You may have heard about SharePoint, but what is it exactly and how can your business benefit from using the no.1 intranet solution?
Or perhaps your organization is already using SharePoint? Find out why you should upgrade to the latest version – SharePoint Server 2013.
What is it?
Microsoft SharePoint is a Web application platform developed by Microsoft. SharePoint is most commonly used for intranets, document management and content management, but recent versions have a much wider range of possible uses.
SharePoint is hands-down the most popular software for creating corporate intranets. Recent surveys showed that around 50% of all intranets are developed using SharePoint and it is used by 78% of Fortune 500 companies.
Out of the box, SharePoint has a Microsoft Office-like interface, and is closely integrated with the Office suite. All the web tools are designed to be usable by non-technical users.
SharePoint is extremely flexible – it can be used to provide intranet portals, document and file management, collaboration and realtime document sharing, social networks, extranets, websites, enterprise search, and business intelligence. Sharepoint can be integrated into virtually any other business system. It can also automate business processes, such as document approval, by associating common workflows with data.
What’s in the Toolbox?
SharePoint is made up of the following key components –
A site is a shared work environment. You can set these up without any specialist knowledge using a graphical interface. A site may be accessible to your whole organization or just a particular group.
Communication and understanding between you and your co-workers happens in communities. Communities grow around shared knowledge and collaboration.
Your organization’s documents can be stored, found, shared, updated, managed, documented, archived, traced or restored in SharePoint. All can be done in accordance with the relevant compliance or governance policies.
You and your colleagues can quickly search for relevant communities, documents, people, or sites within your organization based on keywords, refinement and content analysis.
Information from any part of your organization can be used inside useful contexts, such as rich interactive dashboards, charts and embedded Excel or Visio content, providing information that can improve effectiveness.
SharePoint lets you combine data, documents and processes to create composite applications or ‘mash-ups’ without any coding knowledge.
What’s new in 2013?
Here are just a few of the key features that make the upgrade to 2013 well worth it –
- A cleaner, simpler, easier-to use interface, utilizing the universal Office 365 navigation, supporting touchscreens, actions on hover, drag-and-drop, and document editing using Office Web Apps.
New Mobile Experience
- Redesigned landscape and portrait display modes for smartphones and tablets.
- Push notifications and location services support.
- Mobile-enhanced Business Intelligence content.
- Office Web Apps redesigned for touchscreen devices.
Increased Browser Compatibility
- Previously the full SharePoint experience was only available in Internet Explorer on Windows. SharePoint 2013 is compatible with most major browsers on Windows and Mac, smartphones and tablets.
- New workflow advancements mean a system less prone to outages.
- New authentication enhancements improve security and connectivity. (See Technical Details below)
SharePoint 2013 introduces new ways to collaborate and share your work:
- Social network-like features allow you to share ideas, post activity updates, get answers from each other and check what colleagues are working on.
- Publish your Office documents to SharePoint and share them with anyone inside or outside your organization.
- Update your activity feed and share documents on the move from your smartphone or tablet.
- Arrange all your projects and tasks, displaying them as upcoming deliverables across Outlook, SharePoint and MS Project.
- Gather your team’s emails, documents and meeting notes into one place by setting up a team site.
- Documents are synchronized across all your devices using Microsoft SkyDrive.
- Connect with others in your organization by interests, past projects, and documents published.
- Transform data into interactive reports with Excel 2013 and publish them to SharePoint.
- Customize and filter your searches to get more relevant results faster, along with recommendations on people and documents to follow.
- Develop a public-facing website using new streamlined design features.
- A vastly improved Content Management System (CMS) for publishing websites.
- Create powerful data mash-ups using PowerPivot, ad hoc reports with Power View, and dashboards pulling in data from multiple sources with new business intelligence tools.
- Build community sites and ‘My Sites’ to share and collaborate with others.
- Automatically convert your presentations and spreadsheets from older versions of Office, or even to other formats such as web pages and PDF with automation services.
- Create and edit tasks across work management systems including SharePoint, Exchange and Project. For example, tasks edited in Exchange Server from a mobile device are updated in the SharePoint ‘My Tasks’ list.
- Business Connectivity Services (BCS) improve the ways in which SharePoint 2013 and Office 2013 can access data stored outside of SharePoint. (See Technical Details below)
Find Out More
SharePoint is a vastly capable, flexible, powerful system that can be tailored to meet the needs of any organization. The new features mentioned above are really just the tip of the iceberg. For more details and a free consultation on how your business can benefit from using SharePoint contact us today.
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