What is SharePoint?

Microsoft SharePoint, What is SharePointIf you work in an environment that runs on Microsoft  SharePoint, you might feel like the answers to your questions are somewhat predictable. Where can I find this document? SharePoint. How should I edit my team’s proposal? SharePoint. Where do I go to access to company archives? SharePoint. How do I alert partners of changes to business? SharePoint.

Can this be right? How is SharePoint the answer to all business questions? In fact, what is SharePoint anyways?

Technical instructor Gary Mitchell explains SharePoint as a “…Collaboration Destination supporting a Single Version of the Truth.” Read this blog post to explore the many ways SharePoint helps companies operate.

What is SharePoint? | The Enterprise Perspective

  • The Collaboration Destination
  • A Single Source of the Truth

SharePoint is a traditional enterprise network consists of operating system folders (sometimes embedded in other folders, often many layers deep) that are located on a potentially confusing array of destination directories. Cataloging, securing and enabling access to thousands of documents can be an overwhelming task, not to mention the backing up and restoration of those documents in case of a catastrophe. This document management approach can be characterized as more of an art than a science.

SharePoint provides more than a Graphical User Interface view on to network shares. SharePoint administrators leverage SharePoint Site Collections, Lists and Libraries to more effectively organize and manage large amounts of data and documents. Microsoft literature often references the benefit of a “Single Source of the Truth.” Imagine 8 or 10 working copies of the current quarter’s budget spread all over the enterprise. These documents may represent multiple file types with differing versions of a single budgeting process. A well imagined implementation of SharePoint allows interested parties to focus on the budget’s final release documents, easily located in a SharePoint Library.

At this point, end users familiar with the structuring of SharePoint resources can benefit from the “Single Source” location, and work with other business collaborators in that space. Advanced features like Document Check in/Check out, Document Versioning and Change Alerts enhance the enterprise collaboration effort. With the addition of Office Web Apps (OWA), users can simultaneously edit a document in the Co-Authoring mode. Promoting the use of or mandatory imposition of Meta Data entries for document and user properties greatly enhance both the management and search capabilities of SharePoint.

What is SharePoint? | Power User Perspective

  • A Single Source of the Truth

Power Users play an especially important role in SharePoint operations. Secure access to current corporate data and Business Intelligence (BI) resources is especially beneficial to Power Users. By applying advanced BI techniques with tools such as PowerPivot for SharePoint to securely access, mine and shape enterprise data, user level data analysis becomes a reality. Microsoft recognizes the ability of Power Users to contribute to the success of the enterprise with the concept of Composites. More ambitious operations that combine sophisticated data access and manipulation may be above the current skill level of the typical end user. Employing Composites, Power Users enable less experienced users to work with advanced data access and processing opportunities. By creating simple applications that leverage advanced SharePoint operations and offering them as custom solutions for less experienced users optimizes the abilities of both Power and End Users.

What is SharePoint? | End User Perspective:

  • The Collaboration Destination

One of the most important business opportunities for SharePoint users is the ability to seamlessly and securely collaborate with team members or business partners 24/7. End Users are already experienced with the Windows Fluent UI represented by the ubiquitous Office interface and Ruler. The move from a Microsoft Office Application to a SharePoint Application is easily accomplished. Properly configured SharePoint installations can save substantial money, time and effort. Ford Motor Company estimates that their employees spend 20-25% of their business day searching for relevant documents and information on convoluted data systems. SharePoint greatly enhances the search for and management of important company documents. People Search works hand in hand with Document Search to identify and empower users to work together in a secure and accessible environment.

What is SharePoint? | From Microsoft’s Perspective:

Microsoft SharePoint


SharePoint Sites provide a single infrastructure for all your business Web sites. Share documents with colleagues, manage projects with partners and publish information to customers. Think of SharePoint Sites as a “one-stop shop” for all your business Web sites. It provides a full set of tools that your people can use to create any kind of site, plus a single infrastructure that simplifies site management. From a team site for colleagues, to an extranet site for partners, to an Internet site for customers, people can share and publish information using one familiar system.


SharePoint Communities deliver great collaboration tools—and a single platform to manage them. This makes it easy for people to share ideas and work together the way they want using a full set of collaboration tools – from wikis to workflows and team sites to tagging. A single, flexible platform makes it easy to manage these tools and design the right collaborative experiences for different business needs.


SharePoint Content makes content management easy. Set up compliance measures ”behind the scenes”—with features like document types, retention polices and automatic content sorting—and then let people work naturally in Microsoft Office.


SharePoint Search helps your people find the information they need to get their jobs done. It provides intranet search, people search, and a platform to build search-driven applications—all on a single, cost-effective infrastructure. But what’s so unique about SharePoint Search is its combination of relevance, refinement and people. This new approach to search provides an experience that is highly personalized, efficient, and effective.


SharePoint Insights gives everyone access to the information in databases, reports, and business applications. Help people locate the information they need to make good decisions. With powerful features like interactive dashboards and scorecards, people can use the information in databases, reports and business applications to address specific needs.


SharePoint Composites offer tools and components for creating do-it-yourself business solutions. Build no-code solutions to rapidly respond to business needs.​SharePoint Composites provide building blocks that you can use to assemble, connect, and configure collaborative business solutions. Share Microsoft Visio diagrams and Microsoft Access databases. Use Microsoft SharePoint Designer and Microsoft InfoPath to design solutions based on workflows and forms.

Leave a Reply