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SharePoint Migration #1: Why Use SharePoint & Why Use SharePoint Online

SharePoint Migration #1: Why Use SharePoint & Why Use SharePoint Online

This is the first of a three-part blog series looking at SharePoint migration. In this first part we look at the benefits of using SharePoint, specifically why you should adopt SharePoint Online. If you’ve already decided on using SharePoint Online, you may prefer to make straight for part 2: how to plan your migration to SharePoint Online.

Why use SharePoint?

Like all businesses, you need somewhere to store, organise, access, and share information. This is something that SharePoint can do very well, whether as intranet, document management, content management, or knowledge management platform.

Correctly implemented, SharePoint enables organisations to improve collaboration, productivity, and overall efficiency.

For organisations already using Microsoft 365 the benefits of using SharePoint multiply, and you’ll see some of these below. Significantly, SharePoint is also becoming increasingly central to the operation of a Microsoft infrastructure. We already see this in the way SharePoint underpins many aspects of Teams. And we expect to see a lot more of this though Microsoft’s AI (Artificial Intelligence) Copilot assistants.

For those new to SharePoint, let’s look at eight key benefits of using SharePoint (whether cloud or on-premises): Centralised Document Management, easy integration, flexibility, enriched communication, enhanced productivity, robust security, governance, and support.

1. Centralised Document Management

SharePoint allows you to bring all documents, and other data sources, together in one place. This ensures that everyone has access to the latest version, creating a ‘single source of truth’ for your organisation. Documents can be categorised and tagged with metadata to ease retrieval, while search can be based on keywords and content.

2. Easy Integration

It is designed to work seamlessly with Microsoft’s myriad of communication, collaboration, teamwork, and productivity tools. So, integration with Microsoft 365 apps, Teams, OneDrive, and other Microsoft productivity tools, like Power Automate, is very easy.

3. Flexibility

With SharePoint you can create customised Lists and Libraries, for specific business needs, and produce custom web parts and extensions through the SharePoint Framework (SPFx). While a range of APIs and pre-built connectors, enable integration with other business applications.

4. Enriched Communication

SharePoint provides the basis for an intranet to share company news, announcements, and resources. Similarly, it enables sites to be created for teams, departments, or projects that can aid communication and collaboration. Thanks to Microsoft’s freely available Viva Connections app, intranet content can be brought directly into Teams. SharePoint also offers ‘Discussion Boards’ to help knowledge sharing and integrates with Viva Engage (formerly Yammer) for social networking and enterprise communication.

5. Enhanced Productivity

Built-in workflows can automate simple approval and feedback processes, and Power Automate integration enables a range of repetitive, manual workflows to be automated. Templates for common document types save time, while SharePoint’s responsive design enables mobile access for on the go use.

6. Robust Security

Secure by design, SharePoint provides detailed role-based access control, allowing permissions to be set at the site, library, folder, and document levels. It integrates tightly with Azure Active Directory to enable conditional access policies, based on user location, device, and risk profile, to also be set.

7. Governance

SharePoint meets all major compliance standards, including GDPR, HIPAA, and ISO. It also makes it easy to implement the data retention, eDiscovery, and legal hold policies you may need to meet regulatory requirements.

8. Support

Microsoft’s own support services are available for troubleshooting and assistance. Perhaps more importantly, there’s a wealth of information available online with a large community of users and developers sharing knowledge, tips, and best practices.

Get the most out of SharePoint:

Why we Advocate SharePoint Online

There are cloud (SharePoint Online), locally-hosted (SharePoint Server) and hybrid options (integrating Microsoft 365 functionality with SharePoint Server) for SharePoint. But choosing SharePoint Online offers eight additional benefits over on-premise: superior integration, enhanced collaboration, easier scalability, advanced security, reliability, automatic updates, simplified management, and financial efficiencies.

1. Superior Integration

SharePoint Online provides significantly better integration with Microsoft 365 than SharePoint Server. It provides direct, native integration with Teams, OneDrive for Business, enabling seamless file sharing and synchronization across devices, and Power BI. Superior integration also makes for a consistently good user experience across devices, enhancing ease of use and productivity.

2. Enhanced Collaboration

SharePoint Online improves collaboration, enabling multiple authors to work on documents simultaneously, enhancing teamwork and productivity. It also enables content to be accessed from anywhere and on the go from iOS and Android devices.

3. Easier Scalability

With SharePoint Online you can easily scale storage up or down without worrying about any physical storage limitations. Additionally, users can be easily added or removed.

4. Advanced Security

SharePoint Online provides extra layers of security such as advanced threat protection, Multi-Factor Authentication, and data encryption both at rest and in transit.

5. Reliability

Microsoft provides a financially backed guarantee of at least 99.9% uptime for SharePoint Online, ensuring minimal downtime and hence high availability. Microsoft’s network of data centres also ensures built-in redundancy as part of this.

6. Automatic Updates

SharePoint Online includes regular, automatic updates to ensure that you benefit from the latest security patches and improvements without manual intervention. SharePoint Online also frees you from the ever-present threat of support ending for SharePoint Server. Those using the 2019 edition will know that its already entered extended support and that end of support is on July 14, 2026. Support for SharePoint Server 2016 also ends completely then.

7. Simplified Management

A centralised ‘Admin Center’, assisted automation of routine management tasks, straightforward ‘Permissions and Access Control’, and built-in reporting tools help to simplify the administration of SharePoint Online.

9. Financial Efficiencies

It’s subscription pricing, means SharePoint Online provides predictable costs with minimal upfront capital expenditure. The service eliminates the need to purchase and maintain on-premises infrastructure and with it avoids a staff overhead.

It is not hard to make a strong case for using SharePoint Online. It offers many significant advantages over on-premises and hybrid implementations based on SharePoint Server. But if you think, SharePoint Online wouldn’t work for your organisation we’re always happy to discuss the pros and cons. In part two of this blog series, we look at planning a SharePoint migration.

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