What are the best uses for SharePoint Online? What are others doing in SharePoint Online? These are two questions we hear often, especially as we talk about operating in a hybrid world. While every situation is unique, in this post we’ll highlight some of the best uses for SharePoint Online and how they can benefit your organization.
SharePoint Online Extranets and Intranets
One common use for SharePoint Online is extranets – linking employees to vendors, suppliers, clients, and partners. Two primary reasons that SharePoint Online is a great solution for extranets:
- Infrastructure. With SharePoint Online, you don’t need to worry making your on-premises SharePoint installation available to outside parties. All users are able to access the environment.
- Identity Management and Access. When using SharePoint Online/Office 365, external users are able to use a Microsoft account to access the environment – when granted permission. You don’t need special authentication and you don’t need to set up Active Directory accounts for these users.
It’s not just extranets that do well in a SharePoint Online environment. Intranets, including collaboration sites, are becoming more and more common online or as part of hybrid solutions. Intranet content – like human resources forms and policies, insurance information, company announcements, and company events – is important to all employees, regardless of their working location or ability to log onto the corporate network. Making this information available to everyone is easier when leveraging the online, always accessible capabilities of Office 365. Some companies opt to keep extremely sensitive content on-premises while moving frequently accessed content to the cloud, resulting in a hybrid environment.
Collaboration sites, such as project and team sites, are often a component of a company’s intranet and are a natural fit for SharePoint Online/Office 365. The ease of access, multi-device capability, and simplicity of sharing content, both inside and outside the organization, enabled through SharePoint Online, boosts collaboration, productivity, and adoption, all primary goals for these sites.
OneDrive for Business, Office Delve and More
OneDrive for Business leverages SharePoint Online for file storage, so the use case of OneDrive for Business cannot be separated from SharePoint Online. With OneDrive for Business you:
- Have access to your documents from any location and from any device.
- Are able to have local, synchronized, copies in case you don’t have a network connection.
- Have the powerful document management capabilities, such as versioning and check-out, associated with SharePoint.
- Are easily able to share and collaborate on documents with co-workers and individuals outside your organization.
- Can manage compliance and security on One Drive for Business just like on a SharePoint site.
Another powerful component of the Office365 suite is Office Delve. Delve surfaces information that is relevant to you, based on your interests, your conversations, and your patterns. This includes discovering information that is in SharePoint Online as well as Exchange Online and OneDrive for Business. For many users, Delve will uncover information that they didn’t even know existed, yet becomes very useful. Currently, information in on-premises SharePoint environments is not natively accessed by Delve, but SharePoint Online content is.
Line of Business Applications
We’ve talked before about how SharePoint is a great solution for many types of Line of Business (LOB) applications, including procurement, legal, and sales. Many of these LOB applications are well suited to deployment on SharePoint Online. Easy access to information, dashboards, approvals through mobile devices, and easy sharing of information for collaboration with co-workers, partners, suppliers and vendors are all advantages of SharePoint Online.
The use cases highlighted above are just a few of the workloads that are especially well suited to SharePoint Online. When viewed in combination with other powerful online capabilities provided by Microsoft, such as CRM Online, Power BI, Office 365 Video, and the constantly growing capabilities of Azure, you start to see how moving towards an online or hybrid environment will bring significant benefits. Whether you are just starting down this path, or are looking to continue your progress, Tahoe Partners can help you understand the best use of online and hybrid capabilities for your organization.