The usability of SharePoint has been overlooked to a great extent. SharePoint is one of the best web application platforms in the Microsoft Office server suite. Launched back in 2001 and sold as a document management and storage system, Microsoft SharePoint turns out to be highly configurable and ends up developing powerful apps that fulfill key business processes.
Why is Microsoft SharePoint important?
According to Microsoft, SharePoint was sold over 36.5 million user licenses and was used by 78% of fortune 500 companies between the year 2006 and 2011. Down below I would like to mention a few unmatchable benefits of using the platform.
Context around documents and folders
A traditional document storage facility is basically a folder on a server somewhere. While on the other hand, SharePoint brings context around the folder itself by tracking versions of the document. And this is the reason why SharePoint is more effective than the traditional method. For instance, in a traditional setup, one cannot have a running version history for each document or see any changes to the file name whereas SharePoint provides more information regarding the file, an evolving piece of information.
Enables constant communication among the staff
A few years back, you may find yourself sending a group email and copy to everyone. The only disadvantage of using this approach is that a lot of information gets ignored or even lost at times. Thus, people may not receive the information they need. For example, you lost a company document or missed an important discussion. In such cases, platforms like SharePoint brings a strong collaboration to the table so that all staff members can view essential document or information accordingly.
Information is stored in a central location
Starting from taking updates from the CEO to important meetings or events, SharePoint development brings all information to one internal place so that staff can quickly find the information they need. Other than this, cases might be carried out regarding general warnings about particular customers or incidents that everyone needs to be aware of. The platform simply posts the message and everyone can access information from there.
Regardless of the approach, down below are mentioned certain ways that can improve one’s SharePoint application development capabilities.
- Leverage collaboration features
One of the biggest advantages of SharePoint development is that it comprises of a plethora of collaborative features to enhance the functionality of application developed using the platform. One of the top collaborative options is community sites that are modeled on Facebook allowing employees to communicate with one another in numerous ways based on shared interests instead of the departmental affiliation.
As a result, more and more SharePoint developers could enhance the worth of such communities simply by adding microblogging, news feeds, tagging and a bunch of other interesting features. Another interesting collaborative tool is OneDrive for business. The tool enables storing digital documents in a central cloud-based repository that facilitates easy access and share.
On and all, applying the right mix of collaborative features in application development can provide free flow of information and open communication for better decision-making capabilities.
- Offer deep integration with enterprise communication
Sharepoint’s collaboration features extend to offer deep integration with the available enterprise communication infrastructure.
Although, software developers may leverage the integration with the help of Skype or Lync in order to offer a powerful way to communicate with customers and colleagues without even leaving the platform. The same functionality may also be used to make accurate contact information of participants, especially during online meetings.
- Improved search functionality
With the innovation of revamped search core in SharePoint 2013. FAST Search, a powerful search engine tool operating within the company networks makes quite easy for users to search and locate stashed away enterprise content that includes query results from multiple locations, authored documents, information on previous projects, contact information and so more. Further speaking about the platform, it also co-opts Microsoft Bing capabilities that provide a seamless and easy out of the box experience for the end users.
Today most of the SharePoint development companies leverage advanced search capabilities in order to offer content by search, continuous crawl and for general performance enhancement.
- Provide mobile functionality
In 2007 and 2010 versions, the company offered native mobile functionality which turned out to be pretty weak and best forgotten. SharePoint 2013 makes amends by introducing a slew of mobile tools such as:
- A new “contemporary view” that easily renders almost all the sites in HTML5 and offers better mobile browsing experience including best touchstone interaction.
- New back-end mobile “channels” automatically rearranges SharePoint site rendering for different mobile devices.
- Geo-location tags, news feeds, push notifications just to alert users on new content. Moreover, one can experience improved viewing of MS-Office documents to provide more convenience and unlock new possibilities for mobile.
Additional tip : Several third-party apps such as colligo email manager, infra Infragistics SharePlus, Filamente, and Harmon can make the SharePoint mobile experience better, and more responsive.
- Enterprise social networking
Like I said before, many SharePoint collaborative features such as community sites and enhanced search capabilities are made to facilitate enterprise social networking. Developers seeking to further social collaboration may explore enterprise social networking such as NewsGator and Jive Software that seamlessly connects to SharePoint and offers mobile capabilities like never before.
Other niche capabilities offered in SharePoint development is the easy drag and drop feature which requires the minimal code but still turns out to be very effective.