Once upon a time in 2004 – long before people spoke of the modern workplace – the world’s leading software company created a tool designed to improve collaboration in organizations. Seventeen years and a global pandemic later, this tool is still around and more in demand than ever. We’re talking about Microsoft SharePoint. Therefore the SharePoint development teams have become an essential part of modern businesses.
What is SharePoint anyway?
SharePoint performs so many tasks that it is difficult to summarize in one sentence what the application is all about. Well, Microsoft SharePoint is a web-based collaboration platform. The word platform already indicates: that SharePoint can do a lot and your SharePoint development team can demonstrate that. You can use it as
- Company portal
- Document management system
- Knowledge base
There is a document library on SharePoint where all files can be
- edited (simultaneously)
- viewed and archived
- Previous versions can be retrieved; there are lists to which any member can contribute; there is space to announce the news, share longer articles (blog) and have discussions; and of course, there is the possibility to integrate many different other Microsoft applications.
Benefits of Microsoft SharePoint
SharePoint makes collaboration in a team, project or across the company more productive because documents can be shared and edited together more quickly and easily because everyone involved has access to them or knows where to find them.
All files shared in teams are stored on SharePoint. Files that are uploaded to SharePoint can in turn be shared via teams and discussed and edited there. In the same way, OneDrive files can also be shared in teams and edited there.
Tips and tricks to use SharePoint successfully
In order to work successfully with such a large application as SharePoint, you need a strategy, otherwise, chaos quickly ensues. Therefore, SharePoint development teams have become a necessary part of business organizations.
We have therefore put together a few tips and tricks for you to use SharePoint successfully:
Establish clear rules for using SharePoint
SharePoint can only ever be as good as the underlying processes. Rules are needed to ensure that a potentially helpful and work-saving SharePoint does not result in chaos.
Therefore, determine in advance (or if there is already confusion: as soon as possible):
- what data is uploaded
- where these are stored
- who is responsible for which uploads
- who trains new employees in SharePoint
In order for SharePoint to stand on a solid foundation, a logical and clear folder structure is essential. But beware: logical does not mean logical for the boss. The structure must be accessible to the entire team. Microsoft has some tips for organizing files in a library.
It is also important to have clear rules for naming files, for example, to sort similar documents alphabetically so that they can be found more quickly.
Design SharePoint in your CI
Employees will prefer to use SharePoint if it doesn’t just look like any other tool but fits the company. Therefore, use the opportunity to adapt SharePoint to your company branding. Hire a SharePoint development company for this purpose. Design it in your corporate colours and use your logo to make it clear to who this SharePoint belongs.
Consistency pays off when employees are part of multiple teams. Create a template that you can reuse for each new page.
Centrally manage access requests
There isn’t anyone in a company that uses SharePoint who hasn’t encountered this error message:
The problem: A file is not released. You instinctively click the button to request access. And then…usually nothing happens. The person authorized to release does not see the corresponding email or there are several administrators who ignore the notification. And the unauthorized person doesn’t know who to turn to.
This problem can be avoided by providing a support email address that handles such requests centrally. Also, remember to let the support team know about this decision.
Even SharePoint cannot prevent things from going wrong when collaborating on documents. But the platform has an ace up its sleeve here, too. All you have to do is enable the version change. Then changes to documents and lists are saved, can be tracked and older versions can be restored.
Turn on notifications
Since many different people can edit documents on SharePoint, there is a risk of missing processing steps. It is therefore worth setting up an automatic notification when certain documents have been changed. For particularly important documents, you can also set up a validation step for changes.
Create automated workflows with Power Automate
There are tasks that don’t require a great deal of effort, but nevertheless, or precisely because of this, are often postponed or simply forgotten. Approvals and reminders are classic examples.
In SharePoint, such processes can be automated with Microsoft Power Automate. To do this, you create a so-called flow from the document directory. To avoid any trouble and work seamlessly with ease take help from some professional SharePoint development company. This will help to increase your work productivity and save time.
Use the possibilities of columns
Columns help group, filter, and edit complicated data sets. You can add them to lists or libraries and choose from many different column types, including yes/no field, person or group, location or number.
For example, you could add a description field to a library that briefly describes the contents of a file. Or you expand the view with a column for the file type.
With columns, you turn a list into a table à la Excel and can manage more details in a structured way.
Of course, digital change involves more than just tidy file storage. Rather, the people in your company must be open to the changes that the introduction of new tools brings with them. That’s why we recommend hiring professional SharePoint development services.
Al Rafay Consulting (ARC) is one of the leading names in SharePoint development companies that has an experienced team of SharePoint developers. Feel encouraged to contact us for any professional advice and services.