Senior Manager of Business Management Services & Nonprofit Practice

James spent over 20 years at Microsoft as a Senior Program Manager. He’s a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and has a Project Management Professional (PMP) designation. James is also a full-stack software developer and can architect high quality technical solutions. A lover of all things outer space, James is a volunteer for the Mars Society, the world’s largest nonprofit devoted to sending people to the planet Mars.

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SharePoint is a tool for businesses to collaborate and streamline workflows

SharePoint is a knowledge management system created and marketed by Microsoft.  It is tightly integrated with Microsoft’s Office products and allows teams to collaborate on documents, presentations, and spreadsheets while also maintaining security and control over versions.  Have you ever been in a situation where you and a colleague are emailing a document back and forth and lose track of which version is the latest one?  SharePoint is designed to prevent those situations from happening, while also allowing you and your colleague to collaborate on the document together in real-time.

SharePoint was originally developed almost twenty years ago but has kept pace with modern technologies.  The most recent version, SharePoint Online, is offered as a cloud-based solution that does not require a company to install anything in its data center.  Many organizations don’t realize that they already have a license for SharePoint if they are using Office365 for office applications or email.  For those organizations, SharePoint is effectively free!  Microsoft also still offers an on-premises version that can be installed on a physical server, for companies that want to retain tight control over their information.

SharePoint can be used to manage large amounts of documents, across an entire company.  Sections of the overall SharePoint experience can be customized to individual departments or work groups.  These can be set up as individual “Sites” of the main “Hub Site” that SharePoint provides for an internal company portal.  SharePoint also has a personal cloud storage location, known as “OneDrive for Business” where an individual person can store their documents and access them from across a variety of devices such as PC, tablet, or phone.

SharePoint can also be used to create workflows between individual roles or groups so that documents are routed for review and approval, or additional actions are taken.  These workflows are highly customizable to the demands of an organization.

Finally, SharePoint can be used as a platform to develop custom web applications to provide any service a company needs.  By building a custom application, any existing internal business applications that use legacy technologies can be integrated with SharePoint and tied to workflows.

The benefits of using SharePoint include:

  • simplifying how multiple people can work on a single document, at the same time.
  • saving previous document versions automatically, ensuring revisions are never lost.
  • increasing the speed and quality of communication across an organization.
  • making it clear where to find documents and enabling documents to be easily searched.
  • enabling documents to be accessed anywhere, including on mobile devices easily.
  • reducing the costs of printing documents that would normally be shared that way.
  • reducing administrative workload for various departments such as HR and IT.
  • simplifying and clarifying business processes to allow an organization to run smoothly.
  • enabling easy archival and retention of older documents to comply with regulations.

Some other positive aspects of SharePoint that may affect a company’s bottom line are reduced time in hunting for documents, reduced overhead for multiple people collaborating on documents, a drop in overall confusion over versions and routing workflows, and shorter business processes.

At Artic Consulting, we are highly skilled with all aspects of SharePoint and have set up document storage, workflows, and custom applications for many of our clients.  By implementing a custom SharePoint solution for one of our clients, they greatly simplified the number of documents stored, eliminating duplicates and retiring other fee-based document management services (such as Google Drive and Dropbox).

Start a Conversation with us to determine how we can help you best leverage SharePoint to gain efficiencies at your company!

Additional Reading:

A typical Modern SharePoint Communcations site.
A typical Modern SharePoint Communcations site.

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