What is Sharepoint?

What is SharePoint? Really?

First of all let's tell you why it is worth discussing.

Fully half of all Fortune 500 companies use SharePoint.  

Of those, a quarter of them have complete employee buy-in, with 100% usage.  It is a comprehensive platform to aid and streamline interactions within an organization and enhance productivity.SharePoint is a bit confusing because it isn’t really a single software program, it is a platform for other programs. Users don’t go to their desktop and open the SharePoint app. It is a back-end system that ties your employees devices together, allowing them to collaborate and stay in sync. The primary goal is to make it possibly for a company with hundreds or thousands of employees be able to work together as if they were all in the same office.So what does all that mean? Basically that it can be used for a variety of purposes. It is the swiss army knife of Business software. Here are a few of the uses:

Intranet (The Meeting Room) - The internal company site. Employees can see announcements, tasks, news and any other company information. It can be customized based on the role of the employee to include data people need to make decisions. You can even turn it into a social network or host wikis.

Documents (The Giant File Cabinet) - Get documents off an employee's hard drive and to a single source where they can be used by anyone who needs them. Employees can collaborate on a single document without creating multiple versions

Collaboration (The Project Manager) - Everyone can stay up to date and coordinate without being in the same building. Employee can easily see status, client history, schedules and anything else needed to move a project along.

Extranet (The Partner Hub) - Similar to an intranet, you can pull in various documents and information otherwise stored in various place together for a partner’s usage. Their access can be limited and they can interact as much or little as needed.

Websites (Website Builder) - Marketing can build the corporate, customer facing website or any other site with sharepoint.

Customization (The Anything else) - Sharepoint is almost infinitely customizable, it can streamline just about any business interaction. You can use information you’ve already got stored in order to optimize it and help people better collaborate.

The Net Effect

If you look at SharePoint as a whole, it is the first completely universal framework that Microsoft has ever released.  You can integrate any MS program into SharePoint so now everyone can share everything with ease.  What often goes overlooked is that now everything, including your content, is in MS's proprietary repository (aka SharePoint) so now who is the owner of your content?  Microsoft.If you're OK with that, that's fine.  But remember, SharePoint is an expensive solution, requiring a license for every single user or individual machine on the system (if it's internally based within your company).

Alternately you can get it on the cloud with Office 365 for Business, or as a separate service, licensed for every single user, on a monthly basis.Of course there are alternate solutions to Sharepoint, none of which are as integrated, but after integrating multiple services together you can achieve a similar goal. Some examples include Magnolia, Confluence, Google for Work, Igloo, Alfresco, Huddle or Box for Business.The fact is that SharePoint's popularity has peaked, and their market share which grew fairly steadily 2004-2009 has now declined to 2004-levels in 2016.  This is because some of the above mentioned alternatives have been eroding MS's market share.SharePoint offers a pretty complete package, and it is undoubtedly super-convenient with how easily it can be integrated with your other Microsoft programs. The temptation to just put everything under one umbrella program is very high.