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SharePoint in Plain English

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If you've worked in a company, you'll probably recognize how it feels to be Monique... 

She starts a new project, looks for team members, holds meetings and the emails start flying. Pretty soon, a few important documents emerge and those documents get passed around and around.  Within a couple of weeks, a few hundred emails, and a couple of dozen phone calls, a few things become clear.

First, people feel overwhelmed. Everyone's inbox is filled with slightly different versions of the same document. Monique is never sure if she has the latest version.

Second, it's impossible for her to see a complete snapshot of the project... Everything is spread across multiple computers, and everyone on the team has different information depending on who they talk to.

Third, even though the project will impact other projects, there is no way to connect them. They’re like islands. She spends valuable time trying to coordinate with other project leads and stakeholders. It’s better than sending snailmail, but it’s not the only way.

Tools like Sharepoint can take away some of the pain of collaborating and easily do things that were difficult before.

Imagine this scenario. Monique starts a new project and needs to form a team.  This time, she creates on online home for the project by starting a new Sharepoint site. To help fill out the team, Monique identifies potential team members with special skills, using Search.

Within minutes, she finds two graphic designers in the company and contacts them about the project. Once the team is formed, Andrea and Dmitri learn that they have more in common thanks to Sharepoint blogs. Common interests in things like mountain biking help build relationships that create a solid team foundation.

For this project, there’s little worry about attachments and version control. Sharepoint becomes the source for everything related to the project. All documents live in Sharepoint, where there is only one version.

The same is true for calendars. The team’s shared calendar means no one has to guess about meeting times or due dates.

Monique soon realizes she also needs budget spreadsheets and presentations. Instead of having to reinvent the wheel, she can search Sharepoint for documents from other projects that help her get started quickly. The same is true for existing databases and networks within her company.

Sharepoint plugs into these systems, so Monique and her team can access sales data, inventory numbers and contact information right from Sharepoint.

Now she can see that instead of people, documents and company data being islands in a huge ocean, Sharepoint creates a home that not only connects these islands, but allows her company to see the big picture.

Monique’s memories of those pre-Sharepoint days are still fresh. But now she looks forward to her next projects, even while she’s taking a break on her own island getaway.

I'm Lee LeFever, and this has been Sharepoint Explained by Common Craft.