What is Sharepoint?

Microsoft’s Sharepoint is a collaboration tool which makes work processes easier in large organisations. As a piece of software it improves project management, as well as wider company collaboration. It’s all about connectivity and is a key way to avoid communication issues and keep staff up to date on the progress of a project.

Key features of Sharepoint

Sharepoint is a platform where company data can be stored and is updated for all users whenever a change is made. Here’s a few of the main ways the software can be used:
  • to store and share documents and images
  • to store and share templates
  • to create a master calendar to keep all staff on track with dates and times
  • to view the evolution of a document – from the current version to past versions
  • to search for a document, template, file or staff member within Sharepoint.
Sharepoint also integrates with other software such as Microsoft Word and Excel. This makes it easy to transfer documents and information into Sharepoint without worrying about losing format or compatibility. It’s also possible to set up alerts about any changes to specific documents or files making it simple to track updates to a project someone is working on. The most recent version of Sharepoint includes a basic search function that can be used in a variety of ways. For example, a project manager can search for a company employee with a specific skill set that they require for a new project. Or a user can search for similar documents to one they need to create, so that they have a model to refer to.

For a good overview of the many features that Sharepoint has on offer take a look at this cheat sheet by ComputerWorld.

Customising Sharepoint

While Sharepoint has many great features on its own and can vastly improve communication and efficiency within a company, it does have its limits. Like much ‘off-the-shelf’ software it is fairly generic in its capabilities so that it appeals to a wide market. However, by working with developers familiar with Sharepoint, it can be customised to better suit an individual company. For example, the search feature in Sharepoint can be expanded to be more comprehensive. It can be adapted to take into account specific terminology used within a company and produce more relevant search results for a query.