What is SharePoint Online? Is it right for my business?

What is SharePoint Online? Is it right for my business?

It’s not uncommon for people to shrug when asked about what Microsoft's SharePoint Online is. Unlike Microsoft Word or Excel, SharePoint Online is not as well known or as widely used, though like those productivity tools, SharePoint can provide your business with many benefits.

Except that, strictly speaking, SharePoint Online is not a tool. Rather, it is a web-based communications platform upon which you can build the following things:

Intranet A private network within your enterprise that your employees can use to securely share computing resources and proprietary information
Extranet A private network that is similar to an intranet, except that it uses public telecommunications and internet technology to give third parties — vendors, suppliers, business partners, and customers — access to the portion of your company’s information that they’re privy to
Collaboration portal A web portal — i.e., a website that’s specifically designed to consolidate and uniformly present information from different sources (such as online forums and emails) and act as a single point of access for these — that allows users to easily and securely manage and work together on shared files
Application A computer software or program

Why use SharePoint Online?

Small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) initially use rudimentary file sharing systems such as email and folder-based document management systems. While those may be sufficient when your team is small, they can be very inefficient once you add more staff and departments. If you used to track the progress of your projects via email, you might find email threads becoming too long and difficult to keep up with. Document edit submissions may take too long, and email attachments may be missed.

You might want to move to an external file sharing and collaboration platform. While this may prove to be convenient, inexpensive, and easy to use, you are not assured of data security. Hackers may intercept file transfers, files without backups may accidentally be deleted, or access rights to proprietary information may be mistakenly granted to the wrong people.

If your growing business needs to manage large stores of shared information and keep them all safe at the same time, SharePoint Online is exactly the platform you need.

Some use cases for SharePoint Online

Team and project portals

With SharePoint Online, you can create a site where:

  • All of your files related to a project can be kept in one place
  • Multiple people work on the same file at the same time
  • You can work on a file using one machine, then resume working on it on another device

Knowledge sharing archives

Consolidate your company’s FAQs, training manuals, and other informational resources — even topical chat discussions over Teams (Microsoft’s chat-based collaboration tool in Office 365) — all in one place. SharePoint’s powerful search function helps users find what they need quickly, which also makes updating outdated information a breeze.

Newsletters and community boards

Use SharePoint Online to distribute the latest news about your organization and share interesting content curated from the web. You can even set it up to reach third parties such as vendors and business partners, and you can have community boards that cater to specific interest groups as well.

We have barely scratched the surface of what SharePoint Online can do for your business. To learn more about whether or not it is right for your business, contact XBASE Technologies Corporation. Our experts are eager to show you all the possibilities our Exponentially Better™ IT services can unlock for your company.

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