Now with office 365 in place SharePoint is affordable to many more. Its often confused as a tool because its bundled along with office and on the other extreme, it might be seen as another business application software like an ERP, HRMS or CRM. Let’s try to get a quick overview of SharePoint.
To start off with, let’s be clear that SharePoint is not a tool/Standalone application but it’s a Platform! It’s a Platform that can be used to build sites, collaborate, Share Ideas, Discover Connections, Discuss, Stay in Sync and Store information. For this same reason, we don’t store or install SharePoint on our desktop, we install it on the server and access it using a browser, Mobile device or other applications like Word, Excel etc.
SharePoint is used to build sites. People come on these sites to collaborate or work together, save documents, find information and so on.
While working together, Different group of people build different communities on these sites using different themes (Say HR, Finance etc.). You can manage permissions by granting/denying access to different groups to different people.
When you start working as a group there are lot of content involved in the process and SharePoint helps to store these content on these sites and thus allowing to manage and organize these content centrally and thereby avoiding version conflicts and other usual document management issues that are usually encountered on a daily basis in an organization. These features makes SharePoint a great document management system.
[To comprehend better, think this way; usually you work on an excel/word/PowerPoint file and save it in your desktop and then share it with your team by sending it as an email. With SharePoint in place, all you do is that you save this file on SharePoint and not on your desktop, by which you can easily collaborate with your team and even browse these on a browser using office 365 or view these on a mobile device. You realize SharePoint takes collaboration to new heights when you know that you can even share your calendar or your team’s calendar while working on your outlook with SharePoint. Thus SharePoint enhances each and every application like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, InfoPath, Visio etc. when used along with SharePoint].
Since a huge repository of content is now stored, people come to search and find these documents using different criteria. Using SharePoint’s advanced Search capabilities, it’s really easy to find a document in a single click.
Now that this whole content has been stored centrally on SharePoint, It allows people working together to generate various types of reports like KPIs using the available data. Thus SharePoint can be used for Business Intelligence (BI) purposes.
Apart from all these, SharePoint has the capability to build custom solutions based on your specific requirements. For instance you may add different workflows as per your requirement using SharePoint. This aspect of SharePoint gives it a whole new dimension that allows you to solve a wide variety of problems.
Though SharePoint is not a standalone application, it enhances the applications that you’ve been using, like Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc. by giving you the liberty to collaborate in a way that you’ve never done before. And all the above features lets you to use SharePoint as a Document Management Solution, a Business Intelligence solution, a collaboration Platform and more importantly a program to build custom solutions!