SharePoint is a web-based document management and collaboration solution that empowers businesses and teams to work collaboratively and coherently. SharePoint provides businesses with the ability to control access to information and automate workflow processes seamlessly with a high level of customisation and flexibility.
Microsoft’s SharePoint Online is a version of SharePoint that is available as a standalone product or as part of the Microsoft 365 product offerings.
As a result of the global pandemic, Microsoft has seen an 894% growth in the utilisation of the Microsoft Teams application. As you may or may not be aware, its SharePoint that actually provides the storage for Teams. This level of adoption is testament to the true scalability and cohesion of Microsoft cloud-based services and solutions used in remote work environments around the world.
So, following this exponential adoption rate, we wanted to share a few reasons why SharePoint Online should be considered to maximise your organisations investment in M365.
SharePoint Online is cloud based, so it can be accessed anywhere at any time - all you need is an internet connection. This enables employees to access data on the go using a variety of devices, without the need to initiate VPN connections back to the office and made all the more secure by using SharePoint in conjunction with MFA.
This feature within SharePoint removes the need to implement and maintain costly remote access solutions, reducing IT costs and support hours. If you need to go offline and still need to work on files, you can sync them for offline usage and your offline changes will replicate into SharePoint the next time you connect. And the beauty is that it’s all built into the Microsoft platform.
Access can be gained using a variety of devices, maximising end-user experience and accessability.
Along with the ability to access data from a variety of devices, SharePoint provides an extensive collaboration environment where, internal, external and remote users can work together. You can co-author documents, edit lists, and securely share documents all under one roof. This removes the legacy methods of emailing the document, clogging up inboxes, and appending versions, all of which can cause a headache to keep on top of.
With SharePoint Online it’s never been easier to keep track of and understand who has access to files within your organisation.
Versioning and Metadata
With Microsoft’s extensive collaboration capabilities, it's inevitable that an update to a document is made that is no longer required. But don’t panic, you’ll no longer need to speak to IT to have the file restored - SharePoint Online automatically provides document version history.
This feature enables end-users to review changes that have been made, compare previous versions of the document, review who has changed the document, the date/time it was changed and restore a previous version of the document. Restores can be completed to replace the existing document or restored to an alternate location - empowering your team and reducing the overhead on support.
All of this information is stored as Meta data against the file. You can add your own Metadata tags to make files easier to find, such as which customer it relates to, or the type of document it is. Want to find that Audit on a certain customer? Just tag them and use the search function within SharePoint Online.
So, we’ve covered SharePoint’s access and collaboration capability – but what about its storage? This is where SharePoint Online really shows its value.
Each SharePoint tenant receives 1TB of cloud storage, along with an additional 10GB per licensed user. Furthermore, each licensed user has access to OneDrive for Business. When assigned, a personal SharePoint site is created (formally known as My Sites) and provides the user with 1TB of file storage. This storage is independent from the SharePoint storage quota provided per tenant, providing mass amounts of cloud storage for the business.
This helps reduce on-premise hardware, maintenance contracts, backup servers and storage etc. In some cases, this can completely remove the requirement for on-premise file servers – making your journey to the cloud much easier.
SharePoint is more than just a data store for documents; it facilitates the centralisation of resources, ensuring you have an easy-to-access location to store all of your critical files. You can provide your employees with corporate data, announcements, good news stories, contacts, custom lists, plus much more.
Through the SharePoint platform IT and Marketing teams can create corporate intranet or departmental hub sites, maximising the way information can be shared between teams. Managers can oversee everything and ensure processes are streamlined, reducing the workload on teams.
But what if you can’t find that report you made last month, because the file wasn’t named or tagged correctly? SharePoint’s online search function is a very powerful engine that enables employees to find information they need, fast. The search experience can be customised and also allows for several API sets for more advanced searches.
If you don’t remember the name, but remember words within the document or list, you can search specifically for those terms. Or you can refine searches by specifying what format the document was in e.g. PDF, .docx, .xlsx.
Alternatively, you can use Metadata and break away from the traditional file structure, so you don’t need to remember file paths, file names or what format the document is in.
Whatever you use, SharePoint search makes it easy to get the information you need fast. If you’d like to talk to our team about how you can get SharePoint Online up and running in your organisation – get in touch today.