As we deliver training and consultancy to customers around the world this question is one that we get asked a lot. Now, more than ever, companies are moving to the cloud and using SharePoint. However, we are finding that companies are putting their files and folders into SharePoint by dumping them in a library, which is certainly one way of getting your data into the cloud, but it’s lazy and not cost effective to use it in this manner.
This will often lead to users thinking SharePoint isn’t that good because there was no navigation built, search is not configured, folders are uploaded with no content, no training has been given and users are just expected to use it. This is something we have came across more often than you would think and it greatly effects adoption and hostility to using the technology. This is usually where we get brought in to fix the problem by providing actual user education and a solution in the cloud that is more suitable to the demands of the users. The perfect example I give people is imagine moving house? You are moving house because you’re looking for improvements or better methods of storage and for more space? So moving your data to the cloud, in essence, is the same thing and you will understand the benefits of moving, what new features are available and what the possibilities are. Then, when you go to move, everything has been boxed up, old junk removed and you have planned how to move. You move in room by room carefully planning where all your stuff will go… but when moving your important data for your business you just simply drag and drop and expect everything to fit and work?
So PLAN ahead! Speak to consultants and ensure you’re moving correctly. SharePoint is a very powerful tool and has a lot to offer. With appropriate training and education you can really start to harness the power of SharePoint and Microsoft 365 and quickly realize that SharePoint is much more than just a place to dump files. Below we will highlight some of the key areas you could use SharePoint and inspire you to think again about your move to SharePoint.
The first thing about SharePoint we will address is that, yes you can use SharePoint to store files but, we would suggest looking at documents as ‘content’. Content comes in many forms like News, Reports, Forms, Documents, PDF, Pages and more. SharePoint will give you the ability to store a vast amount of varying content. By using Content Types and configuring Lists and Libraries it will allow you to capture all kinds of data and information to help your business. For example, turn Excel lists into SharePoint Lists, Get old policies and Procedure documents turned into SharePoint Pages for more visibility and build libraries to store video and images more effectively. The possibilities of storing content is usually down to the creativity of an administrator in a business and without this drive and passion you may not be using the full extent of storing content.
Using SharePoint to manage projects has been very popular, especially when we consider Microsoft Project. We have the ability to create Site Collections for a Project from a Template which is a new feature available to use now in Microsoft 365 and this allows us to create new projects quickly and easily. However, with each project being its own site collection, we can govern and control the access to each site collection for internal and external access by storing files and content specific to a project in its own site but, also keeping things safe and secure while integrating retention and sensitivity on that data to protect the information. Finally, we can add in features like PowerBi to report on Projects and Power Automate to send out project updates. We can also consider the use of Microsoft 365 groups to include Teams and Exchange to include better ways to collaborate and communicate with members of the project. This is a very extensive topic and a very popular use of SharePoint.
Moving to the cloud makes it much easier to collaborate with customers because we now have the ability to create guest users in your tenant and create SharePoint Sites for our customers/clients to now access. This will give them access to files, forms and data that may be necessary to share. So, gone are the days of sharing over emails and having multiple attachments, we can now direct clients to a SharePoint site making it easier for you to communicate, share and work together. This can be great for IT providers, Consultancy Firms and more. As you can create up to 2,000,000 Site Collections, every client could have a space dedicated to them.
Using SharePoint as an Intranet has to be the most popular usage case for SharePoint. This has been around for many years, from the early days of SharePoint, and is a major factor for using SharePoint. News, Events, Business Updates, Department Information and more but the best SharePoint Intranets are those that primarily focus on helping people get work done and promote engagement. You can also build and design sites to match your brand and organisation. Take a look at the SharePoint Look Book for inspiration and ideas on how you can use SharePoint to create helpful and useful content for your employees. https://lookbook.microsoft.com/
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