Microsoft 365 has long been a tool that’s helped businesses around the world achieve success.
Churches, charities and not for profit organisations can take advantage of Microsoft 365’s advanced productivity tools and data storage, document management and security solutions to become more flexible, streamlined and efficient.
SharePoint is a powerful tool included within the Microsoft 365 suite that is designed for collaboration and teamworking. It enables you to create a collaborative workspace, or SharePoint site, for your teams, with the ability to assign tasks, create workflows and build dashboards which include calendars, notifications and updates for each project they work on.
However, when it comes to using SharePoint, many small businesses and church, charity or not-for-profit organisations barely scratch the surface in terms of what it can do for them.
Here, we take a closer look at how to get the most out of SharePoint.
What is SharePoint?
Microsoft SharePoint is a cloud-based content management system that enables your users to connect, collaborate and work smarter from wherever they are located.
With SharePoint, you can manage all your organisation’s information and documents centrally, create websites, company intranets and virtual workspaces, automate manual business processes and build customised apps that help boost efficiency and productivity.
SharePoint has been designed to enhance collaboration across your teams. It can be deployed with Microsoft 365’s suite of office apps and tools services to streamline the way people interact with, work on and share documents, reports, spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations and other content.
With SharePoint, documents are stored in a single, shared location that can be accessed from any device with an internet connection.
Multiple users can work on the same document at the same time thanks to real-time co-authoring functionality. SharePoint will always show the latest version of a document and give users the option of reverting to an earlier version if required.
Team members and leaders can set up, assign and monitor individual or group tasks and keep track of their progress.
It enables shared calendars, notebooks, instant messages and chat to keep every project focused. It also integrates with a host of Microsoft 365 security features to help you keep your organisation’s information, data and devices secure.
SharePoint sites are based on the concept of ‘Owners’ and ‘Members’ and the members can be from within your organisation or guests from outside your organisation. However, only owners have the ability to limit who can access the content, set user access permissions, and allow or block access to content based on user behaviour or their location.
Why is SharePoint a good collaboration tool?
SharePoint is one of the best tools you can use to boost collaboration among your team members. It is used by millions of organisations, big and small, around the world. You don’t have to be a big player to benefit from using it.
It can help church, charity and not-for-profit organisations unlock their full potential and streamline the way they operate.
For example, with SharePoint, your organisation can maintain the confidentiality of your key documents by assigning different levels of editing/viewing rights to different sets of team members.
It provides a single platform for communication and collaboration.
Features such as version control, automated business (workflow) processes, reporting, and project management, means SharePoint allows teams to foster a culture of collaboration.
It integrates well with all the other tools in the Microsoft Office suite, which most people are familiar with, and its unique metadata search capabilities make it easy to find and analyse important documents and data.
Users can search for content, discussions and messages by keyword and get results which are relevant only to the project or workspace in question. Or, a user can search across all workspaces they have access to, collating results from across a range of projects and work areas.
Managing content in SharePoint is also easy, while layering other business process management applications in give greater control and visibility of your processes.
In short, SharePoint is a powerful tool that can transform the way your team and your church, charity or not-for-profit organisation operates.
Tips to get the most out of SharePoint
With the introduction of tools like SharePoint and its Office 365 suite, Microsoft has levelled the playing field for smaller teams.
As recently as 15 years ago, to use SharePoint you had to have your own server environment and an expert to install and configure it for you
Now, organisations of all sizes can easily adopt these technologies and reap the full benefit they bring.
For smaller businesses and church, charity and not-for-profit organisations, the challenge is implementing them properly. Larger businesses and organisations often have the budgets and in-house resource to support their SharePoint deployment, whereas smaller firms and organisations may need expert external support.
However, if you’ve made the switch to Office 365 and want to know how to get the most out of SharePoint, here are a few tips to get you started:
To get the most out of SharePoint, its functions must be leveraged properly, with an overall strategy in mind. SharePoint allows a significant amount of data, information and content to be stored, shared and accessed, so it’s vital that it’s structured in the right way.
Planning what sites you will have and a common structure or template for sites that supports how you work will help to determine optimum accessibility and administration of your information and data, so your users can access it quickly and efficiently.
SharePoint is an extremely flexible tool that allows you to fully customise your sites with lists, workflows, branding and logos. These can be saved as templates, which can be used as the starting point for any new sites you wish to create. This saves time building them and helps keep your sites consistent across your organisation. Your templates can also be exported into other SharePoint environments, should you wish to share them with external users.
Team sites within SharePoint are easy to set up and allow you to control who has permissions to access each site. You can set up sites which give access to everyone in your organisation, or you can create sites for smaller terms or groups.
This feature is great for setting-up project-specific sites which keep all the relevant information in one single, shared place, or sites which contain sensitive information that not everyone in your organisation needs access to.
Collaboration and co-authoring
Sharepoint allow you and others to work on a document at the same time, so you all see each others’ edits in real-time as they are made. This means multiple users can work on them in real time, and changes can be tracked without users interfering with each other’s work.
SharePoint has several in-built apps that help optimise the user experience, including contacts and calendars that can by synced with Microsoft Outlook. You can also easily turn a excel spreadsheet into a Sharepoint list and then continue to edit it in the browser as though it was a spreadsheet by using ‘list in datasheet’ view.
How AMDH Services can help your organisation get the most out of SharePoint
Getting SharePoint up and running and discovering how to get the most out of it can be a challenge for many churches, charities, not-for-profit organisations and SMEs, and that’s where AMDH can help.
We offer a wide range of implementation and support options to help your organisation use SharePoint and its plethora of features to its full capability.
We can also optimise your apps and security settings and establish best practice to ensure your organisation makes the most of its investment. To find out how we can help, get in touch today.
If you enjoyed this blog and want to learn more about how we can help your organisation achieve improvement through technology, give us a call on 01332 322588. And if you would like to stay up to date with the latest news, views and insight on everything going on in the ICT and technology sector, subscribe to our FREE email newsletter.