Beginners Guide to SharePoint for SMEs’

11/10/2018 By 0 Comments

Gone are the days when SharePoint was considered an electronic filing cabinet. SharePoint is so much more, but it cannot be simply described in one or two words. SMEs would probably consider a tool like SharePoint to be something used by large enterprises with sophisticated structures in how they control, route and collaborate with team members, documents and data. In the early days of SharePoint, you could say there is some truth in that statement, however, the same way organisations’ adapt to fit new market conditions, SharePoint has also evolved since its inception and continues to develop further. This brief guide provides insight into a multitude of benefits for SMEs’ through SharePoint and its subsidiary offerings. 

Documents and Portals 

As a small business, your capabilities can be extended to individuals sitting between various departments and goes beyond an intranet page used for company announcements. Designed with excellent structure and great practicality, departmental function such as HR, IT, Finance and others can benefit from a collaborative ecosystem that helps to manage and route documents, data and other content through a secure method that provides full audit capabilities. These comprise of permission and version control, document discussions, archiving and considerably more. 

For example, human resource documents for new starters that include distributing employee handbooks, holiday request forms, NDA amongst many others, can have pre-set templates sitting within the HR Portal and routed to the relevant employee appropriate permission levels. Operational functions within a manufacturing facility may choose to route templated contract forms or reports to be electronically signed-off by management or finance, all within a secure environment. 

Customisation 

Portals within SharePoint can be custom-built based on whatever requirements you deem necessary. Off-the-shelf type of platforms that host a number of unnecessary add-ons that are not applicable to SME operations, can be omitted giving greater flexibility to include functions that really matter. A CRM platform is a great example where an SME can invest astronomical amounts in a platform, that has been initially developed for enterprise size.  

Connecting with the broader team 

In an SME setting where individuals may be required to wear ‘multiple hats’, it is vital to ensure information and data can be shared and processed in an agile manner, that contributes to continuous improvement and quick decision making. Besides sharing and distributing documents, users have the ability to share thoughts and ideas on almost any piece of relevant content that best serves the SharePoint site. Individual and team contribution to projects within SharePoint only re-enforce the essence of utilising collaboration resources. Complementary applications that integrate with SharePoint includes ‘Microsoft Teams’ that assist users to seamlessly collaborate in the smooth running of projects. Real-time document editing, milestone scheduling, document share/storing, and chat functions are all encompassing.

Conclusion 

SMEs may not typically require a complex set of tools, however a platform like SharePoint is ideal if your aiming to scale your IT infrastrucutre as your business grows. While you may be considering SharePoint for business operations, it is imperative to engage an experienced consultant that can assist the development of your project and ensure a customised structure is built and managed from inception to maturity, in turn allowing your team to focus on other IT and development initiatives. 

If you have migrated to Office365 and want to learn more about how SharePoint can streamline your departmental process and increase productivity, contact us.