What is SharePoint? A Beginner’s Guide to MS SharePoint Software

What is SharePoint?

While researching how to make the most of Microsoft’s various software tools for your own business, you may have discovered and asked “what is SharePoint?” Below is a guide through the basics of MS SharePoint, how it works, and most importantly, how it can improve sharing, security, and overall efficiency across your company’s internal network. Knowing the basic what and why of SharePoint will allow you to better understand how QiPoint’s tools can assist in advancing your network capabilities as well.

What is SharePoint? 

Microsoft created SharePoint to improve the function of internal sharing, security, and document storage on your business’s online network. SharePoint is installed on your network as a set of user-friendly intranet sites, designed to be maintained by your employees rather than leaving them to be dependent on IT services to interact on your company network. If you’re a company with multiple departments, you’ll find that the Microsoft SharePoint server allows you to easily setup custom sharing controls across various departments as well. That means you can provide each department or employee of your business with specific access points to the company network, ensuring the right information gets shared to relevant departments only.

Not only that, the SharePoint software makes document collaboration less of a headache for everyone involved. Historically, the chances of confusing which version of a document is most up to date or who made what changes to a document, were great. This problem is averted with SharePoint’s version-controlled document storage, which keeps all document edits stored in one place so you’re not having to keep track of changes via multiple sources, platforms, windows or docs.

MS SharePoint is a powerful tool when it comes to managing your business’s network in a way that’s both advanced from a data standpoint and approachable from an employee standpoint.

Why use SharePoint?

What is SharePoint used for specifically, or as it might apply to your business? Beyond document control and collaboration, SharePoint offers many other helpful sharing and security  features. By offering security support to your employees or groups of employees (i.e. teams or departments), you have the option to grant or deny access to certain intranet sites you build within SharePoint. Beyond controlling access, you can also specify whether a user has the authority to making changes or delete content as well.

Speaking of deleted content, all deleted items are sent to a ‘recycle bin’ on the SharePoint server. This allows for you to tidy up your intranet sites quickly, without the stress of deleting something important. Need to recover something you accidentally deleted or someone else at your company may still need to reference? Restore it from your recycle bin at any point.  No more losing sleep over lost files.

With SharePoint services, nothing is really lost. The software also keeps a version history of everything you upload or put on its intranet sites. What this means is you can easily restore a document to its previous version at any time, as well as control who has the authority to make this type of retroactive change. As an added layer of security, you can also setup email alerts anytime a file or document is added to the network, changed, or put in the recycle bin. Alerts are customizable alongside each user or team’s access settings.

Does your business tend to collaborate on large, visual projects? No problem. SharePoint can also swiftly consolidate and store changes on all sorts of large files, whether they’re videos, photos, drawings or larger content pieces. Size should never be an issue when it comes to SharePoint’s storage capabilities.

Also, you’re concerned about what design changes can be made to your SharePoint pages, the capabilities for customization are relatively good. Although your SharePoint pages won’t be completely customizable, a developer should be able to easily update fonts, colors, and lists, as well as make basic formatting changes as needed. QiPoint’s tools can assist with adding even more advance changes or features.

At this point, you’re probably wondering “What is SharePoint not able to do?” The features of SharePoint are indeed extensive and worth exploring if you oversee or manage a company network. Beyond the detailed sharing and permissions features, you’ll also have to option to utilize a task management tool, calendar, and a news board to broadcast updates or important announcements to your staff.

How do I get started?

Having a SharePoint foundation at the base of your company’s network will provide you with peace of mind from a security and storage perspective, allowing you to keep collaborative projects centralized and protected from lost changes or unapproved access. Your employees will be able to collaborate more seamlessly on projects, without having to worry about keeping up with long and confusing email threads. It is undoubtedly a time-saving tool designed to help your business run smarter and efficiently.

Unfortunately,setting up your first SharePoint intranet site is not simple enough that anyone can do it. You’ll want to contact QiPoint for insight, or utilize a developer or someone with IT experience to explore next steps for getting started.

At QiPoint, we build SharePoint management and reporting tools for businesses. Our SharePoint Essentials Toolkit only enhances your SharePoint experience by providing tools that go hand and hand with SharePoint’s features to better automate and streamline systems as whole. If you decided to utilize QiPoint,  you’ll be able to better secure content, improve SharePoint governance, and greatly automate overall management of the SharePoint software. Our tools are designed to improve day-to-day management of SharePoint, further empowering your SharePoint Owners and Administrators to better safeguard your investment and enterprise content. With QiPoint, you can gain deeper insight with our SharePoint permissions management tools, broken links, site and list settings, user activity and much more.

Now that you’ve found the answer to “What is SharePoint?” are you ready to put it to work for your business? If so, check out our tools for SharePoint or our SharePoint designer alternatives and see how they can help!  [Setup a time to talk to one of our experts.]

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Chris Ang - CCNA, A+, MCPD, MCTS

Chris Ang (New York, NY USA) is a SharePoint Architect with 20 years experience in programming and network infrastructure.

Currently working at QIPoint (http://www.qipoint.com), he has helped architect and develop SharePoint Enterprise products for customers such as the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, U.N. Security Council of Netherlands, Australian Government, U.S. Dept of Treasury, U.S. Dept of Justice, Canadian Dept of Defense, Scotiabank, JPMorgan CHASE Bank, Intel, Ford Motors, Microsoft, NASA, DARPA, SNC Lavalin, Penguin Books, and more.

He is a proud father of 2, and when he has any spare time, he loves to paint portraits of his kids.
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