SharePoint. It’s the platform you love to hate and yet still rely on like an old friend. It’s the portal framework that once smiled shyly at you while you were being introduced. Your relationship’s genesis was likely built upon ignorance that would eventually transform into a fearless reverence.
Called a monster or a beast by those whose technological patience is fueled by a careful balance of curses and praise, Microsoft SharePoint has become as familiar in the workplace as the leftovers in the company fridge. And if you know what SharePoint is, then you’re ahead of the game (same goes for the leftovers).
Each day all over the world, someone is starting their first day on the job and has only just managed to put their coat up when they’re asked, “So, have you used SharePoint before?”
Share. Point? Cher Point? The wide-eyed fledgling racks his brain to figure out what it is. A social network? A tax program? A narcotic?
And so the platform is explained to them as it is to so many, with a variety of buzzwords and confusion baked in. A business collaboration tool that provides organizations with a framework that helps manage documents, publish reports, share information, set up websites, embrace collaborative resourcing and so much more. People don’t usually take much from that. They nod slowly and then ask where the coffee machine is.
But you know SharePoint. You may have worked with it for years. You’ve even come up with your own short and simple way to describe it to others like Microsoft who calls SharePoint “the new way to work together.” Still many others describe it as “the thing that my company uses for a calendar.”
So, how well do you know this animal?
You have the buzzwords down. Intranets, Extranets, Project Management, Enterprise Search, Business Intelligence, etc. But how many features have you dug into? Are you using it as an online document repository? Are you running your entire calendar with contacts, events, etc. off it? Are you easily accessing shared files from anywhere that has a connection? Are you messing with the new social features yet?
Typically, people are using SharePoint because it exists at their office and that’s just the way it is. Too many businesses have failed to realize the true potential of the product they possess. They deploy SharePoint, often in its most primitive state, and neglect to embrace the myriad of capabilities that are right under their nose and ready to enhance workplace productivity.
What they hold is the key to collaboration. A key that opens a line of real time communication between customers and coworkers. A key that offers access to your work and the work of others. A key that opens a business world where projects and documents are organized easily and people and information are more readily discovered. Basically, if you aren’t using SharePoint to its full capability, than you’re not getting the most out of your investment.
Think of it this way: You wouldn’t buy a new car just because you like to listen to the built-in radio. Too often, companies are listening to the music without realizing that the vehicle does so much more.
A quick look at Microsoft’s SharePoint site shows a handful of ways that SharePoint can mix up the workplace:
- Put social to work
- Share your stuff
- Take SharePoint on the go
- Keep projects on track
- Keep your team connected
- Store and sync your docs
- Find experts you never knew existed
- Discover insights and answers
- Find what you’re looking for
- Build apps in the cloud
- Publish apps to the SharePoint store
- Build eye-catching sites
- Manage costs
- Manage risk
- Manage your time
So, are you getting the most out of your SharePoint environment?
All of these features can be managed and utilized in different ways and often third party tools and apps can be added to make the process a lot easier. But this becomes a problem for people who want to customize their SharePoint environment only to find that they have limited functionality. Multi-tenant or shared SharePoint environments greatly reduce the platform’s extensibility and ability.
Yes, it’s the sad, true tale of so many SharePoint farms bought at the lowest price tag thinking that the immediate cost saving benefits them, only to find that they’ve purchased a half-brained solution that they do not control. They look past private cloud solutions because of initial cost and fail to realize the value that comes down the line. A Gartner Data Center Conference Poll taken in December 2012 revealed that the value is evident in Agility gain which becomes Operational gain which brings Cost Savings in the long run. So in the end, you’re saving money and you have a better product out of the gate.
Private clouds bring full functionality. Full functionality means total server and administrative control for your IT team, unlimited customizations available for any innovations or changes that strike your fancy and hybrid cloud solutions to combine on-premises and cloud environments. This is stuff you can only get with a private, dedicated SharePoint Cloud.
So, if you think you know SharePoint, think again.
Microsoft SharePoint is getting better and better through the years, kind of like Courtney Cox or George Clooney, and as your relationship with the platform develops, don’t hold SharePoint back. Stop limiting your company’s SharePoint abilities and take control.