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Crestwood Associates

8 Microsoft SharePoint Features That Can Make Your Business More Productive


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    Lately we have noticed many clients are taking a fresh look at SharePoint.   We thought we’d pass along some best features in SharePoint we are implementing.

    1. Go beyond traditional file sharing.  With SharePoint 2007, your users can take advantage of document versioning and approval features that are easy to use and can be tailored to the needs of a specific group of documents.  Users can browse through previous versions of a document, add comments, and approve revisions of a document, all while working with the same file. No more having to manage multiple copies of the same file in order to retain version history.  SharePoint 2010 is to be released this year with even more features.
    2. Get automatic alerts when documents are updated. SharePoint supports sophisticated document alert notifications when content is modified. You can choose to have instant, daily, or weekly summary notifications sent to you based on a large number of criteria.  For example, you can choose to receive weekly updates showing all new items that were created, and instant updates when other users modify files for which you are the owner.
    3. Take advantage of tight integration with Microsoft Office.  Simply point and click on any Microsoft Office compatible document type in SharePoint and it will open up in the correct program. Saving is just as simple as Microsoft Office will know to save the document back to SharePoint.  SharePoint also supports check out/check in functionality so that you can prevent other individuals from editing a file which you are working on.  Check out/check in works on the individual file level and will notify other users that a document is checked out and they will be unable to modify it.
    4. Add metadata, or tags, to documents, making them easily identifiable and searchable. Metadata can include comments about the document and its contents. This information can then be displayed in SharePoint when browsing through a document library.  Metadata is completely configurable based on the type of content and you can include as much or as little information as you want.
    5. Build a team oriented Web portal in minutes.  With SharePoint, you can create multiple sites and subsites quickly and easily.  These sites can be based on templates which can get you up and running very quickly with core features such as document libraries, announcements, task lists, and calendars. 
    6. Implement custom workflows.  Within SharePoint, any time a new document or list item is created, a workflow can be activated which allows for very sophisticated approval and notification processes.  Workflow can be set to trigger only when a document is created, or anytime it is modified. Workflow is also an effective solution for notifying other individuals from whom data is required.  Workflow can create a task for these individuals and then automatically add the information obtained to the original item.   SharePoint Designer can provide even more sophisticated workflow functionality and is accessible to those without programming experience.
    7. Bring information together from different systems.  SharePoint, through means of the business data catalog, can index and search almost any other type of database on your network. This information can then be delivered directly to your users or can be included in part of a custom workflow.
    8. SharePoint is the backbone for Business Portal, a pre-built portal that integrates with the Microsoft Dynamics GP product to allow non-GP users to share business intelligence via the intranet.  Dynamics GP 2010 features SharePoint workflow capabilities and can be a repository of Excel and SRS reports pre-linked to Dynamics GP data.

    If you are looking for an experienced SharePoint partner, please contact us at [email protected].

    By Ben Borger, Project Manager, at your Microsoft Dynamics GPChicago Area Gold Certified Partner, Crestwood Associates.

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