Getting the Most Out of Your SharePoint 2010 Solution
When many people think of SharePoint, they think of an intranet portal that provides web content and document management. However, SharePoint 2010 has a variety of features and tools that make it much more than just a web portal tool. SharePoint 2010 is an extremely versatile solution that has a wide variety of features that are often overlooked.
With SharePoint 2010, Microsoft has divided the functionality of the suite into six areas: sites, communities, content, search, insights and composites . Each of these areas offers new and highly useful features that can change the way your business interacts with its data.
Sites are the basic pillars that comprise a SharePoint solution . Most companies deploy a general site that all employees can access and then deploy separate department sites for each department. With SharePoint, it is easy to create and manage both internal and external sites. Sites make it easy to publish and share information, and employees can easily customize their own SharePoint experience to meet their individual needs.
Communities can be created by individual employees for a wide range of purposes. For example, many companies create project communities that only employees working on a specific project can access. This provides a central location to publish and share information regarding the project. Access can only be granted to those employees directly involved in making it a secure environment for open collaboration. Communities can also share a wide range of content including documents, calendars and forums.
The range of content available for SharePoint sites is truly impressive. Content can include everything from document libraries to shared calendars. SharePoint integrates directly with Microsoft Office making it easy to share documents, spreadsheets, Power Point Presentations and other vital data.
While most businesses realize they can use SharePoint to organize their documents and files, very few realize how useful its search capabilities are. Not only can users search for a document, but they can also search for content within the documents as well. When an employee with the proper rights searches for a key phrase, not only will they find documents from their own department, but they will also find documents produced by other departments that they have rights to. This search feature is an amazing time saver, and one of the most overlooked SharePoint features.
With the integration that SharePoint provides, it becomes easy to turn data into usable statistics and reports. SharePoint integrates with SQL Server Reporting Services to provide an amazing amount of business intelligence. Information can be turned into graphs, charts and dashboards that give real-time insight into business functions. The tools within SharePoint are easy to use, and anyone can create graphs and reports to better understand the data that is available to them.
SharePoint 2010 also has the ability to push and pull data into and from other business systems. It can pull the data from many different applications into SharePoint and then present the data in a manner that makes sense and is actionable. What's unique about composites is the fact that it is a ?no-code? solution. This allows you to create solutions without needing a programmer to get the job done. For example, with composites it is possible to easily integrate Visio diagrams into Access databases and Excel workbooks without any coding or specialized applications.
While many companies have deployed SharePoint solutions, there are still many businesses that do not fully realize the potential of integrating SharePoint into their systems. Microsoft SharePoint has grown to be much more than a web portal. By fully utilizing a SharePoint solution, you can put vital information into the hands of employees who need it and increase both productivity and profitability. With its new features and tools, a SharePoint 2010 solution can drastically change the way you do business.