SharePoint business-to-business collaboration is a great way to extend the collaborative power of organizations and employees. B2B collaboration is the key to the success of any business.
The SharePoint Extranet is an extranet site in SharePoint that organizations build to enable external users to have access to important content and collaborate with them. Extranet websites allow a way for partners to do business with the organization in a secure manner. The content for a partner is kept in a single storage and they only have the content and access that they need. There is no need to email the documents back and forth or use tools that are not IT-sanctioned.
DEPLOYING SHAREPOINT ON-PREMISES EXTRANET
Traditionally, the deployment of SharePoint on-premises extranet website involves complex configuration for establishing governance and security measures, which include granting access inside the corporate firewall and costly on-doing and initial cost. But, with Office 365 SharePoint online, partners directly connect to a members-only site in Office 365, with no need to access to the corporate on-premises environment or any other Office 365 website. Extranet websites could be accessed from anywhere.
Industry verticals wherein B2B or business-to-business collaboration is key to their success include manufacturing, automotive, energy and retail.
KEY FEATURES IN SHAREPOINT ONLINE B2B COLLABORATION
The key features offered in SharePoint Online B2B collaboration include the following:
1. SPO Cloud B2B. IN an SPO Cloud B2B, one could have both extranet and intranet sites in the same SP online tenant. One could enable sharing with user initiated invitations but with added Information Technology control.
2. Enables users to invite new partner users. In specific Site Collections, Admins could opt to allow users to invite new partner users. An email invite is stent to the partner user and the user should redeem the invitation to access the resource.
3. Restricted domains sharing. Admins could control the partner domains list that the employees could share with outside the organization. An allow list of email domains or a deny list of email domains could be configured.
4. Site-owners only sharing. The ability to have site collections wherein only Owners could bring in or share with new users. Site members that typically are external partner users, could only see the existing site members in the site. This helps govern what partners could see and with home they could share corporate partnership documents.
5. Auditing and Reporting. Activities of the business partner users are audited. Moreover, reports could be viewed in Office 365 Activity Reports.
THE BENEFITS OF USING OFFICE 365 FOR B2B PARTNER FACING EXTRANET SITES
1. Grow. As the business grows, so does the partners to collaborate with. Office 365 provides the flexibility to expand the number of extranet websites as well as the contents within a site.
2. Secure sharing. It offers a secure sharing experience with the IT governance as well as the policies that one needs.
3. Cost-savings and time to value. Office 365 SharePoint Hybrid extranet offers big and short time to value. It eradicates the need to create an expensive on-premises extranet websites since no additional hardware is required. Furthermore, it greatly minimizes resource and labor costs. The IT department could concentrate on more important works than building and maintaining an extranet infrastructure.
4. No need for any on-premises infrastructure. With Office 365, there’s no need to crate on-premises extranet infrastructure.
5. Seamless collaboration. Collaborate with partner users as if they’re part of the organization, which include instant messaging and the ability to do Skype conference calls. It depends on one how much productivity capabilities to empower partner users is required.
6. Security. Office 365m SharePoint B2B Extranet provides secure collaboration with partners with enhanced IT control, which include:
- The ability of protecting one’s self from accidental sharing, by having tenant admins and/or site owners could allow site-owners only sharing, that prevents site users from bringing new users to the site.
- The ability to restrict an external partner users to only accept invitations from the email address where the invitation was sent, external partner users to use the corporate Office 365 organization account or a Microsoft account for accessing a site that was made solely for them.
- Restricting external partner form access to any other site. They are restricted to only their site and could not search for or see any content or users outside the site.
7. Audit reporting and governance. Office 365 SharePoint Online provides visibility into the content access via external partner users. One of the major IT benefits is to be able to audit usage, which include being able to see who’s inviting whom and when an external user logs in to access content.
SharePoint B2B collaboration extends the collaborative power of employees and builds a secure, single location where files could be accessed easily.