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SharePoint – What It Is and Why You Want to Use It

SharePoint Online is now here at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Not sure what it is? Keep reading!

What Is It?

SharePoint is another tool in the Office 365 tool kit that continues to provide flexibility and facilitate collaboration. It enables departments, schools, and project members to securely share and collaborate with other faculty, staff, and students. With SharePoint, you can create collaborative websites that can be used to share files, assign tasks, start blogs, calendars, manage workflows, etc. from anywhere — at the office, at home, or from a mobile device. As with OneDrive, SharePoint is also HIPAA and FERPA compliant and University approved.

What Are the Benefits?

There are many great benefits. SharePoint can help improve communications, collaboration, reduce paperwork and manual processes, and safely store and share information within your department, school, and project. Specific benefits include:

  • Accessibility and flexibility: SharePoint Online is a cloud-based service so it is easily accessible to all UMB users both on and off campus by using a browser and logging into Office 365 or from your mobile device by using an app.
  • Microsoft programs: It is closely integrated with many other Microsoft programs that you use and are familiar with such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook as well as many new programs that will help create and automate business processes and tasks you do regularly.
  • Collaboration: It is a great tool to improve collaboration by sharing documents, creating and assigning tasks, using lists to track requests/information, sharing calendars and timelines, discussing topics, using a discussion board or newsfeeds, creating alerts and notifications, and much more.
  • Security: Content within SharePoint is securely stored using a Microsoft managed cloud environment. It is HIPAA and FERPA compliant. Security and permissions can be set at a site, folder, document, and item level.

Why Should I Use SharePoint?

A prime use for SharePoint is file sharing for teams and departments. But it’s more than that –

  • In addition to file storage, SharePoint offers context. It automatically provides version history for every Microsoft file so that you know what was changed, when, and by whom. Using the version history, you have the ability to revert to an older version. There is also the ability to set alerts for specific documents or folders. Anytime a change is made, you can be alerted.
  • New tools – newsfeed, discussion boards, calendars, lists, tasks, etc. – they allow for the team to share and access information and communication whenever and however they want, and ensure that everyone sees the same information.

In essence, every team and department can use their SharePoint site as an intranet – a one-stop shop to share information, calendars, and files. Especially for department/teams who may not all be in one physical location – by using SharePoint, everyone has access real-time to all the same information. It’s NOT just file storage! It’s information storage.

SharePoint enables you to gain so much flexibility and accessibility. To help you, the Enterprise Training Group provides both training opportunities and resources. Please visit the Office 365 website for information.

  
Sarah Steinberg Collaboration, TechnologyAugust 9, 20171 comment
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