What is SharePoint Online?
SharePoint is a Content Management System (CMS) which allows you to create “Intranet” websites for your users to access documents, calendars, announcements, and much more. An Intranet website provides a central location for your business users and potentially even customers that is not publicly accessible, meaning you must sign in to be able to access the content. It’s possible to share links to documents with outside users, allowing you to control what they see and do all from the SharePoint site itself. We will cover some of the basic functionality of SharePoint out of the box, and show you some advanced SharePoint sites that are professionally designed and really highlight the possibilities of SharePoint Online.
SharePoint allows groups to set up a centralized, password-protected site for document sharing. One of the most common features is document storage: the ability to share files within your organization, or from outside. With Office 365 Cloud Apps, you can even edit the documents in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and others, directly in the Internet browser window. Basically, you can think of document sharing pages as a replacement for network shares. Users are able access the site securely from anywhere, allowing your document library to be access from any device with a web browser. Microsoft handles the security, so you don’t need to worry about server side management, cost of hardware, SSL certificate management, up-time, etc. Of course, those same benefits of security and management are applicable for any Office 365 application. Keep in mind you get 1TB of storage for your company’s SharePoint site. SharePoint can be an excellent way to organize and share your documents.
Collaboration Sites / Team Sites
Team Sites are meant to be used by teams and/or groups, working in the same department or collaborating on a joint project. It’s an excellent way of bringing work together and keeping everyone on track with updated information. SharePoint utilizes Lists as its building blocks. A list can be thought of as an Excel spreadsheet or a table in a database. These lists allow for robust sites that can handle a multitude of different page types. Time Tracking, Project Tasks, Policy Libraries, etc.; they can all be created and customized to fit your organization’s needs.
Incorporating Microsoft Office 365 Applications
One of the best SharePoint features – in my opinion – is the ability to integrate Microsoft applications and services directly into your SharePoint site. For instance, let’s say you have an Excel file filled with data and nice fancy graphs. With SharePoint, it’s easy to pull the graphs only and directly add them to your site. Any updates made to the file will propagate live to the SharePoint page. The same goes for PowerPoint presentations, Word Documents, Visio diagrams, and more.
Customize Design and Layout
The out-of-the-box design and functionality leave a lot to be desired; however, it is relatively simple to start creating custom site pages and brand the site for your organization. Without needing to know code, SharePoint users can create their own sites by navigating through a friendly user interface. Although the default design and layout are extremely vanilla, that doesn’t mean SharePoint can’t be modified to look professional and have user friendly navigation. Below are a few sites built on SharePoint that stand out from the crowd. This level of design can take hours and requires the design skills of a graphic artist / web designer.
As you can tell, SharePoint can do anything a traditional Website can, while bringing together your other Microsoft Services and Applications. The possibilities are nearly endless. as with any website, it is up to you to decide how to apply the technology. We can help!
With over 15 years of website design experience, Syncura offers both design and hosting for your business site. We can work with you to help achieve higher productivity and collaboration using your Office 365 SharePoint service.