Top 5 SharePoint (and Intranet) must have features & benefits


What is SharePoint Online (and Intranet)?

SharePoint Online Intranet is a very popular choice in many organizations nowadays. SharePoint Online is SaaS (Software as a Service) offering from Microsoft, part of the Microsoft 365 suite with monthly or annual subscription. That means no CapEx (capital expenditures) anymore, with SharePoint Online you are paying for what you have used. This allows you to be flexible: add or remove services or users based on your needs.

Which SharePoint should I choose? Online or on-premises?

As SharePoint Online is Software as a Service, there’s a lot less you need to manage, most of it is the vendors (Microsoft) responsibility: infrastructure, networking, storage, maintenance, upgrades, new features etc. Below you can see the different types of cloud computing models (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS) compared with the traditional on-premises model:

 

Cloud_computing_Service_model

 

Uptime and availability in the SaaS model are covered with SLA (Service Level Agreement) between your organization and Microsoft. In case the levels defined in the SLA are not met, Microsoft will provide you with compensation credits towards your account. So if you want to manage less infrastructure and worry less in general, then the choice is obvious – SharePoint Online. If you fall under some very specific regulations which bound you to keep your data on-premises, then this would be the only case in which we’d advise to stay on-premises and not go to the cloud.

Top 5 SharePoint Online Intranet benefits

1. Very precise SLA and compensations

Microsoft provides 99.9% SLA for SharePoint Online. What does that mean: Microsoft guarantees that you will be able to access your data in SharePoint Online in 99.9% of the time in a month and if this is not the case, they will compensate you with service credit. Below you can see what the compensations are for SharePoint Online and how it is calculated up time.

Monthly Uptime Percentage: The Monthly Uptime Percentage is calculated using the following formula: ((User Minutes – Downtime) / User Minutes) x 100

Downtime: Any period when users are unable to read or write any portion of a SharePoint Online site collection for which they have appropriate permissions. Downtime is measured in user-minutes; that is, for each month, Downtime is the sum of the length (in minutes) of each Incident that occurs during that month multiplied by the number of users impacted by that Incident.

Monthly Uptime PercentageService Credit
< 99.9%25%
< 99%50%
< 95%100%

You will get 25% service credit if the up time of SharePoint Online is less than 99.9% in one month.

2. Modern User Experience (UX)

The modern experience in SharePoint Online is designed to be compelling, flexible, and more performant. It makes it easier for anyone to create beautiful, dynamic sites and pages that are mobile-ready. The web parts give users a responsive user experience, available across multiple devices (PC, tablet or phone) and browsers. Users can now create new pages with rich content quickly and easily.

Example: You can choose your page’s templates, add elements to it and change their style – all within a single click.

 

SharePoint Section

 

SharePoint Templates

 

SharePoint FrontEnd Builder

 

3. External sharing

With SharePoint Online you can securely share whole sites or specific content with people outside of your organization such as partners, vendors, clients, or customers. Planning for external sharing should be an integral part of your overall Intranet governance strategy.

External sharing is a very handy feature in case you are dealing with customers sitting at the other end of the world so you can quickly exchange your ideas without the need to meet.

SharePoint has external sharing controls both at the tenant and on the site level. This means that if your administrators disable it on the tenant-level, then individual site admins won’t be able to share externally, too.

Here’s part of the external sharing settings available for a document stored  in SharePoint Online:

 

SharePoint sharing

 

You can share with Anyone with the link, People in your organization with the link, People with existing access or Specific people. Enable or disable editing, set expiration date for the link (after this date the link won’t work anymore), set password that only certain people know or Block Download. External sharing in SharePoint Online is very flexible and is made to cover a variety of scenarios.

4. OneDrive sync and files on demand

OneDrive is an application that you would normally have on your Windows 10 PC, it takes care of the two-way synchronization between your files in OneDrive and/or a SharePoint document library and your PC. Having the sync is very beneficial if you’re travelling a lot and have to work offline (e.g. on an airplane). OneDrive sync is designed to properly synchronize all the changes you’ve made later when you get connected to the Internet.

A sync between your frequently visited SharePoint Online document library and your PC is established with a single click. In the document library you just click Sync button and follow the instructions in couple of seconds the sync is running.

 

SharePoint OneDrive Sync

 

SharePoint OneDrive Sync

 

Done. You now have the documents from that library on your computer. And they’re not taking any of your local storage space. Asking yourself how is that possible? Read further.

Another very cool feature built into OneDrive sync is Files On-Demand. By default, only visual shortcuts of the files would be place on your PC and files would be downloaded in the backstage only when you attempt to work with them. You can, of course selectively choose files and folders to be always stored on your device. That is a good idea when you know you will be travelling and won’t have a stable or any Internet connection but you need to finish your work on a certain project.

5. Power Apps and Power Automate integration

Power Apps and Power Automate are part of the Microsoft Power Platform. They enable citizen developers to automate business processes and quickly build custom apps that suit specific business needs. Power Automate supports workflows that can be associated with both lists and libraries, whereas PowerApps is used to develop rich forms and data entry screens. Together these two tools bring plenty of powerful features to a wide audience, previously only available for pro developers.

Integration between your SharePoint Online Intranet and PowerApps/PowerAutomate is built-in, all you have to do is benefit from it.

Conclusion

In this article we‘ve reviewed the 5 most vauable features/benefits of a SharePoint Online Intranet. Keep in mind that Microsoft’s roadmap is running at a very fast pace and new features get released quickly.  If you want to learn more about the full power of SharePoint Onine don’t hesitate and contact us. We’d love to hear about your Intranet or SharePoint journey. We’ve been doing company Intranets since many years and SharePoint is what we’re being recognized for in the industry space.

Additional Resources

  1. Migrating to SharePoint Online? You can find helpful tips in our detailed blog post.
  2. Don’t want to start your Intranet site from scratch? Check out which are the top three SharePoint site templates
  3. Want to find out new some new cool features in SharePoint Online that you don’t have on-prem? Start with the SharePoint Home site.

Need to integrate SharePoint Online with the rest of your business applications?


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