MS365 is a Microsoft’s platform to migrate your entire company in the cloud and thus be able to work from anywhere using a computer, mobile or tablet. In today’s post, we will explain in more detail one of the most important applications of Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), the intranet was to have all our documents and our hosted data, Microsoft SharePoint.
What is SharePoint?
In our Microsoft 365 pieces of training, we always like to explain SharePoint by relating it to a library, a normal library where books of all kinds are found. In this library, each book has endless properties that distinguish it from other books, since each one has a different year of publication, a literary genre, an author and a different status.
If we wanted to have control of all those books, magazines and newspapers, we should make a huge table where we can list every one of the elements and put their properties in different columns, to know the attributes of each book at all times.
Well, SharePoint does the same as a library, it is a shared site where you can group various libraries of files and data that can be attributed an infinite number of attributes, both quantitative and qualitative, called meta-data.
To finish understanding well what SharePoint is, we are going to change that library of books to a library of files, where we find Word, PDF, PowerPoint, Excel files, among others. Each of these files also has attributes, since a document can belong to a different department, be created on a different date, have a different author, etc.
All these files are uploaded by different employees so that after a week we can have more than a thousand documents, but SharePoint has a powerful filter engine that allows you to create views to have all your documents well ordered. For example, we can create a view to see only those files created by a certain user, and whose publication date is later than 2018.
SharePoint Server, SharePoint Foundation, or SharePoint Online
SharePoint is many years old, Microsoft released its first version in 2001 under the name Windows SharePoint Services (WSS), which later acquired the name of SharePoint Foundation. This tool allowed local collaboration on web pages, documents, lists, calendars and data, it was Microsoft’s first proposal to migrate a company’s data to a server so that it was accessible by any user, as long as they had access.
Later Microsoft released SharePoint Server, a proposal very similar to SharePoint Foundation but with some additional features and functionalities, such as business intelligence, content management (having control of what each user can do), advanced document search, creation from personal sites, newsfeeds, etc.
With the arrival of cloud storage, Microsoft bet very strongly with Azure, its cloud service where today all Microsoft and Office 365 products and services are stored. Even though there are powerful alternatives such as Amazon and Google, Azure is the only cloud that offers more than 70 compliance offerings (the largest portfolio in the industry), has more than 50 global Azure regions (more than any other cloud service provider) and offers its cloud services at 95% of the companies included in the Fortune 500 list.
When Microsoft discovered the potential of Azure, it could not afford to have SharePoint running on local servers, so it launched what we now know as SharePoint Online, the face of Microsoft 365 and the brain where all the documentation of a company is stored.
From SharePoint to Microsoft 365
SharePoint Online has had different updates to be up to date as a database and intranet manager, it incorporated a task manager, a shared calendar, workflows automation to small repetitive tasks, etc. But all of them had a very technical and not very visual operation, which forced the company to have technicians specialized in SharePoint to take full advantage of the tool. So once again Microsoft decided to give a change of scene and completely modify SharePoint, making it easy and intuitive and focusing it on what it is, an intranet with databases.
The other functionalities that he had acquired were extracted from SharePoint and gave each one a proper name: Planner, Flow, To Do, Delve, etc. And with that, what we know today as Microsoft 365 applications were born.