From intranets to document collaboration, extranets, content management, business intelligence, and much more; there’s a reason why 75,000 customer organizations swear by Microsoft SharePoint.
So, you don’t use SharePoint.
We get it. That’s why you are here. If you would like a comparison between SharePoint and its competitors, read our previous blog post detailing the differences between SharePoint and its biggest rival, Sitecore.
What is SharePoint?
Microsoft SharePoint is a web application that facilitates document management and collaboration. At least, that’s what it started out as. With updates and new releases, the platform started encompassing more and more programs and features. Now this isn’t a software program per se that you install on your desktop, it’s more like a back-end system which links all the devices across your organization. The idea is to facilitate easier collaboration and document sharing. SharePoint makes organizations spanning multiple regions work, coordinate, and communicate just like a company operating out of a single office space.
That’s all good, but why do I need it? What’s in it for me?
You see, in the real world, what Morpheus says doesn’t hold much value. So here are five reasons that’ll help you ascertain how productive you can actually be with SharePoint:
How cool would it be if your company had an internal website which would enable you to sign in and find everything that there is within the organization — from announcements to tasks, company news, existing projects, and employee information etc.? SharePoint enables you to access all company related information with ease. What’s more, it also allows customization, so you can create department and role specific dashboards and even provide different levels of access to employees. Think of intranet like an exclusive club, you know, where you have to be a member to access and avail the facilities the club offers.
With SharePoint, companies now have a shared space to store all their documents and files. These can be accessed by anyone in the organization, unless access to specific documents has been limited. Apart from accessing documents, SharePoint also allows multiple people to work on a single document simultaneously. You can easily track any updates made to a document and have a single version instead of different versions with inputs from other employees.
Another amazing use of SharePoint is extranet. How about extending your intranet to your clients, contractors, or partners? That’s what an extranet is. You can set up a site and share that with outside businesses so that they can have access to specific information and can even upload documents.
Given the vast amount of company and department specific data that gets saved in a SharePoint site, integrating it with Power BI can help visualize and uncover deeper insights. With graphs and charts, companies can make better decisions by discovering larger patterns.
For a company with a single office space, it’s easy for employees to collaborate and work on specific projects, but when you talk about an organization with multiple offices, collaboration is a challenge. With SharePoint, employees can easily work together despite being in different locations. By signing in to SharePoint from their desktops or mobile phones and conveniently accessing company and client related data, coworkers can easily interact without physical presence being a necessity.
SharePoint On-Premises or Online?
At this point, if we’ve done a stellar job, you must already be sold on SharePoint. So the next question is, whether to choose on-premises or cloud? It’s not that one SharePoint environment is better than the other, it all boils down to your requirements. Let’s take a look at some of them:
Are you willing to invest in infrastructure and allocate dedicated resources?
On-Premises, as the name suggests, requires server space (literally) and an IT team to maintain and update those servers. This means that you will have to invest in hardware and people, which is something not every organization would be willing to or be able to afford. On the other hand, with SharePoint Online, there’s no need to invest in hardware or people. It’s all in the cloud.
Can you periodically update the said infrastructure?
Apart from just having a dedicated server and an IT team, SharePoint On-Premises must be regularly updated, patched, and maintained. Its cloud friend, SharePoint Online, is automatically updated by Microsoft.
Where do you want to keep your information?
A lot of companies are either unwilling to, or can’t store information on the cloud due to legal issues, or because they employ resource heavy applications which don’t function properly on a multi-tenant cloud solution. If that’s you, then SharePoint 2016 On-Premises is the way to go.
The ever so important consideration point is cost. As we mentioned above, the On-Premises environment is bound to cost a bit more as you will have to invest in infrastructure and resources, and will have to purchase licenses as well. On the contrary, SharePoint Online is a part of the Office 365 business plan and can be purchase on a per-user per-month basis.
With Microsoft’s relentless focus on Office 365, SharePoint On-Premises users had a scare and wondered if the 2016 release was going to be the last one. The software behemoth assured stakeholders that this wasn’t going to be the last release. In fact, Microsoft is planning to showcase the new SharePoint Framework at the company’s Ignite conference. There’s also a talk about Feature Packs for SharePoint Server 2016, which might just bring Online capabilities to the On-premises environment.