Microtrading helps clients to unlock the potential of their investment in IT. To that end, we’ve written about some of the key features of how to use SharePoint Online and how they can benefit your business.

Before that though, here’s a description of exactly what SharePoint is: SharePoint Online is a cloud-based content management tool that serves as a platform for users to store and share documents and other files and collaborate on them.

Whilst it is most commonly used, and sold as, a safe and organised method of filesharing, it has a lot more to offer than just that. Here are some of the most useful things you can do with SharePoint Online:

Real-time collaboration and co-authoring

SharePoint can provide a platform for multiple users to work on a document simultaneously. This tool can be used on many of Microsoft’s main productivity software applications, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

With real-time collaboration and co-authoring functionality, you can ‘speed up’ creative and collaborative processes. For example, a colleague can be proofreading and amending a long piece of text you’re writing while you’re still drafting it.

Making it your very own

You can shape it to fit your business. SharePoint Online is highly customisable, so you can build an intranet or extranet that allows staff and clients to work with you more collaboratively. Just some of the things you can configure include:

• Functionality – functionality comes first, always, after all – the more complex a system the less efficient your staff will be when using it. SharePoint allows you to craft a bespoke configuration of settings based around how you and your team do things.
• Mobile usability – as technology has evolved, BYOD – which once just meant people bringing in their own laptop – has extended to include mobile devices. If you allow BYOD, they can use the SharePoint App as a mobile-friendly way for your staff to work on-the-go.
• Appearance – you can create a visually enticing SharePoint site that matches your brand identity and is welcoming to your users and clients, some of whom may use this for much of their working day.

This is just a brief overview of a few elements; the customisation capabilities are far broader than this and continue to develop.

SharePoint Workflows

Developing on the customisable functionality of SharePoint, ‘workflows’ are really useful mini-applications that are created for a variety of different purposes. They can help you streamline and automate an array of your businesses processes. These applications can interact with your other software applications, such as Outlook contacts and calendars.

A good example of this in practice would be that you can add an annual leave holiday request form into an HR element of your intranet. The workflow application can then trigger an automatic approval/refusal process, with time sensitivity and increased accuracy and consistency.

Countdown Timer

Microsoft recently added a countdown function to SharePoint, in response to user requests. Surprisingly, this very simple feature has some really useful applications, and it counts both up and down!

Countdown, or up, timers can be created with titles, descriptions and calls to action. Here’s what a team collaborating on SharePoint can use it for:
• Counting down to go-live dates and deadlines
• Tracking time spent on a given project
• Reminders for when international colleagues should be online

How can Microtrading help?

We can help you implement and make the most of SharePoint Online as part of your cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 subscription and, going one step further than the tips above, provide you with bespoke advice on how to use SharePoint within your business. We can also work alongside you to create a customised version of SharePoint Online that is tailored to your business needs and both your users and customers.

For further information on Office 365 and SharePoint, contact Microtrading IT support in Birmingham on 0121 784 0077 or click here to see how we can help.