Last week I discussed the launch of myhosting.com Hosted Exchange Email and some of the outsourcing advantages, especially for small and medium sized businesses. And at the same time that we launched Hosted Exchange Email, we also launched Windows SharePoint Services. These two services go together like two peas in a pod and offer some of the same outsourcing advantages.
At myhosting.com we first started offering hosted SharePoint in 2001, back when it was still called SharePoint Team Services. With the launch of our mail2web.com Business Exchange service, we also launched the second version of SharePoint, relabeled as Windows SharePoint Services 2.0. And when version 3.0 came out, we were also on board at mail2web.com.
Despite SharePoint’s longevity, it hasn’t been a very well understood application over the years and is only now becoming more visible and better understood and utilized. Simply put, SharePoint is the application that takes Microsoft Office beyond your desktop and brings it online, allowing you to collaborate and share more easily and effectively, while still using the tools you are used to. You might even say that Exchange is to Outlook as SharePoint is to the rest of the Office Suite. Within your favorite Office Applications you can publish and synchronize various types of data directly to your SharePoint site. This integration supports Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, Access, Groove, OneNote and InfoPath.
SharePoint allows you to create lists and libraries of many different types, be it a document storage library with version control and check-in/check-out capabilities, or a list of tasks assigned to various individuals who are all part of one team. And this extends past document libraries and tasks to include calendars, contacts, links, forums, announcements and more. Your SharePoint site also contains various web-parts that can display sorted or filtered information in various ways, or include some kind of custom functionality. You can even run your own Blog or Wiki website within SharePoint!
In addition to the default installation, there are also 40 different application templates available which you can apply to your SharePoint site which help provide you with a solution that is more specifically tailored to your business, your goal, or even your industry. For example:
- Project Managers may find the Project Tracking workspace useful for keeping track of the goals, tasks and timelines associated with a specific project.
- Human Resources professionals may find the Job Requisition and Interview Management workspace helpful for sharing and organizing resumes, interview schedules and job openings.
- Teachers may find the Classroom Management workspace helpful in organizing their lesson plans and classes.
And even if these application templates aren’t perfect for you, they serve to highlight the customization options that are available. Many features are customizable using only the web-based administration interface. And there are many more customizable options which you can use with the SharePoint Designer application. In addition to the built-in design tools, there are also features for building automation and workflow, creating reporting and tracking and additional advanced customization features.
And for those of you who aren’t already familiar with SharePoint, you might find some these Demos and Tutorials useful in demonstrating some of the features and options that are available with a Windows SharePoint Services website.
SoftCom Technology Consulting Inc.