SharePoint Basics

What is SharePoint 2010?

This video explains how SharePoint 2010 helps to solve our daily working problems using capabilities like content, sites, communities, search, insights and composites.

It doesn't matter if you're working with SharePoint 2013, 2010 or 2007: Basic concepts, basic functionality and the vision behind SharePoint are the same. Words change but if you understand one version you'll be able to understand all.

 

 

 

Take a look behind the buzz words:

 
 

Video Transcription

This video explains how SharePoint 2010 helps to solve our daily working problems. Rather than throwing around a lot of buzz words the video shows how capabilities like content, sites and communities relate to our problems and how this helps to solve them.

Requirements

But before we start please make sure you have watched the video ‘What is SharePoint’. It shows you in 3m 21s the problems we have today working with information. And because of that Microsoft comes with a solution called SharePoint.

Information Workers have problems making decisions because of too much or not enough information. SharePoint helps storing information at one place. It also helps finding and accessing the right information you need to make better decisions.

Almost everyone talks about these 6 buzz words when they are asked about SharePoint. And they make more sense when you have the Information Workers problems in your mind. So the following slides are showing how these words relate to our Information Workers problems (storing, retrieving and accessing information) and how they help to solve these problems.

What is SharePoint 2010?

SharePoint is not a product like Word or Outlook you can install locally. It’s a server product offering a huge platform. You will interact with SharePoint using a Web Browser or Office applications like Word, Excel or Outlook.

SharePoint Content

Usually content is stored at different places and people have problems because of that: There can be multiple versions of the same document. People start to create a new document although there exists one but cannot be found. Instead of using information people are creating or searching information.

SharePoint allows storing information at one place. You can manage documents, records, Web content and rich media on a single platform. The advantage of SharePoint is how people can work with this content which will be shown until the end of the presentation.

And it doesn’t matter what you’re working with… it works all the same:

  • You can consistently manage versions, declare records, apply retention schedules, place legal holds or run audit reports.
  • You can decide based on policies when content should be archived or expired. (which removes it out of the search index for more relevant results)

SharePoint e.g. allows to storing documents in a library, to create a knowledge base using Wiki features or to create an internet facing website.

Metadata is used to describe any kind of content you store in SharePoint. If you have a document you will see e.g. the kind of document, the date it was modified and the person who modified it. Of course there is a lot more you don’t have on the file system. Metadata also helps you to find content using search. Tags are used to classify content which makes it easier to find, share, and use information.

In this example a document is selected and classified using tags.

It’s possible to reuse existing tags or to create new ones. A tag can be added to ‘My Tags’ which means that you will receive updates about content classified with this tag.

Each tag has a ‘Tag Profile’ page showing you tagged content and allowing you to enable automatic updates, adding the tag to your profile (Ask Me About) or view people who are interested in this kind of information.

Using a news feed you will find updates about your interests, people or projects. You don’t need to search for information. You don’t need to recreate content. Instead you can focus on your tasks and work with existing information.

SharePoint integrates in your existing working environment so you can work with content the way you are used to including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook or Visio.

Documents can be edited offline or by several persons at the same time. You can open it from SharePoint and save it there which means you and your team has one version. Furthermore you can add metadata in Word or use features like check-in / check-out, approval or workflows and much more.

SharePoint 2010 also allows you to view and edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents directly in your browser.

The last example shows Outlook and the integration of a Sales Team Calendar stored in SharePoint. It can be synchronized in both ways and quickly shows appointments (or conflicts with appointments in your personal calendar).

SharePoint Sites

If you want to store content in SharePoint you need a bunch of different sites and capabilities.

Content is not loosely stored in SharePoint:

  • It’s tied to you if you put it on your personal My Site.
  • It’s tied to teams or projects.

You can instantly create, manage and publish Team Sites (for teams or projects) and Publishing Sites based on templates. And with these types of sites you can not only represent a team or project but also your department or your company. You can represent your company with an Internet facing website or you can collaborate with partners using an Extranet.

Intranet, Extranet and Internet scenarios can be realized with one unified infrastructure.

Let’s take the ‘Team Site’ type: Business users can rapidly respond to their needs and create sites for teams or projects within a few seconds. And every site supports immediately the upload of documents to libraries with versioning, check-in / check-out, metadata, tags or workflows. E.g. new project members can be added within a minute and permission can be set on the site, library or document.

It’s not only about storing information... It’s like having a virtual workplace.

With SharePoint you get a personalized experience since business users can create, customize, and publish a site that meets a specific business need. Using audiences you can use the same site as a member of the sales team and get a different, more personalized experience for you using diagrams and a calendar.

Additionally you can change the language of your site if you need to support multilingual users and different company locations.

Everything works the same independent of the type of site. With SharePoint 2010 things are more consistent, faster and easier than with SharePoint 2007 using the new ribbon at the top. The new UI bundles functionality in one place which was distributed on different places in the previous version.

You can access information using a browser on your desktop, mobile phone or tablet. And it doesn’t matter if you’re working at your company, inside a train or from your home. Although business users can create, manage and access a lot of things on their own IT is still in control of the platform.

There is a place called ‘Central Administration’ where you manage functionality, security, policies, check the state of your environment using reporting and analysis capabilities or where you can make dynamic changes.

SharePoint Communities

Great ideas and solutions only evolve if you bring the right people together. Work isn’t only about producing something it’s also about creating relationships.

Using a Wiki page you can share knowledge, create new ideas and evolve them by bringing the right people together. At the same time you make it accessible to all people who don’t know about it but need it for their work.

It doesn’t matter how you store and share information. As already seen you can build communities around every kind of information helping you staying up-to-date, getting exactly the information you need and building the team spirit.

SharePoint comes with a comprehensive tagging system allowing you to tag content, its purpose and the idea behind it. You don’t need to read a document to understand its content and use. You can subscribe to tags which brings you faster to the right information.

SharePoint also allows you to tag people to capture their skills and projects.

If you’re working in the same office you probably will know about your colleagues’ skills and expertise. But if you work in a different city, country or continent you still can find colleagues and expertise, locate business Information and collaborate with them using tools like a Wiki page.

SharePoint Search

Search can be one of the most powerful but yet most complicated tools in a company. On the one hand you want to find every kind of information available in your company independent of geographical location or storage location (SharePoint list, database or just in the head of someone else). On the other hand you want information relevant to your needs. It’s still difficult to make a decision if you have too much information.

SharePoint offers one platform you can use to access information stored in a lot of different places.

The great advantage is the presentation of results which is a combination of relevance, refinement, and people. On the left side you can use metadata and tags to refine the results. In the center you see the most relevant results to your query. On the right side you have automatic colleague and expertise suggestions.

Tags can be used company-wide to classify your content which you can use to narrow the results of your search and find the right content faster.

Metadata used to describe content can be used too. Additionally click-through rates affect the ranking of every result.

Do you remember that knowledge sometimes is only stored in a person’s head? With people search you can find colleagues and expertise.

You can use people specific refiners to locate the right person quickly. There are a lot more features like phonetic and nickname search or thumbnails and previews.

SharePoint Insights

Every company uses specialized tools for their business requirements and often it’s not useful to recreate a new solution with SharePoint. But using different tools (and logins) at the same time can be time-consuming too.

SharePoint prepares and visualizes data using reports, charts, worksheets, dashboards, scorecards or KPIs.

  • With ‘Excel Services’ you can use, share, secure, and manage workbooks as interactive reports.
  • ‘Visio Services’ allows rendering diagrams and charts inside the browser.
  • ‘PerformancePoint Services’ is a reporting and analysis tool allowing you to create dashboards and scorecards.

Of course you can do much more to gain insights on your data and make better decisions.

Business needs rapidly change these days and SharePoint allows companies to quickly adapt to these changes by providing tools to create solutions without code.

SharePoint comes with a lot of building blocks and it’s up to your needs and imagination how you combine them to solve business challenges. It can be done using a browser and allows you to customize functionality (e.g. lists and Web Parts) or the UI (themes). While you have the flexibility as a user to modify it at your own needs it’s still controlled by IT.

A technical advanced user can use SharePoint Designer to create content (e.g. sites and lists), manage security or create additional functionality with workflows. He can also create an external list to access data from other systems. At the same time IT can control when and how people use SharePoint Designer which wasn’t that easy with SharePoint 2007.

With SharePoint Designer 2010 you can create, read, update, delete, and search data from other systems using external lists.

Workflows are reusable in SharePoint 2010 and together with InfoPath you can create solutions without code.

‘Visio Services’ allows rendering diagrams and charts inside the browser and ‘Access Services’ allows you to manage, analyze, and share data of Access databases inside SharePoint 2010… from any device that has a standards-compliant Web browser.

Summary

  • Server Product, no local installation
  • Everything is done using websites
  • Helps to store, find, access and work with information
  • Used for collaboration
  • Sharing ideas and knowledge
  • It’s about working better (together)

Information Workers these days have problems to make decisions based on too much information or because of insufficient information. Information is usually stored at different places, can’t be found or accessed. The goal is to work more easily and more efficient and to securely store, manage and retrieve any information from anywhere.

While this presentation gave insights into SharePoint and its capabilities the next presentation will give you an overview how data is stored in SharePoint.

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