More than 200,000 organizations and 190 million people rely on SharePoint to facilitate team collaboration, content management, intranets and more.
Are you planning on joining those ranks?
If so, it won’t take long to find that while the bevy of features offered by the platform is incredible, it can also be overwhelming.
That’s why it pays to have an expert by your side. Today, we’re sharing how SharePoint consulting can help you stop throwing part of your investment away.
Read on to discover how to leverage all the benefits of SharePoint, without any of the stress.
1. Get More Than Document Management
One of the biggest misconceptions about the SharePoint Server, SharePoint Online or the Office 365 platform, in general, is that it is a place to store files.
It is often compared to Dropbox. It’s no wonder that once a user makes it to the homepage, most users become instantly confused.
Dropbox was designed to serve as a simple, cloud-based file sharing and synchronization tool, encouraging teamwork across myriad device types at any time. Its interface is even set up to mimic a traditional folder structure, so usability is high right out of the gate.
On the other hand, SharePoint took a different evolution path. Rather than acting as a storage solution, it works as a separate ecosystem of web-based components, designed to help enterprises organize and streamline collaboration at the enterprise level.
As such, it’s more complicated than Dropbox or a traditional file server. Treating these platforms the same can dramatically limit your organization’s use of the tool. A SharePoint consultant is well-versed on all of the features of this solution and can help your teams maximize their benefits. This means you get the most out of your investment.
2. Ongoing Oversight is Demanding
Think migrating to SharePoint is as easy as dumping all of your old network folders onto the platform, sharing the link with your teams, and never looking back?
SharePoint is an intricate and evolving machine, with myriad moving parts. In addition to individual sites and pages, it also supports different web parts, mobile apps, document management tools, and more. Then, there are also security and navigation issues to contend with.
Managing all of these components can quickly turn into a full-time job. Chances are, you’re already busy with your day-to-day responsibilities. Adding SharePoint management on top of your already-packed schedule can push you to the limit.
A SharePoint consulting company specializes in helping companies like yours to maximize their software investment. When you give the reins to a trusted partner, you’re free to attend to your daily duties, all while taking full advantage of your new collaboration tool.
3. Small Businesses Need More Support
Did you know that when SharePoint was introduced in 2001, it was licensed primarily as an on-premise solution designed for medium-to-large enterprises? To afford the program at that time required a robust infrastructure and a steady flow of capital.
This focus persisted until 2011. At that time, Microsoft bundled SharePoint with its Office 365 cloud offering, making the platform more accessible and affordable for small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) to use.
Still, these SMBs don’t have the dedicated, on-site SharePoint teams in place that their larger counterparts do. For example, Fortune 500 companies utilizing the tool can afford to devote entire departments exclusively to optimizing SharePoint. This team might include developers, network administrators, and program managers.
They know that SharePoint isn’t a plug-and-play solution. Rather, it requires customizations, configurations, and standardizations to reach its full potential. Can your small business handle all of that behind-the-scenes work?
A SharePoint consultant knows the challenges that small businesses face and can help yours make the best use of the platform.
4. Pre-Utilization Planning is Key
Remember: You can’t create an account on SharePoint and begin using it immediately, then expect to see tangible business results.
Instead, you’ll need to brainstorm a long-term strategy that describes how your organization plans to use the tool moving forward. Before you migrate that first document over, there are a few details to iron out.
These might include:
- Site structure
- Platform navigation
- Security groups
- Administrative oversight
- User permissions
- Content databases
- Information architecture
- External sharing capabilities
- Site governance
- Maintenance and monitoring
Sure, you can push these considerations under the rug and treat SharePoint as a simple document storage solution. Yet, without any foresight in place, it won’t be long before disorganization sets in and the platform becomes a mismatched mess of disparate files.
A SharePoint consultant can sit down with your executive team and key stakeholders to get a clear grasp of your operational goals, pain points, and plans for the future. Then, he or she can help you set the tool up the right way, taking all of these factors into consideration.
5. The Platform is Constantly Changing
Just when you think you’ve finally gotten the hang of SharePoint, Microsoft introduces another update or rollout that adds an extra feature, but also a little more stress.
As a technology, SharePoint doesn’t stay still for very long. There’s a near-constant flux of new apps, web parts, and customization tools. While SharePoint has always added new interfaces and operability options from version 2007 and beyond, that evolution has accelerated since its bundling with Office 365.
The most challenging part of all? As SharePoint operates in the cloud, these rollouts are not under your control. While you might not have the time to stay on constant guard to monitor for new updates, your SharePoint consultant does.
This expert can not only inform you when a revision or rollout is anticipated but once it actually occurs, he or she can walk you through the changes and help your teams adjust to the update.
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