5 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do with Microsoft SharePoint

December 15th, 2020
5 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do with Microsoft SharePoint

Do you remember the first time you learned a little hack that ended up saving you a lot of time? Maybe it was a keyboard shortcut or an online tool. Whatever it is that you learned became a go-to tool because it was fast and made your life easier. If you love discovering new ways to save time and effort, then you’re going to love learning what you can do with SharePoint.

SharePoint is Microsoft’s file storage and sharing platform. Because it can be integrated with so many different Microsoft apps and other software platforms, you can distribute and use the information you store in SharePoint in many different ways.

SharePoint’s capabilities are limited only by your creativity. As you read about five things you didn’t know you could do with SharePoint, think about the bottlenecks and clunky processes that you’d like to improve in your business, and you’ve got the bones for your first (or next) SharePoint project.

1. Inventory Management - Be More Productive

Imagine that it’s your job to keep track of all the equipment that a construction company has at their facility and throughout multiple job sites. You need to know the location of each piece and its schedule. You also need to gather and store data about it, like how many hours the equipment was used, what maintenance is needed and when, what materials it consumes, and the amount of labor that’s associated with its use.

As you can imagine, lots of people depend on the information that’s gathered so they can schedule the equipment for different jobs, schedule labor for operation and maintenance, and track costs. You can take the complexity out of this work when you use SharePoint integrated with Microsoft Lists, Power Automate, and Teams.

Start with a list of the objects you need to keep track of in Microsoft Lists. The list is saved in SharePoint and gives you options for sharing and security. Then use Microsoft Power Automate to create workflows. In our construction company example, you could make sure you never miss required maintenance by setting up automatic notifications and scheduling of the work.

Pull all of the data and integrated apps into Microsoft Teams, and employees can collaborate in a workspace where they can have visibility into every process. Having visibility itself is a time saver because you don’t have to chase people for information, and if you do need to talk, you can chat, call or start a video call right from Teams.

OUTCOME: Time needed to manage the equipment is greatly reduced, duplicate data entry and errors are decreased, and less labor is needed throughout the whole process because automation keeps the work flowing.

2. Invoice Management – Be Faster and More Accurate

If you don’t get your invoices out in a timely manner, you’re going to push out the time it takes to get paid. Delays in your invoicing process could be caused by the need to enter data in more than one place, requirements for multiple sign offs, or simply because the process gets stuck when the employee who needs to do the next step is out of the office.

If you want to streamline your process, start by using Microsoft Forms to collect the data for each invoice and drop it in SharePoint. Use Microsoft Power Automate to create workflows to do everything from sending out email notifications requesting approvals, to uploading numbers to your accounting software.

OUTCOME: Fewer people have to enter data so everything is more accurate. Your invoicing process is faster because you’ve replaced manual steps with automation. You can also get greater visibility into where invoices are in the process, so if there is a hold up, you can address it quicker.

3. Share Documents with External Users

Whether you’re working with a vendor, consultant or a customer, it’s inevitable that you’ll need to share files and you can do that easily and securely with SharePoint and Teams. It’s all about setting the right permissions. Permissions let you determine who can access the file, and how. The method you use depends on what level of security you need.

One of the best things about using SharePoint for document storage and sharing is that you can create templates that will automate the creation of new files and folders along with their permissions.

Let’s go back to our construction company example. There could be numerous subcontractors that need to have access to drawings and documentation when working on a specific project. Using Microsoft Automate and SharePoint, every time there’s a new project, a workflow can create all of the folders that are needed and assign the permissions for external users at the same time.

OUTCOME: Time is saved because the folders don’t have to be created manually and nothing is forgotten. You can be confident about security because permissions are assigned when the folders are created and people outside of your organization only see what you want them to see.

4. HR Documentation – Don’t Miss a Step When Onboarding New Employees

There’s a lot to do to get ready for a new employee’s first day. Having everything in place not only helps the new hire get going faster, but it also contributes to a positive day one experience for the employee.

You can use SharePoint as the base for all of the information that you need to collect and distribute.

Integrate Microsoft Forms as the method to gather information, and Power Automate to create workflows to kick off tasks with multiple people. For example, marketing needs to order business cards and shirts; security needs to get a key card ready; IT needs to set up a workstation and a phone.

The HR manager can track every step and even collect signatures when needed. Integrate the whole process into Teams and people can do what they need to do without leaving the workspace where they spend the most time.

OUTCOME: It takes less effort for HR to go through their onboarding process. New employees can hit the ground running because they have everything they need.

5. Implement SharePoint into Teams – Work Together Better

By now, you’ve probably guessed that just about everything Microsoft can be integrated into Teams. Microsoft Teams is a collaboration space, but it can also organize and prioritize tasks. This is especially useful when employees are involved in different projects or departments.

A medical office is a great example of how SharePoint can be combined with the robust capabilities of Teams. The information that healthcare professionals gather, use and store is highly regulated to maintain privacy. When set up correctly, and with a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) in place, SharePoint has all of the technical and administrative features that are needed to be HIPAA compliant.

After being properly set up, the Microsoft Teams workspace can become the place where staff record and access patient information and quickly connect with colleagues via secure messaging. You can even do staff scheduling with the Shift app.

OUTCOME: The medical office can be more efficient and see more patients in a day because all of their needs for information and communication are centralized.

SharePoint is So Much More Than File Storage

Unless you’re archiving information for safekeeping, you need to DO things with the information you collect and store. Explore how you can improve your business operations and enable your success with SharePoint and Microsoft apps. Contact us to schedule a meeting.

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