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Unlike some of Microsoft's short-lived products, SharePoint has been around for a while now and is becoming one of top business collaboration platforms today. SharePoint empowers businesses big and small to:
SharePoint can serve as an intranet and document management system, and can also suit the needs of the modern, mobile workforce. SharePoint offers a wide range of benefits, including the ability to build business process management solutions that keep data flowing efficiently through your organization.
The best part about SharePoint is that if you're using Office 365 for your business, you may already have access to this powerful tool and simply just need to deploy it!
Microsoft plans to announce new and improved features to the platform in the months ahead, so let's make sure we're up to speed on its existing capabilities and benefits:
1. Provide a Simple, Familiar & Consistent User Experience
SharePoint is tightly integrated with familiar client desktop applications, e-mail and Web browsers to provide a consistent user experience that simplifies how people interact with content, processes and business data. This tight integration, coupled with robust out-of-the-box functionality, helps you employ services themselves and facilitates product adoption.
2. Simplify Everyday Business Activities
Take advantage of out-of-the-box workflows for initiating, tracking and reporting common business activities, such as document review and approval, issue tracking and signature collection. And, you can complete these activities without any coding. Tight integration with familiar client applications, e-mail and Web browsers provides you with a simple, consistent experience.
3. Help Meet Regulatory Requirements
By specifying security settings, storage policies, auditing policies and expiration actions for business records in accordance with compliance regulations, you can help ensure your sensitive business information can be controlled and managed effectively. And, you can reduce litigation risk for your organization.
4. Effectively Manage and Repurpose Content
Business users and content authors can create and submit content for approval and scheduled deployment to intranet or Internet sites. Managing multilingual content is simplified through document library templates that are specifically designed to maintain a relationship between the original version and different translations of a document.
5. Simplify Access to Business Data
Give your users access to business data found in common line-of-business systems like Microsoft CRM through SharePoint. Users can also create personalized views and interactions with business systems through a browser by dragging configurable back-end connections. Enterprise-level Managed Document Repositories help your organization store and organize business documents in one central location.
6. Connect Employees with Information and Expertise
Enterprise Search incorporates business data along with information about documents, people and Web pages to produce comprehensive, relevant results. Features like duplicate collapsing, spelling correction and alerts improve the relevance of the results so you can easily find what you need.
7. Accelerate Shared Business Processes
Without coding any custom applications, you can use smart, electronic forms–driven solutions to collect critical business information from customers, partners and suppliers through a Web browser. Built-in data validation rules help you gather accurate and consistent data that can be directly integrated into back-end systems to avoid redundancy and errors that result from manual data re-entry.
8. Share without Divulging Sensitive Information
Give your employees access to real-time, interactive Microsoft Office Excel spreadsheets from a Web browser through Excel Services running on SharePoint. Use these spreadsheets to maintain and efficiently share one central and up-to-date version while helping to protect any proprietary information embedded in the documents, such as financial models.
9. Enable Employees to make Better-informed Decisions
SharePoint makes it easy to create live, interactive business intelligence (BI) portals that assemble and display business-critical information from disparate sources, using integrated BI capabilities, such as dashboards, Web Parts, scorecards, key performance indicators (KPIs) and business data connectivity technologies. Centralized Report Center sites give users a single place for locating the latest reports, spreadsheets or KPIs.
10. Provide a Single, Integrated Platform
SharePoint is built on an open, scalable architecture with support for Web services and interoperability standards including XML and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). The service has rich, open application programming interfaces (APIs) and event handlers for lists and documents. These features provide integration with existing systems and the flexibility to incorporate new non-Microsoft IT investments.
If you are interested in exploring SharePoint and want to learn whether it would be an effective tool to leverage at your organization, contact IT Solutions today. As a Microsoft Gold partner with dedicated network management and application development teams, we're well positioned to ensure you make the most of the tools that are available to you.