4 different ways you can use SharePoint

4 different ways you can use SharePoint

If you read about the different functions of SharePoint, you might actually end up with more questions than answers. And that’s because most people assume it’s one solution. In reality, it’s actually a platform that offers dozens of solutions -- sort of like an IT Swiss army knife. The problem is, with so many features available, it can be difficult to determine where the platform fits in your business. With that in mind, we’ve compiled four common ways you can apply SharePoint solutions to your organization.

Intranet sites

One of SharePoint’s key capabilities is that it allows you to build a fully-functional intranet for your business. Intranets are internal websites which aggregate employee information under one roof. This means staff can sign in to the company SharePoint website to view news announcements, deadlines, meeting schedules, and more.

In our experience, SharePoint intranets are best suited for departments that regularly distribute a large amount of information like human resources. With customized intranet solutions, HR staff can build a centralized location for legal paperwork like non-disclosure agreements and employee training documents.

They can make separate pages for orientation, policies and procedures, as well as paid time off management systems. HR can even design branded landing pages to promote an upcoming training seminar. And if intranet pages are both functional and aesthetically pleasing, they generally lead to dramatic improvements in company communication and productivity.

Workflow automation

Speaking of productivity, SharePoint has powerful workflow management capabilities that simplify numerous business processes. Our recommendation: apply SharePoint’s workflow automation on routine procedures to save time.

For instance, your workflows can be set up so that they send reminder emails to individuals who have to carry out a specific task. Request for paid leave is a good opportunity to use workflows. When an employee initiates a vacation request, you can set a workflow that sends an automated message which notifies the appropriate manager to deny or approve the request.

Other than for HR purposes, sales staff can also benefit from SharePoint’s workflow tools. By setting automated notifications, you can use SharePoint to keep tabs on the status of customer support issues, sales leads, and transactions.

Content management

Although document storage is hardly new in this era, SharePoint functions as a flexible content management system (CMS) where users can share files and collaborate on team sites, document libraries, and so on.

Project managers who want to keep their team in sync can take advantage of SharePoint’s document versioning features. When all files are stored in a central location, employees always have access to the most up-to-date versions of document libraries, OneNote minutes, Excel files, and team calendars. Managers can also view list items or documents in previous formats before major changes were made, allowing them to keep track of team contributions.

If you’re dealing with literally thousands of documents and site content, SharePoint’s metadata capture and search can save you from spending hours sifting through several intranet pages. Metadata capture records keywords and phrases from files automatically, helping you retrieve specific documents quickly from a single search engine query. For example, typing “budget 2016” will pull out relevant documents concerning your company expenses in 2016.

Business intelligence

Through its deep integration with Excel, Office Web Apps, and other best-of-breed programs, SharePoint can be your go-to platform for business insight and reporting. Some integrations you should consider include:

  • ERP integrations - allow you to compile general ledger, inventory, and other financial data and shape it into charts that can be shared to a SharePoint site designed specifically to show your company’s financial trajectory.
  • PerformancePoint Services - lets you create dashboards, scorecards, and KPIs to monitor and analyze your business performance.
  • Visio - renders data gathered from SharePoint into high-quality, browser-based diagrams.

These analytical tools could then be used to inform future business decisions and strategies, eliminating the need for business owners to make sense of disparate data.

Now that you have some ideas for how to use SharePoint, ask yourself what you need it for. Do you need to establish company intranets, CRM, workflows, or all the above? SharePoint can add a lot of value to your business, but only if the platform is molded to serve your requirements.

We at WhiteOwl are firm believers in the benefits SharePoint can bring to businesses. But not many organizations understand its capabilities. Consult with our experts today to see how your business can use and benefit from the SharePoint platform. We will assess your business processes and apply the appropriate solutions that cater to your needs.