SharePoint is a great tool for team collaboration. It’s the unquestioning ruler of the intranet – those internal company websites that are perfect for project-related communications.
SharePoint is not only a large file storage tool; it also was designed to bring together dispersed teams. But there are pros and cons related to using this robust software tool. While big businesses use SharePoint to facilitate communication, is SharePoint really the right choice for the non-enterprise level organization? Is SharePoint too much of a good thing for an office with less than 25-employees?
This article seeks to define the benefits and drawbacks of SharePoint for small business. Let’s look more closely at whether SharePoint is right for your team.
SharePoint for Small Business?
It’s easy to define the benefits of SharePoint for small business. SharePoint Online offers the affordability of a monthly subscription service that can be accessed from any digital device. Documents can easily be uploaded and then worked on by multiple users without the traditional version control issues that plague many collaborative teams. An internal website can be set up that is client or project specific, and all communications can be organized and stored in that single location.
But these pros could quickly turn into cons if there are only a few members of your office team. For example, while SharePoint helps eliminate traditional hard copy printouts of documents, your organization may still prefer to do business this way.
But even the smallest business would likely benefit from the mobile access inherent in web applications. SharePoint for small business allows any size organization to take advantage of some of the best tools on the market to improve office and project productivity.
It is precisely the communications features of SharePoint that could be of particular benefit to small businesses. For example, SharePoint offers social networking tools like chat that will let teams and individuals talk online instead of by phone. If your small business has employees that travel, SharePoint offers project-specific intranet sites where teams can engage in project-specific communications from anywhere in the world.
One clear benefit of SharePoint for small business is the integration with Microsoft Office tools. Many small businesses rely heavily on Office for daily tasks from spreadsheets to sales presentations. Adding an online SharePoint subscription is immediate; existing MS Office tools are already integrated with SharePoint.
But there are also drawbacks related to SharePoint for small business to consider. One is simply that the platform may be too sophisticated for what your business currently needs. For example, the SharePoint search feature requires some administrative customization that small business teams may not be comfortable using. If this is the case, SharePoint simply won’t be optimized and the end user may be frustrated in the long-term.
Conclusions: SharePoint for Small Business
So, is SharePoint right for your small business? The answer is: it depends. Typically we see the small business owner who does not have access to an IT team overwhelmed by the sheer volume of SharePoint features. In these environments, we recommend an online subscription to Office365, which allows document storage in the OneDrive.
Having the expertise to set up SharePoint is an important part of optimizing this tool. If you have a small to mid-sized business that is ready to upgrade to a more powerful document collaboration and communication tool, CWPS’ Cloud Assist 365 is the easiest way to get started. Contact CWPS to learn more.