July 7, 2009

Making the Most of Your SharePoint Portal


Hostway Team

by Hostway

Microsoft SharePoint is one of the most powerful collaboration tools you can use. But because of its many features, people may initially find the possibilities a bit overwhelming. Before you give up on the potential benefits SharePoint has to offer, discover some of the ways you can use it in your own business.

Centralize Communication

Even if you have a small company, finding a central place to make announcements and keep communication lines open can be a challenge. SharePoint helps you handle this problem head on. Instead of long email chains, you can use your SharePoint portal as a secure communications outlet. Use your portal to:

  • Centralize company and team project announcements. You can even set up an automated email notification to be delivered whenever new documents are posted.
  • Start a private company blog to communicate and share ideas with your team. You have the power to determine who has access and determine users’ posting rights.
  • Announce employee promotions, notification of open enrollment periods for medical benefits and important company financial statistics.
  • Maintain an up-to-date company directory that includes all employee contact information and even employee photos.
  • Create a form library, so employees can easily access insurance claim forms, 401k enrollment forms, travel reimbursement forms or any other standard form.
  • Keep an events calendar for listing upcoming company events such as holiday parties, seminars, employee vacations and internal training sessions.
  • House archives of meeting agendas, project plans and budgets.
  • Store Web site URLs to support sites, important reference sites and competitor sites.

Manage Workflow Efficiently

In addition to improving your company’s communication, SharePoint helps you improve team collaboration by helping you deploy an efficient workflow process. With a SharePoint portal, you can:

  • Offer your teams, clients and/or partners training materials on a password-protected Web site that can be accessed anywhere in the world.
  • Ensure team members always have the latest version of a document and never overwrite someone else’s work by using SharePoint’s document check-in/check-out system.
  • Maintain a history of a document’s changes with automatic versioning and roll-back capabilities.
  • Access and work with your data using your Internet-enabled mobile phone for added convenience while traveling or out of the office at client meetings.
  • Schedule meetings through a shared calendar that shows everyone’s availability.

Keep Security and Gain Peace of Mind

Like most intranets, SharePoint lets you protect your documents, communications and processes in a secure hosted environment. After all, if your employees aren’t confident in the system that’s in place, they won’t use it. SharePoint empowers you to:

  • Establish password protected documents, project sites and portal areas.
  • Reduce the number of communication channels by giving your employees one secure place to interact.
  • Manage confidential information by keeping it out of emails so you don't have to worry about it being sent outside of the company in error.
  • Assign access levels, permissions and privileges.

These are just some of the many ways to use your SharePoint portal. Plus, with SharePoint’s free included templates, designing and launching your portal is quick and easy.

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