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What is SharePoint: Everything You Need to Know About the Microsoft Platform


Microsoft SharePoint is a web-based collaboration platform primarily used to create websites or an intranet. The platform has a few benefits including centralised administration, customisation, document management, application integration, enhanced security, etc.

Nowadays, teamwork looks a bit different. Before COVID we could walk to a colleague’s desk if we needed to ask them a question or collaborate on a project. But now that more people are working from home it is no longer practical to expect people to collaborate face-to-face.

Teams working from home have had to adopt collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, Outlook, and Skype for Business.

Let’s take a look at what SharePoint is, what it can do and what benefits it can provide your teams.

What is SharePoint?

Image Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft SharePoint is a web-based platform, similar to Google Drive but with greater functionality, created for simplified collaboration.

The platform allows Microsoft 365 users to share and manage content (files, resources, company news, etc.) and applications to collaborate across the organisation.

What is SharePoint Used for?

The primary use for SharePoint is to create internal websites, also known as intranets.

What are the Benefits of an Intranet for your Business?

1. Employees can find essential information needed to complete their tasks.

2. It can make the onboarding process easier as everything about the company is available to new team members.

3. It can encourage employees to share knowledge with co-workers about their industry.

3 More Things you can do with SharePoint

The powerful team collaboration software is a great solution to:

1. Share Files – SharePoint allows for easy file sharing with employees in your organisation while allowing them easy access. Users can locate and edit files from any device anywhere they have an internet connection.

2. Simultaneously Edit a Document – No need to wait for the other person to finish their edits on a document. With SharePoint, your peers can work on a document at the same time without losing their edits.

3. Access the Document Version History – If you make changes to a document, you can access its version history.

What are the Benefits of SharePoint?

SharePoint offers several benefits to its users, such as:

1. Centralised Administration

Admins can perform administrative tasks in a central location. These tasks include application management, security, system settings, general application settings, migrations, and more. The tool is ideal to ensure the intranet is up to date and ready for employees to use.

2. Customisation

SharePoint allows its users to customise the platform how they choose. They can create custom layouts for their websites and add additional sections such as news, events, galleries, etc. Users can personalise the design, page content, workflows, navigation, and forms.

3. Document Management

The Microsoft collaboration tool provides a secure space to share, store, organise, and access essential company information. It allows you to easily manage records, policy documents, lists, and any other data needed to continue business processes.

4. Application Integration

Another great benefit of SharePoint is that it can integrate other business applications. It can connect with your CRM, your Office 365 Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), Microsoft Exchange Server, and even Microsoft OneDrive for Business.

SharePoint also integrates other productivity apps like Teams, Microsoft Graph, and Flow.

5. Enhanced Security

No need to worry about unauthorised access or other security concerns, as the platform includes advanced security features such as enhanced authentication and new workflow upgrades.

6. Simple File Sharing

As we’ve mentioned before, SharePoint is a simple method for employees to securely share files, news and other information with their project team or department. Users are easily able to collaborate with members inside and outside of the organisation on any device.

7. Keep Employees Up to Date

SharePoint is the ideal resource to build unity. It keeps employees informed about company news and other resources on your custom intranet.

8. Transform Business Processes

SharePoint allows you to completely transform and automate your business processes with tools like SharePoint libraries, PowerApps, and Microsoft Flow by creating workflows, rich forms, and custom apps made for every device.

Your teams can collect and store critical information from suppliers, partners, and customers to speed up processes, make informed decisions, and track customer preferences.

9. Completely Control the Back-End

You have complete control over the back-end of your intranet.

10. Scale at your Pace

As your company evolves and your processes change, you can scale at your own pace with SharePoint since you are in complete control.

11. Choose a Site Type

With SharePoint, users can build a site type that is right for their teams. Options include:

Communication Site – Ideal for one-way information sharing, which allows you to add content in a visually appealing way for informing purposes. It can display the latest company news, policies, team photos, product photos, etc. This type of site isn’t connected with Office 365 apps.

Team Site with Office 365 Group – Includes integrated apps ideal for collaboration, including Teams, Outlook, and Planner.

Team Site without Office 365 Group – This option is exclusively for administrators. It’s not focused on collaboration, but rather intended for wider audiences.

12. Access Intranet on your Phone

With SharePoint, users are able to access information on the intranet via a mobile app allowing them to access content from anywhere.

SharePoint Online vs SharePoint Server

Image Credit: ScienceSoft

What is SharePoint Online?

SharePoint Online is a cloud-based service developed by Microsoft. Users don’t need to install SharePoint Server on-prem and businesses of any size can subscribe to the service.

You can subscribe to SharePoint Online only or bundle it with a Microsoft 365 plan.

What is SharePoint Server?

SharePoint Server (also known as SharePoint On-Premise) is a locally-hosted service running on hardware owned by your company. Since it’s not hosted by Microsoft, you are responsible for storage, server maintenance, hardware, and infrastructure upkeep.

What’s the Difference Between SharePoint Online and SharePoint Server?

SharePoint Online

  • Hosted by Microsoft (cloud-based)
  • Microsoft is responsible for    architecture, storage and hardware
  • Automatic updates
  • Recurring Costs (licensing)
  • Customization depends on   infrastructure and updates
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) with 99.9% availability
  • Microsoft is responsible for scaling
  • Microsoft takes care of backups

SharePoint Server

  • Locally Hosted
  • User is responsible for architecture,   storage and hardware
  • Manually download and install updates
  • Purchase License Once but has further costs (hardware upgrades and maintenance)
  • Unlimited customisation
  • You are responsible for availability
  • You are responsible for scaling
  • Manual backups

Another Deployment Option: SharePoint Hybrid

This option allows users to have the best of both worlds by syncing SharePoint Online and SharePoint Server.

What Roles are Available in SharePoint?

SharePoint Developer – Responsible for developing and customising the platform

SharePoint Consultant – Responsible for providing design solutions, helping clients with SharePoint, etc.

SharePoint Administrator – Responsible for maintaining the platform.

SharePoint Architect – Responsible for project management.

4 Tips on How to Effectively use SharePoint in Your Organisation

– Ensure documents can be easily found by organising files into their appropriate folders and using informative file naming conventions. Click here for a quick guide on file naming conventions.

Use SharePoint alerts to stay up to date with changes to documents, tasks, events, etc. Users will receive an email with the notification.

– Ensure employees are trained on the many features SharePoint provides to allow them to use the platform to its full potential.

– Make use of SharePoint’s large add-ins directory. There are hundreds of tools available to make users’ lives so much easier. Have a look at the available add-ins here.

What Microsoft 365 Plan do you Need to Access SharePoint?

SharePoint is available to users currently enrolled in SharePoint Online Plan 1, SharePoint Online Plan 2, and Office 365 E3.

Get in touch with our Microsoft 365 consultants to set up SharePoint for your organisation.


Cloud-based Service — On-demand services delivered to companies over the internet or The Cloud.

CRM — A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a strategy used to manage interactions with both existing and potential customers. It helps companies keep track of sales, provides insights, track customer interactions, etc.

IntranetAn intranet is a computer network for sharing information, collaboration tools, operational systems, and other computing services within an organisation, usually to the exclusion of access by outsiders.

Version History — Keeps track of updates or revisions made to a document and allows users to roll back to a previous version if needed.

Migration — A migration in the IT world means to move data to a new environment such as mailboxes, users, records, etc.

ServerA server is a computer that provides data to other computers. It may serve data to systems on a local area network (LAN) or a wide area network (WAN) over the Internet. Many types of servers exist, including web servers, mail servers, and file servers. (Definition by techterms.com)

Get SharePoint with Microsoft 365

SharePoint empowers your team with the needed tools to power through projects and maintain productivity. Speak to our Microsoft 365 consultants to learn more about the powerful collaboration tool.

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