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  • 6 Ways Microsoft SharePoint Can Help Small Businesses 

    February 10, 2023

    Microsoft’s original SharePoint targeted mid- to large businesses not because small businesses didn’t need the technology but because of the expense. It was released as an on-premise server solution that required a level of expertise to configure and use. Now, Microsoft includes SharePoint in its Office 365 license, allowing even the smallest businesses to use the tool for as little as $5.00 per user per month. 

    What is SharePoint?

    SharePoint is a tool to help businesses operate efficiently as they grow. The solution allows organisations to manage their files, documents, and other content. It facilitates collaboration and enables companies to construct workflows to streamline business processes. SharePoint can operate as a cloud-based solution or as an on-premise server. 

    SharePoint Online is a cloud-based version that can be licensed separately or with an Office 365 license. SharePoint Server is the on-premise solution. SharePoint Online has two plans — one designed for large enterprises and one for small-to-mid-sized businesses.

    According to Microsoft, there are over 200 million active users per month. They use the solution to centralise and manage content. Companies such as Gap, Inc. use the software to allow enterprise-wide access to files. Others use the software to create beautiful communication sites. These same capabilities are available to small businesses.

    How Can SharePoint Help a Small Business?

    Small businesses can customise SharePoint to meet their needs. They don’t need coding skills to create custom workflows or to set triggers for notifications. Employees can create team sites on an intranet for project collaboration. That’s just the beginning of what SharePoint Online can do. Let’s look at 6 ways SharePoint Online can help small businesses.

    Data Management

    SharePoint Online uses OneDrive for data storage, making the information accessible from anywhere and on multiple devices. Employees can access files from a desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile device. It will work with Apple, Windows, and Android operating systems. 

    Employees can search SharePoint to find information. They don’t have to hunt through directories or ask a co-worker to email them the data. The enterprise search capability saves time and reduces frustration because documents can be found with a simple word search.

    Seamless Integration

    Of course, Microsoft’s SharePoint Online connects seamlessly with its Office Suite. Employees can easily import or export files from familiar Microsoft Office apps such as PowerPoint, Word, Excel, or Outlook. They can choose to look at the file in a browser or open it in the appropriate application. 

    SharePoint also integrates with a number of third-party solutions such as Customer Relationship Management and Enterprise Resource Planning solutions. It can work with project management systems and forms the foundation of Microsoft Teams.

    Collaboration

    SharePoint empowers employees through collaboration. When teams work together to solve problems, they develop a synergy that can lead to innovation. Saving documents to OneDrive lets users access documents at the same time. Permissions can be established to restrict editing capabilities.

    OneDrive will track individual changes to a document even when more than one individual is working on the file. It can also fall back to a prior version if a file is accidentally deleted. These features create an environment where teams can collaborate in real time.

    Enhanced Data Security

    Enterprise-wide security is available to control access. Centralised security reduces vulnerabilities that can occur when different applications require separate permissions. It’s simpler to control user permissions from a single location.

    It is also easier to track behaviours that may violate internal policies. If third parties have access to the system, their actions can be tracked as well to ensure a more secure supply chain.

    Internal Communication

    Microsoft’s SharePoint enables small businesses to create intranets and portals to facilitate communications and collaboration. The software allows employees to create internal websites and pages using widgets. Coding skills are not required to build sites. For example, a human resources site could hold company policies and procedures. It could include forms such as vacation requests.

    Employees could go directly to the HR site to search for sick leave policies or how to submit an expense report. With the information readily available from anywhere, employees do not have to spend hours tracking down information or interrupting co-workers for answers.

    Custom Workflows

    SharePoint Online lets small businesses create custom workflows to help streamline processes. The software has built-in workflows for common processes such as employee onboarding or creating a trouble ticket. Workflows ensure that processes are followed while reducing the workload of employees.

    Custom workflows can be created to manage compliance requirements. If data needs to be stored in specific locations to comply with security requirements, automating the process with custom workflows can reduce the chance of error. It also gives employees more time to work on higher-value tasks.

    Microsoft SharePoint Custom Workflows

    Moving Forward with SharePoint Online

    Like many Microsoft products, installing and configuring SharePoint can be challenging. A small business can spend hours contacting Microsoft support. Or, they could look for a local partner who provides IT support services that specialise in Microsoft 365.

    TechSeek provides IT support services to small businesses. We have SharePoint experts on staff who can migrate your company data to Microsoft 365 and SharePoint. If your business could benefit from SharePoint, contact us to start your migration.

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