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.

The Challenge:
Your critical business data is trapped in legacy systems

Microsoft Partner information is located in disparate systems accessible via a wide array of user interfaces—it is not easily discovered and consumed by the team members who need it. The Microsoft Partner Program domain consists of data from 12+ distinct platforms built independently and integrated in an ad hoc method. Partner Program data ranges from simple attributes like name and location, to partner level, to sales generated over the lifetime of the relationship. In order for Microsoft to best leverage its Partner relationships, it needed to be able to easily locate and consume the data available, without an adverse impact on the existing systems.

Our Solution:
A single point of access to your data
BI Dashboard

BI Dashboard

Leveraging the myBI platform, Cinetix Solutions introduced new Business Intelligence tools to the Microsoft Partner organization to increase the value, visibility, and discoverability of all partner BI assets. The myBI platform is a hosted, integrated, and configurable Business Intelligence portal, providing expanded reporting, data mining and Business Intelligence (BI) capabilities. It allows business groups to expose the right information to the right users in the right format, and to gain business insight with Microsoft BI tools. This new platform not only supports a world class tool for business performance throughout the entire Partner organization, it also provides Microsoft with the resources that help it make accurate and confident business decisions every day.

The key benefits for the Microsoft Partner Program (MSPP) include:
  • A single point of access for all Microsoft Partner Program Business Intelligence needs
  • An accessible, discoverable, and intuitive interface to all business reporting
  • Enterprise wide repository of reports
  • Consistent and flexible user interface
    (UI) providing a rich user experience
  • Secure Intranet and Extranet access across a globally deployed infrastructure
Key Technologies:
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS)
  • Microsoft ProClarity Analytics
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)
  • Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services
  • Microsoft Performance Point Server
  • MOSS Excel Services
How Can We Deliver For You?

Cinetix Solutions delivers on challenging IT projects with a team passionate about excellence.

  • Project Leadership
  • Enterprise Data Modeling
  • Development and ETL
  • Data Mining and Report Development
  • Prototype and Proof of Concept Delivery

Contact us for more information.

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Microsoft Certified Partner, Data Management Solutions