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I am over half way through the courses now. It is great to be able to work through them at my own pace and easily re-visit a course that I don’t quite understand in the future. I can already feel my confidence building as I complete each course.

On to SharePoint, I must admit I have no understanding of this application, but hey, that’s what the training is for!

So, it turns out it is not an application. It is an online platform for collaboration as my e-instructor kindly informs me. It needs the online cloud to operate, meaning that you can work anywhere, at any time and on any device.

This course starts with informing me that SharePoint is used for two main ideas. Organising files and project management. The e-instructor explains that SharePoint is very similar to OneDrive for Business when it comes to file storage and organisation.

The second major use for SharePoint is project collaboration and management. This is where it got a little complicated. When using SharePoint for projects it needs to be carefully set up. It is quite complex and you may need assistance from an
IT provider. However, once set up, SharePoint project collaboration is easy to use.

SharePoint Sites works like a business intranet. There are team site, sub sites and a library, the e-instructor then talks me though an example of the hierarchy which really assists my understanding. SharePoint lives in the “Sites” tile of your Office 365 portal. It can be branded for your company and customised with different colours and layouts to suit your needs.

For the tutorial a basic SharePoint site has been set up to use throughout the course. It is most easily explained as an ‘Online filing cabinet’, this helps better understand the subsites. They are like categories in your filing cabinet, you can store projects and files under each subsite to better organise and manage your business.

I love the way the e-instructor makes things easy to visualise and in a language even I can understand!

The power of OneDrive is used by SharePoint to help with file storage, the only difference is that SharePoint is less about personal files and more about public business files shared within your business to all or a select group of employees.

To access SharePoint files, you can sync items from SharePoint to your computer and open for editing. When saving, your computer knows the file lives in SharePoint and it automatically uploads your edited file to SharePoint online.

A basic interface in a SharePoint site includes a shortcut panel on the left, this can be customised to suit your needs, a calendar, a task timeline, a newsfeed and a document library. Items that can be in the shortcut panel include OneNote note book, documents, task list, mailbox and timeline.

The Calendar is great to keep everyone on track and organised. A useful feature is that it can be connected to the team’s Outlook Calendar ensuring that a task or deadline is never overlooked. The Newsfeed function is used to keep updated on the project and interact with colleagues in your team. It’s like Facebook for SharePoint team sites!

Mailbox is useful for keeping all communications of a certain project in the one place. How many times have you found yourself searching through your emails for the one you need? Simply by ‘CCing’ the site team name into your email the message automatically appears in the team site Mailbox. Ensuring all emails regard that particular project can be found in the one place. You can also easily share the site with relevant colleagues and clients so they can keep updated and contribute to the progression of the project.

The e-instructor reiterates the need for help when setting up SharePoint for your business. This will ensure that you receive the best results in files storage and project management.

Knowledge Check time! I stumbled on a couple of questions, but got there in the end. I’m nearly finished my journey, only two more courses to go!

The next stop Common Business Scenarios. I guess this is where I put my new found knowledge into practise. Wish me luck!

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