webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen>What is SharePoint but a Web based collaboration software platform from Microsoft that combines functionalities that are important to business users with other features that are familiar to millions of users of web portals and social networking sites. The SharePoint product line has evolved over the years and the latest incarnation, SharePoint 2010, is available as a hosted solution from Apps4Rent in three versions – Foundation, Standard, and Enterprise – with the Enterprise version offering the most advanced features. It is best to explain SharePoint in terms of other software that is familiar to most users.
What is SharePoint? – Web Site with a Built-in Content Management Tool
At its simplest, a SharePoint site is a collection of Web sites that can be created and published without the help of a programmer, just by selecting or modifying components such as themes, templates, Web parts (widgets), and data structure elements available within SharePoint’s built-in content management system. With little effort and technology expertise, site administrators can create such sophisticated structures such as blogs, wikis, newsfeeds, discussion boards, surveys, and email distribution lists that are commonly found in the best Web based communities and portals. If desired, further customization can be done using tools such as SharePoint Designer, Visual Studio and ASP.Net.
SharePoint Web site allow site administrators to control permissions and security at a granular level. By allowing access to just the internal staff, a SharePoint site (or a sub-site) can serve as an intranet. By extending access to selected external participants, a SharePoint site can be converted to an extranet. Similarly, on relaxing permissions to allow anonymous visitors from the internet, the SharePoint site can serve as a business Web site or an internet portal.
What is SharePoint? - Similarity to a Social Networking Site
A SharePoint end user can be viewed as an active contributor of content to the SharePoint sites that is worth sharing with other end users. With an internet browser, the end user can update his profile, build a personal Web site, post on discussion boards, write a blog or wiki, subscribe to a newsfeed, update status, join a community, update contacts, calendars, and task lists, check in or check out documents from document libraries, fill out a survey, update favorite links, rate content, or tag content.
It may seem obvious to a Facebook user that some aspects of SharePoint are similar to social networking sites, but applied to a business setting. As another example, the Friends Suggestion feature in FaceBook has an analog in SharePoint – you can keep your colleague network up to date with an automated colleague suggestion service that bases its suggestions on your reporting structure, memberships in SharePoint communities, e-mail lists, and contacts.
What is SharePoint? - An Extension of Microsoft Office
Microsoft has designed its SharePoint 2010 product line to have extensive integration with its Office line of products. One can view a SharePoint site as an extension of a Windows desktop which has MS Office business software installed on it. SharePoint hooks from and into MS Outlook, Exchange, InfoPath, Access, OneNote, and PowerPoint, allowing the user to view and modify elements taken from the SharePoint site with the Office software and seamlessly synchronizing the modified versions with the SharePoint site.
What is SharePoint? – An Enhanced File Server
It is common for small businesses operate a central file server accessible through a LAN or a WAN. SharePoint is a superior alternative as it is available seamlessly through a Web browser and allows versioning, check in and check out, security, permissions, superior integration with Microsoft office, power search capabilities, and sophisticated document management features.
What is SharePoint? - An Application Development Environment
SharePoint 2010 Enterprise comes with a service oriented architecture and advanced tools that help integrate external data into SharePoint, allow analysis and presentation of important data, model and build complex workflows to represent business processes, and develop custom Web parts.