For day-to-day work Word, Excel and PowerPoint are implicitly used by most of us.
However, SharePoint has not reached that position in spite of being around for a decade.
Here is a new approach of how to promote SharePoint integration into your everyday work process.
The benefits are enormous and unbelievable.
Estimated reading time 10 min
SharePoint is a platform, not a product. It is a combination of myriad of functional modules which work together out-of-the-box. This article is not a complete discussion about all the capabilities of SharePoint.
It is a new way of looking at some specific capabilities from an end user perspective.
Beyond storing and sharing
Some simple concepts first. OneDrive for Business is a part of SharePoint. Office 365 also contains SharePoint. Some companies have their own SharePoint setup.
Most of us know that SharePoint is used for storing and sharing files created elsewhere – typically using Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
But do we know that SharePoint itself can be used for creating things?
Even if you do know it, why should you care? Your work is getting done anyway!
Wait till you read the rest of the article and then ask this question to yourself again.
SharePoint as a creation tool
SharePoint is a web site. Usually web sites are created by technical people and programmers.
But SharePoint is different. It is designed for users like you and me.
SharePoint allows anyone to create a web site – without knowing programming and without approaching IT.
“Web site” here means an intranet site – something which is accessible only for people within the organization. However, you can add external persons as well (if SharePoint is appropriately configured).
Even if this may sound very fancy – what is the practical use?
As a user what will I put on the web site? Why do I need it?
Well… SharePoint doesn’t just create a blank web site.
SharePoint creates meaningful web sites. Sites which have a purpose.
I am going to do this in reverse. Let us look at our daily business needs and see how SharePoint help us.
|Do you need this?||This is how SharePoint will help|
|Get data from various people in Excel||Create a List in SharePoint and capture data. No need to copy paste information from multiple Excel files|
|Make sure everyone uses the same Sales Proposal Template||Create a Sales Document Library in SharePoint. Attach your proposal template there and let everyone create the proposals from SharePoint|
|Manage tasks related to a critical projects. Tasks are delegated to people. Everyone wants to know when a task is completed.||Create a Task list in SharePoint. Connect it to Outlook for easy management. Everyone creates Alerts so that SharePoint will inform you when tasks are completed.|
|Shared calendars like Holiday Calendar, Training Calendar, Events Calendar, Submission Calendar, etc.||Create a Calendar in SharePoint. Connect it to Outlook if required.|
|Distribute common PowerPoint, Word, Excel templates to everyone across the organization||Create a Document Library in SharePoint to store all templates. With little help from IT, the templates appear in File – New – Custom templates section for EVERYONE.|
|You want to store pictures for events, press coverage, customer specific activities, construction, fabrication||Create a Picture Library in SharePoint|
|Keep Contacts across your team in one place||Create a Contacts list. Manage it from Outlook|
|Keep slides which everyone needs but few people create like latest promotions, quarterly financial results, customer case studies, list of customers, new projects, etc.||Create a Slide Library. Insert specific slides within presentations. Slides when changed are updated automatically.|
|Capture data about specific business activities like Customer Care, Complaints, IT helpdesk, Dispatches, Installations, etc.||Create a List. Add desired columns. Connect to Excel for live reporting.|
|Store legal documents securely so that they cannot be destroyed as per the stipulated norms||Create a Records management site. Specify retention rules and store documents, contracts, scanned documents, etc.|
|Capture feedback after training||Create a List in SharePoint. Ask people to add feedback directly to SharePoint. Connect to Excel for reporting and analysis|
|Conduct surveys and polls||Create a Survey, send link to people, analyze in Excel|
|Manage complex data about business activities||Create an Access application. Share the forms and reports with others. Analyze in Access or Excel|
|Keep a list of useful links||Create Links list in SharePoint.|
All the items in bold shown in the list above are called Apps in SharePoint. Apps means applications – something which you apply to your work needs.
Is that all?
No way! We are just getting started …
This is just the beginning. We can create a site containing a specific set of items from the list above.
What’s more, we can add our business specific columns to make it more relevant and useful. For example, for contacts you can add a category column – Customer or Vendor.
Furthermore, you can decide who can see or not see the contents. External parties can also be a part of the system.
We will see the benefits of creating things on SharePoint and more in-depth coverage in future articles.
For now, just ask your IT team to give you a SharePoint site within which you can try these things out.