Sharing of business data in small business used to be a nice thing to have; however in today’s business environment it is rapidly becoming a necessity in order to compete in the marketplace. Never has the demand for collaboration inside your small business, across multiple locations, geographic regions or with partners and clients been needed as it is today. Many small businesses continue to struggle with the concept of collaboration and how it should work within their organization.
When collaboration in the workplace occurs effectively, productivity inside the business skyrockets, suddenly you can do more with fewer resources, both human and technical and the workforce is happy because they can work from virtually anywhere. The flipside of effective collaboration is exactly the opposite, productivity goes way down, dependence on technology support skyrockets, and the added cost is reflective in your human capital and expenses. Your team becomes frustrated and even may leave your firm when the tools are not available to do their jobs effectively, wherever and whenever they need to perform their tasks.
Introducing a new way to share business data! It is not that new actually; Windows SharePoint Services is starting to catch on in the small business market, larger corporations have been using document management systems for quite some time. Just like having your email hosted in house took a little time for the small business market to embrace, now SharePoint Services is making its way into the SMB market.
The added value of document management systems is that many small businesses already own the necessary hardware and software! Often SMB organizations already have an existing document management system in place, such as Google Docs or Box.net, peoples expectations are riding on this particular tool. As SharePoint Services is a Microsoft product, it ties in very well with the company’s identity, people are going to be more open to using it because they are familiar with it already.
This is very good for Microsoft because this will allow them to continue to grow the market in the SMB space without worrying about competition. Do you know what Google Docs is? It is a way to collaborate and save time on the web, in the same way that you work on your document in real life. When you save a document, it is automatically shared across all Google Docs users. Just save a new document, any user on any computer can read it, save changes, and then they can collaborate and add or edit the document.
If your sales force is already using Gmail, then you are likely in need of SharePoint Services. SharePoint is a powerful group collaboration tool that is not difficult to use. groups can be managed through a control panel, and contacts can be setup through your email address. It is compatible with most email clients like Outlook, Eudora, etc. SMB is a great tool for working with your small business in a virtual environment.
There are a few things that you can do to ensure that your projects get the attention that they need. The first is to make sure that the project manager is a real expert in the area. If you have a new project, then you are going to need someone with programming skills, but even if you have employees in place and you feel that you will need someone to program it, it is still better to consider a professional. Even if you feel that you will be able to do it yourself, it is always a good idea to have an experienced professional look at it before you begin.
You can also consider hiring a Microsoft partner to help you with the technical aspects of your project. These are people who are skilled in the Microsoft Visual Studio programming environment and who will be able to create the software applications that you will need to be built. This is a good option and a less expensive way to do it.
Learning more about SharePoint today will help you for your business efforts as it grows, and will also enable you to provide the best possible customer service possible. Taking advantage of the functionalities of SharePoint will enable you to create a web farm to which your employees can collaborate and perform their job tasks will reduce time and cost. There are other products on the market that will enable you to accomplish many of the same things that would be required with a Microsoft system, and you can choose a different Microsoft partner to work with to make sure that your company is getting the services that you need.
SharePoint is a powerful tool that will allow you to develop a document management system for your business. If you feel that your business is in need of a document management system, then recent upgrades to this software from Microsoft can help you to make sure that your business will be able to grow in the future.