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SharePoint Online – The way forward

SharePoint is a Microsoft product that is still unknown to a wide number of Office 365 users and businesses.

In addition, a lot of users are not fully aware of it’s capabilities. So what is SharePoint, how did it start and what are the benefits of using it?

What is SharePoint?

SharePoint is a Microsoft cloud-based platform, which allows users to create their own site to empower sharing, communication and collaboration within organizations. High customization level and variety of tools in SharePoint, make the platform a creative and flexible workspace.

Some of the main features that come with SharePoint are:

  • File sharing and storage
  • External sharing
  • Content Management
  • Team Sites

How did it start?

SharePoint came about in 2001, initially starting as ‘Office Server’ project and making it’s way into a full-fledged system, now mainly used as a cloud-based solution. Microsoft have released a stable version in May of 2016 which is available with Office 365 subscription, but also can be purchased outright. Until then, SharePoint was overlooked by majority of users as another document management system, however since the major release, Microsoft announced that over 190 million users use SharePoint.

What are the benefits?

From my experiences, SharePoint is a platform which will likely overtake on-premise file storage and management systems in future. Due to increasing requirement for business availability and accessibility, file shares and document folders hosted from servers became a less likely go-to solution. SharePoint is hosted in cloud, meaning it can be accessed anywhere, on any device on the move.

If we look at the example, where a document has to be shared amongst multiple users, on-premise solutions require various additional steps to be undertaken for this to take place. This prolongs the time to complete the task, with remote access usually being the biggest culprit. With SharePoint, a document can be uploaded to the site and then accessed by users from the web-browser once they log in. Taking it further, only one copy of document is required, as modifications to document are saved on the go, providing a collaborative experience which allows a group of people to work on a document or a project, streamlining workflow, processing and accessibility to up-to-date information.

To summarise, SharePoint is not just a file storage system available online, but is a user friendly system utilised for data content management, file sharing, workflows available from anywhere. Forget about complications with on-premise system, SharePoint is here, few mouse clicks away!

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