The Benefits of SharePoint for Small to Medium-Sized Businesses
Small and medium-sized businesses should be armed with the same tools as their large enterprise counterparts in their pursuit of market share. In recent years, the barrier to entry for many leading software offerings has come down. Microsoft SharePoint is a prime example and is a boon for companies with not-as-deep-pockets. Here we will discuss what it is, how it can be implemented, and what its benefits are for small and medium-sized businesses.
What is SharePoint and what is it used for?
SharePoint is the world’s leading intranet platform. It has a plethora of features, but at its heart is designed to bring together scattered teams and resources. It enables companies to rapidly rollout internal websites for specific purposes – usually a project or specific customer – that organizes all communications and files related to the selected purpose. It
is a large file storage tool, fulfilling the role of a centralized document management system, but it’s not fair to put SharePoint in the same bucket as an offering like Dropbox that only serves that function. It’s more appropriate to think of SharePoint as an ecosystem of components that deliver document and workflow management, intuitive internal portals, host collaboration, project management, and knowledge management.
What are the benefits of using SharePoint?
Any company that uses SharePoint can expect to see more streamlined and effective collaboration, especially across disparate groups within a company. No matter where employees sit, they are familiar with the interface thus fostering better collaboration better. That’s not to say each site cannot be customized to maximize its value for the business unit primarily using it. While having a uniform foundation that ensures interoperability, it also has deep optionality.
Once implemented, SharePoint becomes a one-stop-shop for sharing everything from files to corporate news and real-time project updates. It also allows multiple people to work on the same document at the same time without the risk of version control issues (because it’s stored in SharePoint and not on a single employee’s computer). Armed with a powerful search feature, SharePoint, once populated with files and information, serves as an easy-to-navigate corporate knowledge base.
The platform is great at keeping corporate data and intellectual property safe with robust and highly customizable access management controls. SharePoint also has full end-to-end encryption, integrated data loss prevention, and is audit-ready for nearly all industry compliance standards. While facilitating smooth collaboration and the flow of corporate assets, it also works to prevent employees from accidentally or intentionally leaking sensitive corporate information.
What are the differences between SharePoint On-prem vs. SharePoint Online?
There are two ways to adopt SharePoint, one on-prem and the other through the cloud.
SharePoint Server 2019 is the on-prem variety. Companies that already have an internal IT team and a resilient venue for deploying IT infrastructures, such as a server room or server closet, may elect to host SharePoint in-house. Companies that go this route tend to feel that it’s more secure having control over the underlying servers and/or they could provide greater than 99.99% uptime. To establish SharePoint on-prem, a company must purchase a server to host the software – affordable new or refurbished commodity ser vers would do the trick. Also, in addition to the software license, you must buy Client Access Licenses (CALs) for each user. In the long-run, the total cost of ownership (TCO) for the on-prem solution could be lower than the cloud version, which has the server hosting baked into its monthly rate.
SharePoint Online, which is now part of
Office 365, is the cloud-based version that does not require a company to manage its own servers. This service requires customers to pay an ongoing monthly fee. Migrating data to the cloud-based version is a bit more complicated than migrations from on-prem system to another sitting in the same place. That’s why many companies opt to elicit the help of a managed service provider to conduct the migration to SharePoint Online via a managed Microsoft Office 365 migration service, and beyond that, managed the online version for them.
Today, the functionality of SharePoint on-prem or online is effectively the same. SharePoint Server 2019 now has all of the mobile features introduced in Office 365. It’s accessible through iOS and Android and has open and scalable APIs to ensure it works well with other top cloud-based applications, including Salesforce and SAP. The decision to go on-prem or online is determined by a desire for control and cost structure, particularly the frequency of required payments.
Why is SharePoint good for small to medium-sized businesses?
It’s a fact that SharePoint was originally designed for large enterprises, but the introduction of SharePoint Online and its incorporation into Office 365 a few years ago lowered the barrier to entry for small and medium businesses. And if you consider the time, resources, and talent to set up a proprietary intranet platform, small and medium businesses should see adopting SharePoint as a no brainer. It allows companies no matter how small they may be to take advantage of some of the best productivity and collaboration tools on the market. It essentially allows them to seize the benefits of enterprise-grade intranet and the liquidity of corporate resources and enhanced collaboration that comes with it. Also, SharePoint is fully compatible with Microsoft Office tools, as the most popular business productivity suite with over
one billion installs worldwide, meaning a SMBs are ,pre than likely already using its popular applications, such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
By far, the most important benefit for small and medium businesses today is the mobile accessibility that SharePoint offers. Without the overhead of an internal private network, SharePoint facilitates access to company assets 24/7 from anywhere in the world using a multitude of devices.