There are number of ways to know if SharePoint is right for your business, and the best place to start your evaluation is to consider some of the more common problems companies face that are easily solved by SharePoint.
Let’s begin by taking a look at the following issues that SharePoint can tackle. Keep in mind this list is not exhaustive or all inclusive—you do not need to have all of these issues for SharePoint to be a good fit for your business. These are just a few things that SharePoint can address to help you streamline and organize your business:
- Are you currently using a shared drive to store and organize all of your files?
- Are you having troubles locating files or the most recent version of your documents?
- Is your email overflowing or causing you to archive emails frequently in order to continue to send and receive your messages?
- Do you feel like you have spreadsheets out the wazoo or have a few spreadsheets with multiple sheets/tabs to track information or processes?
- Do you need a single place to go to get the information for your company fast and efficiently?
Do any of these issues sound familiar? If so, let’s consider how SharePoint can help solve these problems:
Shared Drive Issues, or, “Why is the shared drive always overflowing? I can’t find anything I need!”
If your shared drive is running out of space and you find that your users are storing the same documents in more than one location, using SharePoint will allow your users to organize the information the way they want to find it (using personal views) while also eliminating duplicate storage of your files. SharePoint can also better organize your files in a manner that allows for easy filtering through the use of custom views.
SharePoint reduces the amount of time it takes to locate files by allowing users to reduce or eliminate excessive opening of folders to get to your information. If you are nesting items in folders and find yourself clicking on folder after folder trying to remember where you stored a document or where a co-worker stored a document, SharePoint can help you organize your information so that it is easily accessible.
Search Issues, or, “Where did I put that again? Where did it go? It was here yesterday!”
By storing like files in the same document library on SharePoint, you can use custom columns with lists of items in order to filter the information without having folders. This is called using metadata to organize your files so that you do not have to click down through folders.
In the settings of the document library in SharePoint, you can add a column with a choice menu and then allow multiple selections.
Scenario: I am in the HR Department and I need to be able to provide easy access to benefits enrollment forms, tax election forms, and new employee acknowledgement forms. With SharePoint, you can store all of those documents in one document library without folders. Using metadata, you can then create custom views so that you can build a quick link in the quick launch that says “Benefits,” “Tax Forms” or “NEO Docs” respectively, and link directly to the filtered view of information.
But how would you create the metadata? In the HR Scenario you would add a column to the document library called “Document Type,” for example. Then using the choice information option, add the following choices to the choice box: Benefits, Tax Forms, and NEO Docs all on separate lines. Ensure that multiple selections are authorized and that the default value is blank unless you want all new documents uploaded to the folder to be assigned a specific value. Create the views filtering the information to only show items that “contain” the respective categories. By using “contains” you can have the same documents show is various views but only be stored one time. In the HR scenario, you want the benefits documents and the tax forms to show in the NEO Docs view, but not show the tax documents in the benefits view.
SharePoint also comes with a search feature that allows you to find the information you need in one location—from documents to lists or even discussion board posts.
Email Issues, or, “How is my mailbox full again? I just cleaned it up yesterday!”
Error: “Your mailbox has reached its maximum size limit at which you cannot send or receive any more content. Empty your deleted items folder from Outlook or delete messages from your mailbox to create more space.”
Are you sending/ receiving documents via email, saving them to your computer and then after making edits, sending the document back to the individual through your email account?
Using SharePoint, you can store the document online and then send the link to the document to individuals for review and edit rather than sending the entire document. Using versioning can help you track changes or to revert to previous versions.
Excel Spreadsheets, or, “I just need to update one line, and Jane has the file locked!”
A frequent issue with using Excel spreadsheets for tracking information is that only one person can work on the spreadsheet at a time. Using SharePoint lists, you can build the workbook in SharePoint and then use custom columns to sort the information, like using the sheets/tabs at the bottom or using filters in the sheet itself.
You can make your SharePoint list look like a spreadsheet by creating a new blank custom list. Then add all the columns of information as they are in your spreadsheet. If you have date fields, you can use the date/time information option to add the date picker box. If you need drop-down menus so you do not have to type the same information over and over again, use the choice information option and allow only one selection or multiple based on what information you need to be able to filter by. If you need help moving spreadsheet(s) into SharePoint, Myappsanywhere can help you with that task.
But wait, what about more than one user accessing the list at the same time? Using a SharePoint list, all users can work on the list at the same time. The individual rows of information are locked when being edited, so other rows of information can be controlled and edited by other users all at the same time.
This same concept is applicable to access databases. If you are using a database to track your information, you can include it into SharePoint and make the records available through a site search.
A One-Stop Shop, or, “What application do we track that in again? Who’s computer is that saved on?”
SharePoint provides a one-stop shop for all your documents, information, and collaboration. You can consolidate various tracking applications or spreadsheets into SharePoint by customizing the storage and organization of the information to fit your individual needs.