Microsoft SharePoint with Office 365

This article presents 7 essential productive Office 365 SharePoint techniques.

One of the things we get asked about when speaking to customers about SharePoint is what is the difference in the two product editions of SharePoint?

The On Premises edition, which you are probably most familiar with is SharePoint Server which is run on a physical server at your premises and the second is Office 365 which runs "in the cloud”. Each of these has their particular benefits depending on the size of your company and your available budget.

Whichever you choose they both offer essential ways to collaborate and improve your productivity.

1. Better communication, sharing information with others - Document Management

SharePoint allows you to create folders known as Document Libraries. These can contain any file you wish to upload, such as Word or PDF documents.

SharePoint's integration with Microsoft Office programs allows your team to share and collaborate using tools they are already familiar with, using MS Office programs with a SharePoint team site:

  • Save documents to document libraries from Office Excel, Office Outlook, Microsoft Office PowerPoint, Microsoft Office Visio, or Office Word
  • Use Microsoft Office Access or Office Excel to view and edit data stored in lists on your team site
  • Synchronize your Office Outlook calendar and contact lists with your team site
  • Share business plans, photos, drawings, documents and much more
  • Create a Document Workspace site from Office Word

2. Easier file storage - Drag and Drop files into SharePoint 2013 Document Libraries

One of the best time saving and simplest features in SharePoint 2013 is the ability to drag and drop files into document libraries directly in the web browser. That means you can drag a file off your desktop and drag and drop it onto the browser and the file will upload.
This new feature works with most mainstream browsers including IE, Firefox, Google Chrome and even Safari on Mac OS X, will greatly enhance your productivity.

3. Up to date information wherever you are - Store and sync your documents.

We’ve all been there, you’ve got an audit or your boss wants to see a doc but can you find it? Or a colleague asks if you are finished using the last Quarter’s Sales figures file and it’s locked by you. The ability to work at the same time on the same document has been with us for well over 5 years with Office and SharePoint. In SharePoint 2013, the experience is even better.

A new simple way to share documents from Office or One Drive with people inside and outside of your organization puts working together with anyone just a couple of clicks away. SharePoint 2013 helps you get the job done.

OneDrive for Business sync clients also gives you the convenience of local storage of your files. Sync clients enable you to take documents offline. You can then use those documents when they're disconnected from SharePoint Server 2013. Later, when the client computer or device reconnects to SharePoint Server 2013, the files are synchronized.

4. Simpler and easier communication - In and out

You no longer need to post notices on the company notice board or e mail everyone in the company with important announcements or the latest sales figures, SharePoint has it sorted.

It has all you need to create and manage an intranet website to publish and share and depending on your network this can be office wide or across the planet.
You can also create an extranet to allow external users like suppliers or distributors to access and share information with you via a secured and monitored system.

SharePoint can also improve your communications with your customers by serving as a content management system (CMS) for your website. SharePoint makes it easy to produce a professional looking website that will appeal to your customers and as no programming skills are needed this saves on web design costs.

5. Manage your projects better - Document Sets

Whatever the discipline whether it is sales, distribution or accounting, your teams can create a SharePoint site for their disparate projects, and manage them more easily and efficiently. They can also synchronize their sites with MS Project Pro or integrate them using Project Server.
SharePoint ensures employees always have accurate and up-to-date information on projects, making it easier for them to manage and control resources and costs.
With Document Sets, instead of creating all required base documents for budget, presentation, purpose and justification for a new project separately you can now manage multiple documents as though they are one.

6. Anaylse data and make timely business decisions - Enhanced Business intelligence (BI).

Excel BI provides the capabilities to analyse and visually explore data of any size, and to integrate and show interactive solutions. In SharePoint Server 2013, Excel BI offers new features to support business intelligence applications.

Power View Add-in for Excel-Power View enables you to visualize and interact with modelled data by using highly interactive visualizations, animations and smart querying. You can present and share insights with others through rich storyboard presentation capabilities

Decoupled PivotChart and PivotTable reports-You can now create PivotChart reports without having to include a PivotTable report on the same page, saving a lot of time and effort.

PowerPivot is even more powerful in SharePoint 2013 allowing you to Build Power Pivot PivotTables and Power View Pivot Charts and then further analyse the data so that you can make timely business decisions without requiring IT assistance.

7. Better support for BYOD - SharePoint for the mobile worker

The digital era means most of us have tablets and smartphones these days.

Several new features have been added to help improve both productivity and usability on your BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) over previous versions of SharePoint.
There is now an HTML5 coded view known as the "contemporary" view that is optimized for speedy access across all BYOD devices. There is also new support for push notifications, so SharePoint 2013 can push a message to your device based on a variety of factors. Geographical location has been built in as well, should you wish to develop location-aware applications on top of the SharePoint platform.

Systematix provides instructor led training courses throughout the UK on all levels of Microsoft SharePoint.

Productive Office 365 Sharepoint Related Links

Wikipedia Microsoft SharePoint

Alan Wisniewski
24 Aug 2016