Join Gini von Courter for an in-depth discussion in this video What is SharePoint?, part of SharePoint 2013 Essential Training.
Different people work with different aspects of SharePoint, so for some of us, SharePoint is a collaboration site. For others of us, SharePoint is simply a place to store documents. For some of us, SharePoint is a workflow engine that's used to automate tasks that we do on a everyday basis. But SharePoint is more than any of those individual things. See SharePoint is not an individual application like Microsoft Word or MIcrosoft Excel. It's not even a suite of applications like Outlook 2010 with the calendar, tasks, and email.
Or Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint is more than simply an application or program. SharePoint is what's called a platform. And you and I can use SharePoint to do the thing it does best which is to create powerful websites that have features that allow you and I work together in ways that we hadn't previously imagined. SharePoint is a product that's installed on a server, so unlike Word for example, or Outlook, or Adobe Reader, we don't install SharePoint on our local desktop.
Now there are applications that we use with SharePoint that we do install locally. For example you and I might want to use SharePoint designer to create work flows, or to change how SharePoint appears. Or we might want to use InfoPath to create forms that work with SharePoint. But SharePoint itself, lives on a server. And you and I then connect to that server, using a browser, from our desktop or laptop, from a tablet, from a mobile device. But for many of us, our first introduction to SharePoint, and the primary way that we use SharePoint, isn't using a browser.
It's by using the Office products that we use already. For example, we can create and save products in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, or Excel on our SharePoint site. We can edit the documents that we create, either on our desktop, in a browser using Office 365 or we can view them on a mobile device. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, these core Office products, are made to work with Microsoft SharePoint. And so it's very easy to collaborate on documents by placing them in a SharePoint environment.
The other thing we get then of course is because that document is hosted on a server. I don't necessarily need to have access to my own laptop or desktop to be able to go retrieve a document. It's very easy to access my documents from this common store where I save them, using Microsoft SharePoint. But I can also use other applications to work with SharePoint. For example, when I'm working in Microsoft Outlook, I can have a calendar in SharePoint that I connect back to Outlook. Perhaps my team's calendar or a calendar of events that we're responsible for.
Or we might create a common calendar in SharePoint that allows me to see when different people in the office are out of the office or on vacation or attending conferences. So we can create group or team calendars in SharePoint that every single of the member can view using Outlook. The same thing is true for contacts and for tasks. InfoPath has a special relationship to SharePoin because InfoPath is used to create forum templates that other users can then fill out using InfoPath forum filler and SharePoint.
So I'll create a forum, host it in SharePoint, and make it broadly available for an entire team. I can publish Visio diagrams as webpages and host them in SharePoint. And there are enterprise services available in SharePoint server, which provide hosting for things like Visio, Access, Excel, and so on. Microsoft Project actually uses a particular version of SharePoint for people who want to collaborate using project at the enterprise level. So we have these core Office applications that are well supported by every version of SharePoint.
And then we have these other members of the Office family that have some integration with all versions of SharePoint. But that have special services in SharePoint Enterprise, the version that we'll be talking about in this course. But what is SharePoint? I've told you a little bit about what it does. But what is it? Microsoft has been asked this question ever since the very first version of SharePoint came out, which was called Team Sites. So, Microsoft Team Sites, which was around for a couple of versions, was difficult for people to imagine, hard for them to wrap their heads around. And that basic foundation of Team Sites, has done nothing but expand to provide more and more features that you and I can use.
So, how does Microsoft explain what SharePoint is? Well they start by saying, that we use Microsoft SharePoint to create websites. We create sites that are places where people can work together, can save documents, can go find information. So very specific full featured websites. You can then invite members of your team to work on a site with you. Because you have a site in common, you have a common platform for collaboration. So when my group of folks in my workplace saves things togheter in a particular site.
We can then access those documents, we can share them, we have a single source of truth about where they are when I ask, where's the latest version of the calendar? The answer would be, it's on our team site. Where's the up to date contacts list? I don't have to ask who has that, it's the one on our team site. And we create this community together then of people who have access to a common set of information that's always kept current. I can invite particular people to one site, a different set of folks to another. This can be based on things like geography or having common tasks that we share.
But it can also be that we want to create a quick community of folks who want to help plan a shower for one of the employees in the workplace or want to be able to get together to bounce ideas around a particular project. So the communities can be long lived, they can be institutionalized communities or they can short lived ad hoc communities of folks who need to work together. Because we have really good content controls, we don't have to worry about having versions of documents availabe that peoople shouldn't see. . So, we'll be generating lots and lots of content, for project teams, institutional content, being provided by groups, like the HR department, new documents for employee inboarding.
We can have all of our policy manuals here, all of our forms that are necessary, to get our work done. And all of that content, can live in SharePoint that creates a huge problem. How do we find it. Well, SharePoint has excellent search capabilities. So, when I create my documents, I can search for them in a particular library or a larger zone. A site or I can even search on all of the sites that I have access to to find particular content. Whether it's an Excel Spreadsheet that I know that I need or a Power Point presentation that I saw yesterday. So, SharePoint provides great search capability that allow us to go and search all the content that we've created.
But because we've aggregated all of this content in one place we also have the ability to gain insights from it. That we wouldn't if it was sitting on different peoples desktops in different peoples inboxes, in different network shares. So, we can aggregate information about the content we have. Wether we're gaining information out of a database, or getting information from some lists that we're keeping. We can do some regular kinds of reporting about the information that we're keeping in SharePoint. Our ability to gain insights from the data that we have stored in SharePoint, is based on which version of SharePoint we're working with.
We have some limited ability to be able to mine data from SharePoint foundation. But we're working with SharePoint Enterprise Server and we have all the tools necessary to create key performance indicator pages and to work with business intelligence robustly in SharePoint. And then finally there's the sixth aspect of SharePoint. This is the SharePoint product as designed. Finally we have something called Composites, and what Composites means is the extensibility of SharePoint. The ability to create new things with SharePoint that are very specific to your business.
For example, there's the ability to add a workflow to a document library or a list or even a site. There's the ability to create customized content, custom lists, custom libraries. All kinds of custom apps that you would create, that would allow SharePoint to best meet your situation. There is lots of out of the box capability to create sites, to invite people to specific communities. To be able to manage our content, to search through it and to goner some kind of business inside around it.
But composites truly make SharePoint extensible and useful in every business setting. So what is your point? It's not an application like word or excel. It's not a set of applications like output Outlook, SharePoint is more than a program. SharePoint is a platform that organizations use to build web based solutions to solve a wide variety of business problems. And with SharePoint It's easy for us as users because we use the same applications we've always used. But now we use them with SharePoint, Outlook with SharePoint, Word with SharePoint, Visio with SharePoint.
And SharePoint simply enhances the user experience and allows us to collaborate and do more together than we could possibly have done alone.
- What is SharePoint?
- Opening and saving Office documents
- Coauthoring Word documents in SharePoint
- Checking files in and out
- Working with SkyDrive
- Sharing and syncing document libraries
- Adding a list app to your site
- Using social networking features
- Creating site collections
- Editing pages
- Adding users to a security group
- Creating workflows with SharePoint Designer or Visio
- Creating content types and document sets
- Controlling site appearance
- Creating a Records Center