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SharePoint is used by over 80% of Fortune 500 companies, and has more than 100 million users. Although it's very popular, many people don’t know how to use SharePoint, or often don’t even really know what it is, let alone understand its power.
So let’s begin by defining SharePoint. It’s a browser-based, central repository of shared information stored in lists and libraries that’s security-trimmed to ensure users only see what they have access to, allowing them to collaborate with the content in SharePoint from anywhere around the world.
If you think about the definition of SharePoint, and consider the fact it is tightly integrated with Microsoft’s Office suite, you’ll quickly realize it's one of Microsoft’s most powerful tools that’s available for organizations of all sizes. With similar Office components such as the ribbon, SharePoint also is easy to use.
In addition to ease of use, organizations use SharePoint because it can reduce data entry errors and content redundancy, and provides an easier, centralized location for people to share their knowledge.
In this video I explain SharePoint permission hierarchy and inheritance.
The million-dollar question for a lot of people is how can they leverage SharePoint within their organization. The answer is, “It’s up to you.”
At one end of the spectrum, SharePoint can be used for something as simple as a team collaboration site. With its out-of-the-box collaboration features such as versioning, document check in/out, automated business processes (by using workflows), reporting, and project management, which integrates with Project Server in SharePoint, it's effective even in a simple way.
If you want to fully utilize SharePoint's capabilities, you can go to the opposite end of the spectrum and involve developers to customize it as a public-facing Internet site. However, this requires much more planning and strategizing for not only the initial deployment, but also when any upgrades of SharePoint become available. SharePoint offers many benefits, but it also has to be held in check to avoid further costly changes of customizations or upgrades. With that said, I suggest you focus on the out-of-the-box features first, and then explore how SharePoint can be expanded for further capabilities, keeping in mind that it comes with increased costs.
Speaking of costs, Microsoft has taken great strides to make SharePoint easy to access and readily available online with SharePoint Online (as part of Office 365), on-premises, or a hybrid of the two. When using a hybrid implementation, you could have your top-secret, proprietary information on-premises, and your less proprietary information in SharePoint Online, providing you the best of both worlds.
SharePoint also makes it easy to locate your content in either location because of how well these deployment options are integrated with Microsoft’s vastly improved search utility. The search capability is versatile enough to allow you to search for content stored in SharePoint on-premises, SharePoint Online, other external websites, and even file shares.
Explore the features, functionality, and behavior of SharePoint because it has a lot to offer, and with the proper deployment and training, it can quickly improve productivity in your company.
Brian Alderman has been focused on helping IT pros and database administrators (DBAs) better understand core Microsoft technologies for more than 25 years. He specialized in SQL Server and SharePoint integration over the past few years, but his breadth of knowledge spans across Microsoft operating systems, Active Directory, SQL Server, and SharePoint. He's earned Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) distinction in the Office Servers and Services category. He also is the founder and CEO of MicroTechPoint.