If, somehow, Shadow IT has found its way into your organization – and research indicates it probably has – there’s a good chance that it’s come in the form of a consumer-grade cloud file-sharing platform.
Products such as Dropbox, Box.com, and their peers have revolutionized the way people share content over the last few years. And as people have become more familiar and enamored with these tools in their personal lives, the desire has increased to use them in their professional lives. These are products that are in many cases, free to use at a basic level, and easily installed by the user. But free products designed for consumers come with tradeoffs, sacrificing security for ease of use.
For many enterprises, the better way to handle file sharing and document-based collaboration is with a product like Microsoft SharePoint, an information platform that’s part of the Office 365 family. Here are some thoughts on why SharePoint may by the right document management and collaboration platform for your business.
From the beginning, SharePoint has been designed as a way for enterprises to store, share, and collaborate on content. It supports extremely granular permissions over the ability to view, edit, create and delete content in the SharePoint repository, so it’s built from the ground up to make sure the right people have access to the right content.
A Familiar Face
SharePoint looks and feels like Microsoft Office because it is part of the Microsoft family. That familiar environment makes the learning curve easier for both users and administrators. The SharePoint UI is also completely customizable, so it can reflect your own brand and present a more professional image to users, which is particularly important when partners and other third parties are using your SharePoint-powered site.
Open for all Businesses
SharePoint has a reputation for being an enterprise tool, and it’s well deserved, as more than three quarters of the Fortune 500 are SharePoint customers. But because of its versatility, flexibility, and ability to take on multiple roles depending on what the customer needs, it’s used by even the smallest businesses in a variety of roles. That means that even if an enterprise-wide SharePoint deployment isn’t in the cards right now, the product can still make a lot of sense if there’s a need for it at a departmental level in your organization.
One of the great points of SharePoint is its flexibility. Yes, at its core, it’s an enterprise-grade file sharing and collaboration platform. But it can be much more than that, depending on what your enterprise needs from it. SharePoint can be the home for anything from an Intranet or Extranet, to an e-commerce portal, to a business intelligence repository.
With the right help, a SharePoint deployment can fill any number of roles and fit in to just about any industry as if it was an application designed expressly for that vertical, so it’s important to have the right advice and help to make the most of your SharePoint experience. The SharePoint information architects at Rogers, for example, have been working with the platform since its inception, and can help tailor the information management tools to your particular needs.
With good planning and execution, SharePoint can not only close the security holes left in an enterprise by the use of consumer-grade file sharing products, but can fill a number of other roles, from a truly collaborative document sharing environment to a new enterprise-wide content management system. It’s all in what you make of it.