A Layman’s Guide To Microsoft SharePoint

According to software giant Microsoft, 78% of today’s Fortune 500 companies use SharePoint. You may have heard that name before. But what exactly is SharePoint? Is it some business software that you don’t know about? To be honest, I didn’t know much about SharePoint myself.

So, the other day I decided to do some research on the topic. It turns out that quite a few people aren’t fully aware of what SharePoint is either. Today I have decided to share my research into SharePoint with you so that you too can understand a bit more about it. You might even decide it’s something your business or organization needs to use as well!


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What is Microsoft SharePoint?

OK, so the main question on many people’s lips is “what is Microsoft SharePoint.” In a nutshell, SharePoint isn’t a piece of software per se. Rather, it’s a platform that the Redmond software firm developed.

It’s not something you would install on your PC. Instead, SharePoint is a back-end platform that gets installed on your servers. Once they are SharePoint-enabled, you can then “stack” SharePoint-compatible applications on top of it.

One analogy to compare it with is a web server. You have the web server software, such as Apache HTTP Server. On top of that platform, you have PHP and MySQL for scripting and databases respectively. Both of those solutions get installed on and use Apache’s resources.

The purpose of the platform is to offer a scalable and usable solution for employees, regardless of their location. Because of that fact, you will often firms advertising hosted SharePoint packages. Of course, one can also host SharePoint on their internal servers as well.

There are four ways that you can utilize Microsoft SharePoint for your business. They are as follows:

  1. Document Sharing

In the past, employees would often save documents to their desktops. That meant colleagues or managers had no way of accessing them without logging into their computers. And if their systems suffered a hard drive failure, it’s goodbye Vienna.

One of the brilliant ways SharePoint works is to allow a central document storage system for users. Your documents can get accessed by all employees. Or even by a select group of individuals. The latter will, of course, depend on what group policy your SharePoint administrator used for you.

  1. Intranet

In case you didn’t know, an “intranet” is a website that only people working for an organization can access. Companies set up intranets to share information like corporate news, job vacancies and so forth.

  1. Project Collaboration

Got a team of people working on a client’s project? You can use SharePoint to share resources with one another. And the good news is you can access your project space from any device, such as a smartphone.

  1. Website

Yes, you can even set up a fully-functional website using the Microsoft SharePoint platform too! The process is the same as for setting up an Intranet. Except that it can get accessed by the general public.