Microsoft SharePoint has often been defined as the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of collaboration software suits. With over 100 million users worldwide and an average of 20,000 new users each day, SharePoint is used by over 78% of Fortune 500 companies.
Businesses globally use Microsoft SharePoint to increase productivity, efficiency and general organisation. But are they utilising all of its features? Below are five features that we’ve highlighted from SharePoint that you should be using.
1) Using SharePoint Lists
SharePoint provides two primary ways to manage information: libraries and lists. Lists are like spreadsheets in the way that they consist of rows and columns. However, unlike Excel spreadsheets, they reside in SharePoint, and are available to many people at once for concurrent access, avoiding the hassle of emailing a spreadsheet around for review, or trying to track changes from multiple users.
SharePoint provides all the web-based features and capabilities necessary to create, review, update, and delete a list, or items in a list. To begin the process, click on Add lists, libraries and other apps pane in the Get started with your site web-part.
2) Adding SharePoint Workflows
A workflow is a set of tasks and decision points that lead to one or more outcomes. Think of them as an automated flowchart-like application that controls execution of standard business processes. SharePoint provides a set of templates used to generate workflows that are designed to save you time and effort, and establish consistency and efficiency for tasks you perform on a regular basis.
To add a workflow, you must have the correct permission for the list, library, or site collection where the workflow runs. There are four roles associated with workflows:
- Workflow creator – the person who creates a workflow template. This is typically someone very familiar with the business process.
- Workflow author – the person who configures a new workflow using a workflow template by associating it with a specific library, list, or content type.
- Workflow initiator – the person who starts a new workflow instance for a document or list item. They would also be able to terminate the workflow if necessary.
- Workflow participant – one of the individuals who perform a task associated with the workflow.
3) Using SharePoint Search
SharePoint’s basic search feature allows users to enter and execute a search query against indexed data in a SharePoint Server Farm. The scope of the search is the current site and any sub-sites below it.
The search application processes the query and returns a set of search results that fully or partially match the query. Search results contain links to documents, libraries, list items, lists, web-pages, or sites. SharePoint’s search engine takes into account your permissions, context, and previous searches in responding to the search query.
Most SharePoint web-pages have a search query box displayed in the upper right of the page. You can search SharePoint by entering a word or words (your search query) then clicking on the magnifying glass icon. SharePoint will then return a results page.
4) Using SharePoint Libraries
SharePoint Libraries provide a host of features to easily store, modify, group, filter, and capture essential data or “meta-data” about the content stored in a given library, enhancing search and analysis.
A library allows team members to collaboratively create, collect, update, and manage files. With SharePoint, you have access to a number of default library apps already preconfigured for specific purposes. We can use these default library apps to create new libraries. Depending on your version, set-up, and permissions, you will see the following default library apps from the Your Apps page:
To create a library you can start from SharePoint Class site, click on the “Add lists, libraries, or other apps” pane.
SharePoint libraries isquite a large topic; check out our chapter on our SharePoint course here.
5) Adding a Project Site
The Project Site template includes several components that facilitate and support work management, including:
- A Project Summary web part
- A Task list
- A Document Library
- A Calendar
- A task Timeline web part
- Built-in task management features
Project Sites provide a convenient way for teams to manage smaller, less complex projects. However, complex projects with hundreds or thousands of tasks, and dozens to hundreds of resources are too large to be managed in a SharePoint Tasks List.
To add a new Project Site using the Project Site template, first, click on Site Contents from the Quick Launch. At the bottom of the Site Contents screen, click on +new sub-site. Then enter the information for our new project site, including name, description, URL, language, and select the Project Site template from the Collaboration tab. Accept the remaining defaults and click the Create button at the bottom.
Our new SharePoint course, was written by Brett Topham, who has over 15 years of experience in project and portfolio management. Check out our SharePoint course below.