How to Use SharePoint to Its Full Potential

September 10, 2014 By

Microsoft SharePoint is one of the most popular solution platforms in the world. It empowers organizations to develop many different business solutions in a single platform such as intranets, public portals, enterprise search systems, content management systems, workflow solutions, business intelligence, and more. Developed to address productivity challenges, SharePoint is an easy-to-use, integrated suite of collaborative tools and functions. In its latest version, Microsoft has added even more innovative features to transform the way knowledge workers collaborate in the enterprise. The real key to SharePoint is to utilize the core features of the product to the highest degree. Businesses need to build a program around the product and have a good information/site architecture that supports the collaboration goals, while at the same time ensures data security. Unfortunately, many organizations are not using SharePoint to its full potential. This is mainly due to lack of awareness and expertise. Often businesses resort to using additional software solutions to handle functionalities that are already available in SharePoint. Thus, it is important to have skilled, experienced resources at all levels when implementing a solution as complex and powerful as SharePoint. What are some of the biggest issues preventing SharePoint success in the workplace?

  • Lack of expertise
  • Lack of vision and strategy
  • Poor user adoption
  • Lack of governance

Companies first need to understand their current and future collaboration requirements based on their business needs to be able to match SharePoint’s capabilities to these needs. This will ensure the deployment will remain business-focused at all times. The great thing about SharePoint is in you can store all types of information in the product documents, contacts, tasks, custom lists (like Excel), use common tags across all of the storage locations, and then bring them together on a page about a certain tag/subject. Search is huge in SharePoint 2013. In 2010 Microsoft bought a company called FAST Search, which was a huge purchase. and now this powerful search capability is fully-integrated into the system. According to Microsoft’s TechNet site: “More than 70% of Fortune 500 companies use SharePoint Products and Technologies for portal, collaboration, search, business intelligence, social computing, record management and/or eDiscovery. The same platform has been used to build fantastic looking and very functional Internet-facing sites for many years. The release of SharePoint Server 2013 brings new powerful features and capabilities that will also be used by Internet portal architects, designers and developers. What’s more, there is nice hosting flexibility as SharePoint Internet sites can be deployed on-premises in a private SharePoint farm, or in the cloud via the Internet-facing Office 365 platform. Finally, the fact that Internet sites will be licensed through SharePoint Server licenses makes this platform very attractive from a financial point of view.” The reasons to deploy SharePoint are manifold; they reach from simple file sharing to complex content management. Even more organizations will deploy SharePoint this year with Office 365, so it is time to use SharePoint at its fullest with apps, add-ons and extensions. Some of SharePoints powerful core features include:

Web Site Architecture

  • Catalogs
  • Cross-site Publishing
  • Content (by) Search Web Part
  • Multiple SPSite URLs
  • Managed Navigation

Multilingual Sites

  • Improved Variations
  • Integration with Cross-site Publishing
  • Improved Metadata Management
  • Machine Translation Service
  • Country Code Top-level Domains

Web Page Architecture

  • Cleaner HTML markup
  • Image Renditions
  • Video Improvements
  • Content Copy-Paste
  • Custom Error Pages

Look and Feel

  • Design Manager
  • Composed Looks
  • Theming Model
  • Device Channels
  • HTML 5 Compatibility

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  • No Home PageRedirection
  • Robots.txt and XML Sitemaps
  • Friendly URLs
  • Canonical URL Filtering
  • SEO Properties

Extensibility

  • CSOM Improvements
  • App Model
  • REST
  • Search with FAST Search
  • Mobile

These robust tools help businesses connect with employees across the enterprise. Whether working on a team or as an individual, SharePoint helps to better organize people, projects, and information, and makes it easy to connect with experts to find answers. Designers and web developers are able to create new experiences using familiar tools. SharePoint also provides powerful controls that help IT departments control costs, reduce risks, and manage time. The success of a great company intranet lies in a scalable technology solution that supports the business needs of an organization. A successfully intranet is only possible if both the business and technology departments are aware of the capabilities of the technology and how it helps meet business objectives in an organization. How do you plan to build a knowledge-sharing culture and unleash the full potential of SharePoint within your organization?