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How to Use Sharepoint Effectively: Best Practices and Mistakes Businesses Should Be Aware Of

How to Use sharepoint effectively

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, twenty-four percent of employed people did all or some of their work at home in 2015.

Thanks to programs like SharePoint, companies can give their employees the freedom to be away from the office but still have access to official documents.

SharePoint is a program developed by Microsoft to offer solutions to companies and organizations in need of a common source for their files. In short, Sharepoint creates an intranet for an organization.

But a program like SharePoint is only efficient and overall effective if the users utilize it as the developers intended. Much like everything else in life, education is the key to success.

A few basic principles can teach you how to use SharePoint effectively.

Sharepoint Basics

Microsoft developed SharePoint thirteen years ago, and it is incredibly popular.  Today, according to Microsoft market research, 78 percent of the Fortune 500 companies use SharePoint.

Sharepoint creates an internal internet, an intranet, to store and share documents, allowing employees to collaborate on them.

As a whole, SharePoint is more effective than email, where documents and basic communication get stuck in a SPAM folder or, even worst, lost in cyberspace. With SharePoint, the powers that be share important documents and then individuals can collaborate on them.

How to Use Sharepoint Effectively

To use SharePoint effectively, you need to first understand the horsepower of this program.

SharePoint benefits include the fact that your development team can work on developing what you need in your company and not on reinventing the wheel of the inner office intranet. Also, your IT department can easily customize Sharepoint, and it has a central administration.

Sharepoint has been proven to increase productivity as a result of collaboration and optimized content delivery. In short, it’s an improved data management system that simplifies business functions.

It truly is a solution to many problems.

Clean Your Closet

Here are the three choices to make when implementing SharePoint:

  • Analyze your business and assess what you really need
  • Decide which SharePoint model works best for your business
  • Train your staff to use SharePoint effectively.

Incorporating SharePoint into your office does not take much effort, but you need to understand what you need and how the program helps meet those needs.

When you clean out a clothes closet, you eliminate the things you no longer wear or that have gone out of style.

Do the same thing with your existing shared documents drive. Ask yourself what you really need in there from a collaborative perspective. What documents do you need for your team to work on together?

Consider the value of a forum for new ideas or a joint calendar with important details or maybe even a CEO news feed.

SharePoint can do all of these things.

Finding the Right Version

SharePoint comes in three different versions:

  1. SharePoint has a basic free version. If you’re running the Windows server, you have this free version. However, free versions come at a cost: this is the most limited version.
  2. You can also leverage Office 365 by using Microsoft’s cloud Sharepoint solution. You can download the video tutorials and pass them around the office or hold official staff training for this version.
  3. You can also get your SharePoint solution hosted with a third-party provider. The third-party provider basically offers software packages that extend SharePoint’s functionality or gets you a feature you cannot get from your basic SharePoint.

Train Your People

Microsoft designed SharePoint for the non-geeks. So your IT can actually take a break with SharePoint. Non-IT people can administrate, update, and change it, with the right basic training.

Microsoft’s support website makes training courses available for SharePoint. You just need to download the video tutorial links.

Of course, you and your staff should expect a learning curve while implementing SharePoint.

More than just businesses use SharePoint. Sports teams, books clubs, volunteer groups, and even a neighborhood running a yard sale have found valuable usage from SharePoint.

So, geeks beware. The moms in the neighborhood are flexing their tech muscles with this user-friendly software.

Mistakes and Solutions

The best part about mistakes is you can learn from them.  Best of all, when someone else makes the mistake, you do not have to suffer the same consequence if you heed their warning.

Consider this your warning. Avoid these mistakes and implement these solutions on your Sharepoint.

1. Avoid building an intranet under central administration.

Central administration is the main console that creates web applications, creates site collections, and defines how search is going to work. You do not want to see this on SharePoint, and you do not want your staff to see this regularly.

2. Avoid installing a new Sharepoint farm for each new team

Instead of creating a new SharePoint farm or each team, create one SharePoint farm, and then create different applications of different site collections for each department and team.

So the teams are sharing the same installation and the same farm.

3. Do not make universal changes one-by-one for each document library

When you make universal changes one-by-one for each document, you spend more time than you need for those changes.

Look at the availabilities like site columns and reusable columns. Check out content types. Centralize everything in one place so you do not have to make changes individually.

Make SharePoint work for you.

4. Avoid continuing to use file share folders to organize content

Do not just take your folders and move them over to SharePoint. When you had a shared drive, folders made sense.

The muscle in SharePoint lies in its metadata. Use the metadata to your advantage so you can restructure your content and use things like “search” to find content.

Care, Share and Grow

When you care about your company, you find ways to make business more efficient and overall better for your employees and your customers.

Knowing how to use SharePoint will help your business run like a well-oiled machine and ultimately, it will grow.

To learn more about how to make your business run more efficiently, visit the blog.