format than a regular folder system, and
- Bring an organisation together so that everyone receives critical information that’s relevant to them.
But outside of where to save documents, let’s see what other advantages SharePoint can bring to a small business environment.
Context around documents and folders
Unlike traditional document storage facilities such as a folder store or file share, SharePoint is far more effective because it brings context around the folder itself by allowing the tracking of versions of documents allowing you to see such things as changes to file names, or all versions of the document during its life-cycle. Perhaps you wanted to go back to re-use a phrase or sentence from a previous version, SharePoint will allow this. It’s not just some file sitting in a folder; it’s an evolving piece of information that has a history as well as context and Meta Data.
Store all information in a central location
SharePoint becomes your single source of information for the business allowing staff to quickly and easily find the information they need. No more emailing around documents and ending up with multiple versions of the same document which no one knows which is the latest version or little control as to where the file ends up. Need to let your staff know about something important? Then just post it on SharePoint for them to see.
SharePoint is all about making it easier for your people to connect and collaborate through a single portal which can be accessed from any location from any internet enabled device. It enables remote parts of your business to be able to collaborate and collaboration brings innovation which leads to creativity within the business.
SharePoint and GDPR Compliance.
SharePoint can help you become GDPR compliant regarding data management and control. Whether you’re using Office 365 on-premises or in the Cloud, there are secure ways to ensure your data is well-governed and compliant.
There are three main points you need to think about when using SharePoint for your data needs:
- Information/ Content Management
- Retention Policies
SharePoint has the tools built in to help you address these data requirements from GDPR and Information security standpoints.
A huge advantage to using SharePoint in this way is that you may already have access to it. If you have Microsoft 365, then you will be able to access SharePoint. Therefore, you do not have to look at purchasing expensive alternatives to be GDPR compliant.
If you’d like further advice on how you can use SharePoint to cure your business headaches, just get in touch with us via the form below and we will be happy to advise.