A typical day in a business organization asks for continuous collaboration among teams, managing documents, scheduling meetings, searching relevant information, tracking team progress and sharing emails. To effectively execute these organizational activities demands the use of a robust tool that helps collaborate, eases the document management process and works as a central repository for your organization’s critical data and information.
Microsoft SharePoint is a one stop solution that streamlines all your business activities in a way that promotes teamwork and imparts a sense of ease and confidence in your organization’s workforce.
Out of the many great features that SharePoint offers, we have identified the top 5 that can help enhance productivity at your organization.
Documents form a major data and information repository for any organization. And managing a high document load could be a daunting task if not done by using a specialized tool and application. SharePoint is one such tool that offers great document management, apart from its other features.
In SharePoint documents can be organized in site collections, sites and libraries. SharePoint Server comes with a host of features that help organize and store documents, from dedicated sites to loosely structured document libraries for instant document creation and collaboration. Here are a few key functionalities that form an inherent part of SharePoint’s Document Management.
- Ease in Storing and Organizing documents
- Searching for the right documents, files or folders will be much simpler
- Multi user collaboration anytime, anywhere from any device
- Unified workflows
- Files access only as per defined user permissions
For most organizations in today’s times, team collaboration is the engine that drives workplace productivity. The beauty of SharePoint lies in the fact that any team member can create and maintain a SharePoint site or instance and sanction which other team members can join. Moreover, SharePoint offers a highly secure cloud powered platform. We bring to the fore a few proven methods by means of which SharePoint delivers effective collaboration.
- Centralized Location: Every instance created in SharePoint in fact becomes a central location for team members to collaborate. Apart from sharing documents, these instances can also be used for Chat, Video Conference, assigning and tracking tasks and work with calendars. Team members can also exchange mails that are restricted to a particular SharePoint server.
- Exclusive Access: Any user within an organization, who has been given the appropriate rights, can create a SharePoint instance. The user that creates a new instance becomes the admin of that instance and can decide on the duration for which this instance will exist, identify which other team members can contribute and participate and what level of access rights each of the member will be granted. It is important to note that only those members who are authorized to can access the documents on a particular SharePoint server.
- Co-authoring: Leveraging a robust cloud platform, all documents that are created and edited in SharePoint are saved to the cloud almost instantly. Moreover, documents on a SharePoint instance can be accessed and edited simultaneously by any number of team members. This feature helps multiple team members work on a document or sections within a document and SharePoint ensures that the document retains the inputs provided by each team member.
We’ve seen how SharePoint helps keep all organizational information at a central location and how easy it is to access files and folders, collaborate with team members and manage your documents with utmost ease. These exact features could also help you plan and execute your Projects much better, right? And if we look at the SharePoint architecture, we understand why it is a great option to manage your projects effectively.
For the purpose of our understanding let us split the SharePoint platform into four distinct parts with a view of managing projects;
- SharePoint Lists: The very first step toward effective management of projects is to identify the project tasks and activities in the form of a list. This could be a Risk Log, Issue list, Activity list etc. SharePoint Lists helps create just these lists for any of the project process as one may want to.
- Web parts: The project is set off to a good start when all the necessary process lists are in place. The next logical step in project management is to monitor the performance of the activities in these various lists. Web parts provide a high-level overview in the form of reports and dashboards to track the progress of the lists and their inherent activities.
- Sites: Having project lists and monitoring them in the form of reports and dashboards ensures a high project success rate. It now becomes equally important to keep these lists and web parts together in a single location. SharePoint Sites offers a central collaboration where all project Lists and Web parts are kept together in a single project management site.
- Site Collections: When it comes to managing projects, organizations have project portfolios that is a collection of multiple distinct projects from different divisions, departments or verticals. While Project Managers manage their individual projects, a Program or Portfolio Manager is daunted with the task of managing all these individual projects that there are under the roof of their organization. This seemingly complex task can be simplified by SharePoint Site Collections where multiple individual projects can be effectively managed as they are logically grouped together in a site collection.
Seamless Integration with Office 365
Owing to a seamless integration between Office 365 and SharePoint Online, office 365 products like Word, OneDrive, Teams, PowerPoint, Yammer etc. can be used from within SharePoint.
For instance, SharePoint Online and Microsoft teams facilitates hassle-free communications and information exchange. SharePoint Online and Planner assists in effective management of projects and tasks. Power BI when embedded to a SharePoint page can help display dashboards, reports, charts on the SharePoint instance enabling users to make use of this readily available information.
Any organization comprises numerous organizational processes across various departments like Operations, Finance, HR, Marketing and many more. These departments execute processes like Billings and Payments, Employee Assessments, generating Financial Statements etc. Process automation can offer unprecedented benefits in executing these processes more effectively and efficiently. SharePoint helps to do just that with its Automated Workflows. There are 3 key workflow elements within SharePoint that help automate processes;
- Workflow Mailboxes: Stores workflow related emails
- Workflow Notifications: Notifies changes in workflows
- Workflow Task Management: Helps organize tasks with resources and timelines
With SharePoint the business process automation can be done in two ways;
- Built-in Workflows: There are 5 built-in workflows in SharePoint namely Approval Workflow, Feedback Workflow, Signature Workflow, Publishing Workflow and Three State Workflow that can be used to automate fairly straightforward and simple business processes.
- Custom Workflows: All organizations have a few handful processes that do not fit in with the standard available workflows within a system. Such processes ask for development of custom workflows to successfully execute the process automation. SharePoint very much offers the option of creating custom workflows so that your specific processes can be automated to the best extent possible.
SharePoint undoubtedly is a proven one stop solution for an organization’s Documentation, Process Automation, Project Management and Collaboration needs. TrnDigital is a Gold Certified Microsoft Partner with experience in implementing Microsoft 365 solutions like SharePoint for organizations across the globe.