Since its release in 2001, SharePoint has emerged as one of the most versatile platforms for collaboration. According to Microsoft, it is used by more than 190 million people and 200,000 organizations around the world. For all its popularity, though, many people are mystified by SharePoint and unsure of how to fully leverage its features. This confusion can be compounded by the frequent interchangeable use of terms like intranet and Microsoft 365 alongside SharePoint. If you want to understand SharePoint intranet features, read on for a quick review of the most crucial details to note.
SharePoint vs. Intranet vs. Microsoft 365
When you hear somebody mention SharePoint, you might also hear them talk about intranet or Microsoft 365. Yet, each of these terms refers to something different. SharePoint Online is a collaborative program that’s based in the Cloud and is used to share and manage documents. It is often used as part of an intranet — also known as a local area network or LAN — which is an exclusive web-based system used within an organization. Lastly, the difference between SharePoint vs. Microsoft 365 is simple. Microsoft 365 refers to Microsoft’s subscription-based access to the Office suite of products, which includes SharePoint.
Five Basic SharePoint Features
Understanding the definition of SharePoint is only half the battle. If you want to become SharePoint fluent, you also need to understand how to use its basic features. Consider these five SharePoint features and their functions.
Lists are one of the most powerful SharePoint features. The simple setup includes rows and columns for users to manipulate and edit the same way they would for an Excel spreadsheet. It’s a familiar format for most users. Unlike an Excel worksheet, SharePoint lists can be authored by many users simultaneously. This allows for collaborative access and editing, eliminating the need for back-and-forth emailing of a single document. Though it’s one of the simplest features contained within SharePoint, it’s also one of the most important.
SharePoint Workflows offer a handy tool for visualizing and executing daily business procedures. SharePoint offers several different templates that users can choose to build a workflow from. Once built, the workflow creator can add an author, initiator, and participants to the workflow and assign tasks associated with the procedure at hand. The author handles configuring the workflow, while the initiator must start a new workflow. Participants are assigned tasks within the workflow. The result is an automated flow chart of sorts, outlining the responsibilities of each team member and highlighting the target outcome of the process.
SharePoint hosts a complex search function that’s useful for discovering data and indexing files. The search function works by executing the query against data contained in the current site and its sub-sites, if there are any. The SharePoint search function is unique because it takes permissions into account, and it returns results that include many different file types, including:
- List items
- Web pages
The search tool is typically contained in the upper right-hand corner of the SharePoint application.
For users who need to easily collect and track data, SharePoint libraries offer the easiest way to do so. Libraries offer a wide range of features that allow users to capture, revise, group, and filter all the data contained in a library of files. This is important because it allows for a more precise search function and easier access to important data. Libraries can also produce important metadata insights that offer analytical advantages. Libraries can be used collaboratively, too, so that multiple users can share and revise data from any given library.
Many SharePoint users are unaware of the platform’s project site templates, but this is one of its most important features. A project site serves as a hub for teams to work collaboratively on a specific project’s tasks. Each template includes several key features, such as:
- Project summary
- Tasklist and timeline
- Task Management features
- Document library
These features make it easy to manage small projects shared between multiple users. The task management tools make it particularly convenient for the managers of such projects because it allows for quick delegation of tasks to team members.
The Best SharePoint Solutions
SharePoint is a powerful resource for organizations and individuals alike. Most importantly, it’s one of the best intranet solutions available. If your organization is building an intranet system, you need SharePoint for task management and data collection. hubley offers a range of 365 solutions to help you develop your company’s intranet and harness the best tools. We can help you leverage all the best SharePoint features and make it work for your organization. Schedule a demo today!