Sudha Aravindan has taught high school Math and professional development in Information Technology for over 10 years. Sudha has a Doctorate of Education degree in Mathematics Education from the University of Delaware, USA, a Masters degree in English Literature from the University of Kerala, India, a Bachelor of Education degree in Teaching of Math from the University of Kerala, India, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Math, Physics and Statistics from the University of Kerala, India. Sudha has a certificate in Java programming and Statistical Analysis.
What Is SharePoint?
In today's high-tech world, organizations are constantly faced with the challenges of presenting and organizing large amounts of information. For example, a health care company has data about patients, doctors, treatments, medications and so on. All of this data, which used to be stored in endless paper files, can now be stored in some form of electronic format, including scanned images and PDF files.
This lesson explores SharePoint, one of the web-based management systems, or web portals, for secure sharing and access of electronic data. Keep in mind, a web portal is a collection of websites that present data from multiple data sources in an easy-to-understand format. For a more simple explanation, SharePoint is a website that stores data in a database and presents the data in the form of well-organized web pages.
SharePoint allows users to login, access, share and collaborate with others in a secure and mobile environment. SharePoint is a Microsoft product and so, needless to say, it works best with Microsoft's web browser, Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge. Since SharePoint is a web-based system, it is also compatible on commonly used browsers, such as Chrome, Safari and Firefox, which makes it possible to use SharePoint not only on Windows computers but also on Mac and Unix computers.
A SharePoint system requires servers that can be configured internally by an organization's IT department. Or if you don't have the resources to manage servers, you can also purchase the SharePoint online service from Microsoft. SharePoint is also available as an app that can be accessed from mobile devices like tablets or smartphones.
Features of SharePoint
The main features of SharePoint include:
- Content Management
- Business Intelligence
Collaborating with SharePoint
A SharePoint site can be used as an intranet, or an internal website, where announcements, projects, tasks, calendars and contact lists can be maintained and shared for use within the organization. SharePoint also provides secure access, as each member can be given different permissions, edit or read-only access depending on the needs of the organization. In addition, SharePoint can be used as a central portal for exchange of information and collaboration on tasks, and the user interface can be personalized by each person.
Content Management with SharePoint
SharePoint has a powerful content management feature that is similar to an electronic document library. Imagine all the paper files that were stacked in file cabinets across multiple rooms making it impossible to find anything without shifting through vast amounts of paper! The electronic document management feature of SharePoint provides a central location to store electronic files. It also allows members of an organization to import documents so that files can be shared with all members by logging into the SharePoint site. Members can also work collaboratively on the same document, make revisions and access revision history, making it possible to multi-task in a mobile work environment.
SharePoint allows for viewing and editing Word, Excel and PowerPoint files from within a web browser, and it allows users to tap into the advanced features available in Microsoft Office applications. For example, the PowerPivot feature of Excel provides the ability to create complex computations, models and reports. Instead of emailing files to each person in the group and having to wait for each person to first edit and later email the final version to everyone in the group, the business intelligence features in SharePoint allow for creating and sharing office documents with others in the organization. This is done securely and simultaneously, so that everyone has access to the same version of the document at any time.
So what is SharePoint? SharePoint is a web-based electronic document management system that has powerful document organization, document editing and collaboration features. SharePoint is not an emailing system or system that can be used to schedule automatic tasks and invitations. Organizations can use SharePoint to manage and present personalized information; share announcements, tasks, projects and calendars; and edit and collaborate using Office documents in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. SharePoint can be accessed through a web browser on any mobile device, and it provides a mobile interface for multiple users to work and share files in a secure environment.
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