SharePoint Online is one of the key business solutions of Microsoft, which is a flexible, responsive and fully configurable platform for data storage and electronic document flow. It works as an intranet enabling the creation of internal information flow channels, sharing, versioning and collaborative work on files – helping to face many common business challenges. It can be considered one of the foundations of successful digital transformation.
Currently, the most common version of this program is SharePoint Online, which can be accessed, for instance, via many Microsoft 365 licenses. As a standard, it is possible to store and operate within 1 TB of data in the cloud.
According to Microsoft, currently, 85% of Fortune 500 companies use SharePoint and it meets their business requirements. Its main advantage is its flexibility, which allows this solution to be adapted to virtually any size of the company—both small local businesses employing a few to a dozen or so people, and multi-international giants.
1. Improved data management
According to the Harvard Business Review, the average office workers spend 28% of their working day reading or responding to the emails they receive. That means that it is one of the key business processes, which takes over two and a half hours a day per employee. Daily. Throughout the year.
The above statistics show how important an efficient data flow is for the company’s effectiveness and its business outcomes. Of course, it should be remembered that in the meantime, employees still have to find time for meetings, reading reports, customer inquiries etc. As a result, organizing work becomes difficult or even nearly impossible.
Many companies try to solve this problem by creating a system of files and folders that, to some extent, allow employee to keep an eye on what is happening at work.
The problem arises when there is a need to share these files with another colleague, the whole team or assign a given file to a specific project.
In practice, this often means sending more emails, looking for lost emails that were lost in the maze of previous emails, etc. This translates into a growing mess.
This is the perfect moment to start using Microsoft SharePoint in your company. Users are able to access and use the data they need at any time—no need to search among emails and vast amounts of unnecessary files. Importantly, in the case of the cloud-based SharePoint Online variant, they can do it anytime from anywhere in the world.
The ability to easily integrate SharePoint with Microsoft Office 365 is also crucial.
2. Possibility of easy integration with other programs and services
SharePoint Online creates a coherent ecosystem with the Microsoft Office 365 products (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Exchange, Teams) and Microsoft Dynamics 365. There is a possibility of intuitive and straightforward import and export of documents to and from SharePoint.
You can also quickly edit documents using both the web browser and individual Microsoft Office apps. Changes will be applied to all users immediately.
3. A convenient and consistent tool for collaboration
Even if your company only employs a few people, communication is a key set of processes.
The above sentence seems cliché. But suppose person X created the document. Person Y’s job is to go through this document and make suggestions or corrections. A transparent and straightforward situation that should not pose any problems. Until person X reminds that he or she forgot to add something to the above-mentioned document. While Y has been already working on it. Such situations happen from time to time in every team. Person Y will make a few changes, person X will add another, and after a while, they both do not know what they are working on—complete chaos.
For this type of situation, version control functionality provided by SharePoint works excellent, as it tracks every edition of the document, along with the moment of its occurrence and the person who made the edition. This prevents the overlapping of the work of two or more people and enables the work of individual users to be distinguished if necessary. And if a file is accidentally deleted or overwritten, you can quickly restore it to any version.
Besides, thanks to the functionality of the company calendar, you can intuitively schedule a meeting (live or online) for the team working on a given project, or check the availability of its individual members.
An excellent practical example is the creation of high-quality content in the marketing department. Many employees strive to keep up a high content quality – copywriters, conventional and internet media specialists, and industry experts.
The development process requires the delivery of base content, timely approvals, editing and feedback. Thanks to SharePoint, the right people have ongoing access to designated files, receive real-time information about who and when has operated on the file, when and by whom it has been reviewed, and whether a given version of the file is its latest version.
SharePoint also has document library templates that make it easy to navigate between the original file and its translations. This is especially helpful for companies that create content in multiple languages.
4. Compliance with regulations and data security
Data protection laws currently apply to every industry (i.e. GDPR). So there is no need to explain to anyone how important data protection is. Of course, for example, in the financial sector, security requirements are even more restrictive and apply to a broader range of data.
SharePoint also has functionalities that meet the needs of companies that operate in industries that require special precautions.
It provides mechanisms that comply with the highest security and legal standards, which ensure access to confidential data and documents only to authorized users. It is possible to define individual access levels very precisely.
Keeping data within one integrated platform reduces the susceptibility to information leaks or holes in individual systems. It is also possible to effectively monitor user behaviour, which allows you to make sure that all employees and customers using the system comply with the specified security rules.
5. Ease of implementing changes
An essential advantage of SharePoint is a wide range of easy-to-implement changes that allow for a quick adaptation of the system to the needs of a specific organization.
SharePoint can be largely adapted to the challenges faced by a given company, without the need to involve an IT developer. It is enough to use the possibilities built into the system and the appropriate add-ons and widgets.
If this is not enough, it is also possible to make use of the help of programmer who will additionally extend the already considerable scope of standard SharePoint functionalities.
The ease of adaptation of SharePoint is of great importance, especially for companies that develop, and along with their development, their current needs grow and change. An organization can use SharePoint as a small local organization that employs a few people until it becomes a global power. Using SharePoint this whole time, but taking into account many modifications at various stages of the company’s development.
A lot can be written about the implementation of new solutions in the companies. Business transformation can be approached as great revolution that will change the organization overnight. But also as a permanent evolution that consists of tens, hundreds of point changes. We believe that digital transformation should be a a permanent process.
Microsoft SharePoint has the potential to increase the overall efficiency of a business, sometimes streamlining processes that seem very simple, sometimes trivial, and only when summed up makes a huge difference.
It all depends on to what extent and to how many processes the company will use the potential of this powerful tool.
Contact us, join the digital transformation and improve your business processes
As ARP Ideas, we will be happy to help you implement and adopt Microsoft SharePoint to the needs of your company. We will share with you the best practices based on our knowledge and experience, thanks to which you will be able to use the potential of this software fully.