All About Sharepoint

By Farwah Aslam | Secure Cloud

Dec 02

Tools like SharePoint 2019 can take away the pain of collaborating and easily do things that were difficult before.

If you have worked in a company, you probably know how it feels when you start a new project. You look for team members, hold meetings and the emails start flying. Pretty soon, a few important documents emerge, and those documents get passed around. Within a couple of weeks, they become hundreds of emails and a couple of dozen phone calls. 

People become overwhelmed. Everyone’s inbox is filled with slightly different versions of the same document and you are never sure if you have the latest version.

Next, it’s impossible for you to see a complete snapshot of the project. Everything is spread across multiple computers and the team has different information depending on who they talk to.

Lastly, the project will impact other projects, there is no way to connect them. As a result you spend valuable time trying to coordinate with other project leads and stakeholders.


What is Sharepoint?

Most people find it hard to wrap their head around SharePoint and you might be one of them. Perhaps you’ve been playing with SharePoint for a while and you don’t really get it yet. You’re waiting for that one simple description, that one simple sentence that will suddenly make it all make sense. Well, you won’t get that one sentence from me because SharePoint is not a simple thing to explain.

That’s because SharePoint is not one thing. It is not a program, it’s a platform. SharePoint is a collection of many different products and technologies all wrapped up and given a name. From one perspective learning SharePoint is like learning Microsoft Office. You don’t really learn office, you learn word, then you learn excel then outlook and so on. In the same way you don’t just learn SharePoint, it’s a massive set of solutions of different things you can do with this platform and with every version of SharePoint, Microsoft has added more and more to it. When you learn the different things it does, you’ll pick and choose your own combinations, the things that are meaningful to you.

 Sharepoint is a little different as it is a server product. You do not install SharePoint on your desktop or laptop. It’s installed on your back-end systems and shared across your network. The most common ways you’ll talk to SharePoint are either using a Microsoft Office program; Office love SharePoint and the feeling is mutual. However, if you are new to this it still doesn’t tell you much. It’s big, it’s installed on a server, but what does it do?

What Doest Sharepoint Do?

Microsoft SharePoint is an online platform spread among small and large companies. It creates a common online internet page collecting news, documents, resources and lists to edit and share between people and groups, within your organization or external. It allows you to have deep control on sensitive information and communication; advanced file versioning and knowledge sharing through blogs and notebooks.

Microsoft talked about SharePoint as having six different areas:

  • Sites
  • Communities
  • Content
  • Search
  • Insights
  • Composites

I’d like to give you my version of this.

1. Sites; Sharepoint makes websites.

It’s a massive website engine. You tell SharePoint, I need a website. Bang! You have one. Make another. Bang! You have another. You don’t need special programs. You don’t need to be a web designer. You don’t need to be a programmer.

What are those websites? One might be a website for you. Another could be a website for your team. Another could be a website for your company. You might be involved in creating these websites or you might just use SharePoint websites made by other people. But SharePoint makes websites. Most websites that SharePoint makes are designed for you to be a contributor; to change them, to edit them, to join it, and that takes us to the second principle; Communities.

2. Communities; SharePoint helps you work with other people.

The idea of collaboration is built into this thing. That maybe just you and one other person working on a word document at the same time. Sharepoint can let you do that. Perhaps you need a companywide knowledge base or Wikipedia easily editable bye a hundred people, SharePoint can do that too. It can give you shared calendars, shared task list, discussion boards. It keeps track of immense amount of content and can let you know when things change.

3. Content; SharePoint gives you a place to put your stuff.

You are able to take all the content that makes up your organisation’s day to day operations; documents, presentations, spreadsheets, agendas, images, audio, video, take all of it and upload it on SharePoint. Instead of emailing back and forth to people, you put it all into SharePoint.

4. Search; SharePoint lets you find your stuff.

It has a massive, super smart search engine built into it. It’s an excellent, complex search engine, that not only allows you to search your content in multiple ways, it will help you search people and it will do this securely so that no one gets access to anything that they shouldn’t.

5. Insights; SharePoint helps you bring all your information together, to understand it better.

It helps you organise and make sense of immense amounts of content. Taking different kinds of things and presenting it in a way that makes sense.

6. Composites; SharePoint helps you build on top of itself.

No program, no platform, no operation system can know exactly what you need. So, SharePoint has amazing capabilities to be extended and customized. Using SharePoint designer and Visio, you can build custom workflows without code.

Sharepoint is accessible online with your web browser from both Windows and Mac platform and available in three main versions:
1) SharePoint Online:

It is the most common solution for smaller businesses, hosting internet sites on Microsoft servers

2) Sharepoint Server:

it is the most complete version with internet addresses completely customizable and pages hosted on local private servers.

3) SharePoint App:

It is a free version which allows to access all SharePoint sites directly from smartphones.

How to install SharePoint 2019:

  • The public preview of SharePoint 2019 was released in July 2018.

    Here is how to install it.

    • Uninstall any previous server of SharePoint
    • Install Sequel Server 2017. You need it up and running to have access to data base before configuring SharePoint 2019
    • Go to Microsoft website to download SharePoint 2019
    • Install prerequisite installer
    • Run prerequisite installer 2019 as an administrator
    • Once installed, restart your system
    • Install SharePoint 2019 by running the setup
    • Once installed, configure it.

SharePoint Online 2019

You can obtain this version with any SharePoint plan or with any Office 365 subscription.

To access your SharePoint site, just enter inside the main office website and log in. go to Sharepoint Online App to enter inside your main internet page. This is hosted on a Microsoft server with your organization name as the part of the address and sharepoint.com as domain, unless you have bought a custom one.

The main page is divided into two parts.:

On the left you have the quick sites list, including the starred ones you are following and the most recent ones you have visited.

On the right you have a big preview on the most recent news posted on your SharePoint sites and at the bottom all the sites you have visited often.

You can also use the search in the top left corner to look for any interested site or page.

Basic structure of SharePoint intranet:

This intranet is made by several independent sites, collecting pages, news, documents and anything you need to share inside your organization. These sites can also use subsites showing other content with dedicated options.

In addition, you have two main types of sites:

The Communication Sites:

They have a modern visual layout used to communicate and share news and events on a large audience.

By default, your intranet includes just a single Communication site which is your home page. You can create a new site by going to ‘Chose a site’ and pick the kind of site to use. You can customize and share this site to your will.

The Team Sites:

These can be either public or private and are used to share information and make collaborations on projects between all the users approved on a defined Office 365 group chosen for such Team site.

Team site allows to get major control on privacy and permission on the site content. This is recommended for private groups working together that need to share sensitive projects and documents.

When creating a Team site, you automatically create a Group email address associated to it that grants access to your new Team site content.

Sharepoint is a platform that you will use to build a hundred solutions to a hundred different problems. Gets yours today.

If you have any questions, Contact us.

About the Author

Farwah Aslam: Your routine healthcare physician and a technology enthusiast.

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