Monday, 13 March 2023

What is SharePoint? And do I need it?

Should your organisation be using - or making more use of - Microsoft SharePoint? We take a look at the features & uses of SharePoint to help you decide.

In this article, the Grant McGregor team takes a look at Microsoft SharePoint. We’ll look at the uses and features for which it’s best known to help you decide whether your organisation should be using – or making more use of – Microsoft SharePoint. 

You’re probably familiar with SharePoint as a way to sync and store your files in the cloud securely, especially to aid remote working and collaboration. And, if you’re using Microsoft Teams, you’re probably using it as the tool for file storage underlying your use of Teams.

But did you know that Microsoft SharePoint does much more than this? It can also help you to:

  • Build intranet sites and create pages, document libraries and lists
  • Add web parts to customise your content
  • Show important news and visuals to share with a team or communication site
  • Discover, follow and search for sites, files and people inside your organisation
  • Catch up on internal news on the go with the SharePoint mobile app

All you need is a web browser, such as Microsoft Edge or Chrome and you can use SharePoint to access, share, store and organise information.

If you already have a Microsoft 365 subscription, you can use SharePoint within your business plan. Get started by setting up Microsoft 365 file storage and sharing. To access more advanced features, you can opt for SharePoint Server.

SharePoint as a document library


First and foremost, SharePoint can be used to store and collaborate on files. SharePoint sites can be used independently. They are also used by Microsoft Teams for file storage (in Teams-connected sites). 

The easy integration of SharePoint libraries with your SharePoint intranet is another big plus in favour of using SharePoint to create your company Intranet pages. 

SharePoint offers some great features for users and IT admins alike. These include:

  • A wide range of security controls, including password protections, audit trail and the ability to require an approval on documents to prevent unauthorised access.
  • Enable co-authoring and versioning.
  • View the metadata around the file so that users can easily see the document is important without having to open it (created by, modified time, custom tags, etc).
  • Customise permissions.
  • Checkout documents so that you can prevent further editing.
  • Set up notifications so you can see immediately when documents are uploaded or edited.
  • Integrate Power Automate to automate common tasks, such as emailing documents or triggered actions in third-party systems once uploaded.
  • Integration with Microsoft OneDrive for personal cloud-based document storage. 

SharePoint as a basis of your company Intranet


SharePoint is the most common platform used for company Intranets around the world. It’s a great tool. Recent versions are much more intuitive and easy to use than SharePoint versions of the past. 

It integrates closely with other Microsoft employee collaboration tools, such as Microsoft Teams, and other Microsoft apps, such as Power Automate and Power BI. And, best of all, it’s included in your Microsoft 365 subscription. While Microsoft Teams is the go-to collaboration tool for most Microsoft 365 users, a SharePoint intranet can still help to boost collaboration and document sharing within your organisation. 

You can use SharePoint to create company Intranet pages quickly and easily with little to no developer involvement. This is a big advantage because it means that your business teams are empowered to manage and create their own content and take responsibility for their own pages, teams and hubs.

You can use and create page templates or create individual pages using standardised web parts, such as header images, text boxes, buttons and charts. Microsoft offers a lot of preconfigured page content, such as dynamic news reels, counters, social links, etc.

SharePoint offers some advanced features too, as well as integration with other Microsoft apps. These include:

  • Integration with Microsoft Teams and Yammer for easy collaboration with colleagues.
  • Sophisticated content publishing features, such as approval workflows, templates, editorial calendars and daily workflows.
  • Support for personalisation and content targeting, using Active Directory (Azure AD) profiles to deliver and prioritise relevant content, pages and hubs.
  • Edit your page and check spelling and grammar with Editor. 
  • Weave in automated workflows and process improvement through the use of Power Automate.
  • Add reports and dashboards via the integrations with Power BI.
  • Custom build apps using Microsoft Power Apps and enable users to access them through their SharePoint hubs and pages.
  • See comments, likes and views.
  • Integration with Viva insights, for AI-powered recommendations and insights for you and your teams.

SharePoint today and its future...



SharePoint incorporates many of the generic benefits that we’ve come to associate with choosing Microsoft 365. As a cloud-based tool, it is easy to maintain. With its familiar look and feel, it is easy for business users to understand and feel comfortable with. It integrates with Microsoft’s security tools, including Azure Active Directory on Intune, so that your solution is easy to keep secure. 

It's also massively scalable and hugely customisable. Plus, you have the peace of mind that comes with a Microsoft roadmap. Microsoft is investing heavily in the development of its Microsoft 365 tools and SharePoint has seen significant recent improvements in the last year. It also has further exciting improvements marked in its pipeline (including the integrations with Viva insights). 

What next?

If you’d like to talk to our experts about making better use of your existing SharePoint licences, please get in touch.

Call us: 0808 164 4142

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We’re on hand to answer your questions about IT support, cyber security, Microsoft 365 and anything business technology.

Further reading

You can find more information about Microsoft 365 and other technology topics on our blog: