Microsoft SharePoint has become known as one of the most respected web applications for workflow, document and intranet content management in enterprise settings since its inception 12 years ago. The latest version, SharePoint 2013, brings many new features to business users thanks to its marriage of cloud computing, document management and social networking at the enterprise level. While there are some free and open-source document sharing and workflow management solutions out there, these are often insufficient for the content management needs of large and complex enterprises. Leading businesses and organizations the world over continue to see the benefits of enterprise social networks such as Microsoft’s respected platform. With so many Microsoft users in the business world, it’s also easy to see why SharePoint would remain so popular, even with free options on the market. There are many reasons why this application is simply a better fit for the enterprise.The Workflow Management Needs of a Large Enterprise
Some may argue that the role of the SharePoint consultant will soon die out, with so many free and open-source solutions on the market that are easy to access and use. For a large enterprise, however, these tools do not provide all the features and functions that are necessary to manage the massive amounts of workflow and data that are processed by such a company on a daily basis. SharePoint offers unmatched advantages in terms of scalability and support, unlike these free and open-source solutions that may be more useful for a small business or startup. The powerful web platform was designed as an enterprise tool, not a tool for small groups or individual users. Enterprises use it for intranet hosting, managing documents and creating department sites where teams can share information outside of the larger organization – and the list of functions goes on. Microsoft SharePoint is also particularly useful for Microsoft users, who make up a huge share of the business technology marketplace. Although the free and open-source tools provide some functions that are useful in certain contexts, Microsoft’s workflow platform provides a broader functionality with capabilities that many businesses still need, and will continue to require into the future.
New Capabilities in 2013
The recently released 2013 version has many new features that make it even more indispensable to business users, particularly those working within the Microsoft desktop framework. Some of the most exciting SharePoint 2013 updates include enhanced social networking and collaboration features, cloud computing capabilities and improved functions for managing, accessing and storing data. Standard tools for creating wikis, public sites, intranets, forums and blogs will also still be in place, with new features included for an updated and user-friendly experience. Most importantly, business users have more tools for managing their documents, notifications and social contacts all in one place. The possibilities of cloud computing are perhaps most exciting to fans of this web application, making it possible for more people to access and work with more information from more locations all over the world.
Although some businesses may be happy with free or open-source solutions for document, workflow and intranet management, Microsoft’s highly regarded platform is still considered the leading choice for large enterprises. There are also many ways to customize, upgrade and add to the platform to tailor it for your organization’s unique needs. A knowledgeable SharePoint consultant can help your business find the solutions that will enable enhanced collaboration and information sharing throughout every level of your organization. For large enterprises, having the best tools for completing tasks and keeping everyone informed at every level should be a no-brainer, and this 12-year-old web application with ever-evolving enterprise features is just such a tool.