What value can SharePoint bring to your business?

What is SharePoint, anyway?

I was at the SharePoint conference in Las Vegas recently where I was grabbing a bite to eat with my conference buddy and a couple of Microsoft Product Managers that I had just met through twitter, including one who helped to organize the conference, and eventually our friendly waitress asked the inevitable question, “What is SharePoint, anyway?” An uncomfortably long silence ensued before one or the other of us gave her the most succinct answer we could. (How do you summarize such a powerful software to a non-technical person in under a minute? SharePoint is one of those things, like twitter, that is hard to describe in a nutshell – just Google, or Bing, “What is SharePoint?” to see how many times people have attempted to answer this question.)

We ultimately described SharePoint to our waitress as, “A web based collaboration software that allows users to easily share documents and other business information,” or something along those lines. Which is not a bad description, for starters. SharePoint, of course, is so much more than that. Enthusiastic “SharePoint for Project Management” author Dux Raymond Sy provides this succinct description, “SharePoint allows individuals in an organization to easily create and manage their own collaborative web sites,” but then goes on to elaborate. Microsoft puts forward its own somewhat wordy phrase, “The Business Collaboration Platform for the Enterprise and the Web: Connect and Empower People, Cut Costs with a Unified Infrastructure, Rapidly Respond to Business Needs,” but also expands on each area. There is even a 7 part series (and counting?) that attempts to tackle the question.

SharePoint Business Value

Maybe a better question than “What is SharePoint?” is “What value can SharePoint bring to your business?” If you’re new to SharePoint, take a look at Microsoft’s conceptual video. Some light bulbs might go off in relation to your business. Then contact us and we can give you a demonstration of some of the business solutions we’ve built with SharePoint.

SharePoint is both a product and a foundation for building on the product

It is important to note that SharePoint is both a Product and a Software Platform. Although it has a robust out-of-the-box feature set, the beauty lies in the way it can be customized and extended for business use.

Some of our favorite SharePoint strengths:
  • Easy web based collaboration between individuals within an organization
  • Document management (storage, check in/check out, archiving & auditing)
  • Business process management (workflows)
  • Security (fine grained permissions, security trimming)
  • Data connectivity with legacy systems
  • SharePoint lists have a database table structure
  • Robust search both within SharePoint and across related business sources
  • Consistent navigation (dynamic, security trimmed)
  • Web content management features
  • Project management (tasks, Gantt views, custom lists)
  • Active Directory and SQL Server integration
  • Integration with familiar Office products
  • Active developer & user community

Examples of the types of business solutions we’ve created with SharePoint:
  • Business Intelligence dashboards that present high level KPIs, metrics,  & reporting
    (including PerformancePoint integration)
  • Streamlined electronic workflows from formerly paper based processes
  • User friendly information portals that consolidate business data from disparate sources
  • Work order, help desk, & inventory applications
  • End User and Power User training modules & user fairs
  • Corporate branded intranet & extranet sites
  • Custom web part development & integration
  • Customized document management solutions
    (custom content types, metadata planning, & implementation)
  • Cross application integrations

Clearly, it is a challenge to encapsulate all of the rich features of SharePoint into a tidy sound bite. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you leverage SharePoint to bring value to your business.

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