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Microsoft SharePoint… A Leader in Content Management?

Launched by Microsoft in 2001, SharePoint has risen to become the leading solution when it comes to content and document management.  A web-based application, its flexibility has been its appeal and recent updates have provided even more capabilities that are useful to an organisation.  However, there are rumblings that SharePoint isn’t as effective a tool as Microsoft would have us believe, and despite all its capabilities, do they actually effectively help an organisation to manage its content?

SharePoint is a content management solution that is closely integrated with Microsoft’s Office suite, combining a range of web tools that are easy-to-use for people that aren’t technically-savvy.  Yes, without a doubt, SharePoint does help an organisation to manage its content; let’s look at the figures:

•    78% of Fortune 500 companies use SharePoint.
•    36.5 million user licences were sold from 2006 to 2011.
•    The Gartner Group placed SharePoint in their ‘leaders’ section in three of their Magic Quadrants in 2008.

Many enterprise application solutions integrate with SharePoint, plus there are standard-based APIs and a development stack that is based on web technologies, provided on a central management platform that also delivers security and governance controls.

From a consumers’ point of view, there are two versions of SharePoint that are free of charge, but to get the complete range of services and functionality, there are premium versions available.  There is a cloud service version incorporated into Microsoft’s Office 365 platform.  Generally, companies use SharePoint for the following:

•    Intranet portal – SharePoint allow organisations to provide a central access point to corporate content and applications via a corporate network.  Managing processes becomes more centralised and helps to reduce costs.
•    Managing enterprise content and documents – aids the tracking and storage of electronic documents.  SharePoint meets government and industry compliance standards, as well as reduce duplications and emails.
•    Extranets – SharePoint is able to deliver web-facing, password-protected access for other users outside the organisation, i.e. suppliers, as well as being able to provide a collaborative, shared environment.  Using Alternative Access Mapping (AAM), the same ‘sites’ are able to accommodate different URLs, each having their own authentication process
•    Internet – because of SharePoint’s publishing capabilities, SharePoint is used to manage bigger, more pubic websites.

SharePoint utilises a ribbon user interface, which is similar to Office 2007 and later versions, which delivers improved functionality for manipulating data, editing pages and adding site functionality.  SharePoint 2013 introduces new methods in which to share work with others, project and team management, publish content from any Office application, improved social capabilities to help the sharing of ideas, and helps to monitor colleague activity.

Whether it’s the right solution for your organisation depends on whether the functionality and capabilities it provides are suitable…

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