Introduction to SharePoint

Welcome! Microsoft SharePoint is a web-based collaborative platform used to create and maintain web sites and collections of information. SharePoint is used as a platform to build upon the features of some of our Central Support products, such as Skyvera Social, EPM Live, and Bonzai Intranet. Throughout this article, you will learn the basic concepts and terminology when working with SharePoint.

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Microsoft SharePoint is a web-based collaborative platform that integrates with Microsoft Office. Launched in 2001, SharePoint is primarily sold as a document management and storage system, but the product is highly configurable and usage varies substantially among organizations. SharePoint may be used as:

  • A collaboration site.
  • A documentation storage site.
  • A workflow automation site.
  • An intranet.

SharePoint is not an application in itself like Word or Excel. It is not even a suite of applications like Microsoft Office. Microsoft SharePoint is more than simply an application or program. SharePoint is what's called a platform, installed on a server and users connect to the server to create sites for different usage.

SharePoint allows users to:

  • Create sites that are places where people can work together, can save documents, and find information. Sites can be very specific full-featured websites.
  • Create communities where users can then invite members of their team to work together on a site.
  • Create content in their sites such as web pages, libraries, and forms.
  • Search for the content in their sites across particular libraries or a larger zone, a site, or even search on all of the sites that they have access to.
  • Gain insights from their content and aggregate information about it, such as mining for information from documents or lists.
  • Extend the functionality of sites through composites. Composites allow users to create new things with SharePoint that are very specific to their business needs. For example, the ability to add a workflow to a document library or a list or even a site.
SharePoint Features

 

Why is SharePoint used in Central Support?

Since SharePoint is a platform to build collaborative sites with customized functionalities and capabilities, it has been used as a foundation to build upon four products (as of 2019) in Central Support: SharePoint Products in Central Support

  • Skyvera Social is a collaborative platform built upon SharePoint for companies that wish to create a social community for their employees with access to collaboration tools and search capabilities.
  • Skyvera Smart Routines is a process automation platform built to work with SharePoint and SAP aimed at uniting people and processes with the concept of self-serve for HR processes like onboarding, benefits enrollment, and others.
  • EPM Live is an enterprise portfolio management platform built upon SharePoint to leverage project management and collaborative tools for projects and teams of all sizes.
  • Bonzai Intranet is a collaborative platform built upon SharePoint for companies that aim to simplify processes and configuration needed to get an intranet up and running.
All four products work with SharePoint as a core component of their deployment. Skyvera Social and Bonzai Intranet are very similar solutions, both using SharePoint as a core to create specialized and custom sites and site collections for corporate users.

Microsoft SharePoint editions can be classified by their deployment method:

SharePoint Server

SharePoint Server is provided to organizations that seek greater control over SharePoint's behavior or design. This product is installed on a customers' IT infrastructure. It receives fewer frequent updates but has access to a wider set of features and customization capabilities. There are three editions of SharePoint Server:

SPF.png   SPS.png   SPE.png
SharePoint Foundation (free), was discontinued in 2016.   SharePoint Standard, which has the following features:
  • Sites: Audience targeting, governance tools, secure store service, and web analytics functionality.
  • Communities: 'MySites' (personal profiles including skills management, and search tools), enterprise wikis, organization hierarchy browser, tags, and notes.
  • Content: Improved tooling and compliance for document & record management, managed metadata, word automation services, and content type management.
  • Search: Better search results, search customization abilities, mobile search, OS search integration, faceted search, and refinement options.
  • Composites: Pre-built workflow templates, Business Connectivity Services (BCS) profile pages.
  SharePoint Enterprise, which offers the same features as Standard plus Insights such as:
  • Search thumbnails and previews, rich web indexing, and more refined search results.
  • Business intelligence integration, dashboards, and business data surfacing.
  • PowerPivot and PerformancePoint.
  • Microsoft Office Access, Visio, Excel, and InfoPath Forms services.
  • SharePoint Enterprise Search extensions.

SharePoint Online

  • Microsoft’s hosted SharePoint Online has usually bundled with Microsoft Office 365 subscriptions but it can be purchased as a standalone.
  • SharePoint Online has the advantage of not needing to maintain a server, but as a result, it lacks the customization options of a self-hosted installation of SharePoint.
  • It is also limited to a core set of collaboration, file hosting, and content management features, but it is updated on a frequent basis, and its feature set can be comparable to SharePoint Enterprise.
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Microsoft SharePoint versions released so far which are pertinent to Central Support (as of 2019) are:

SharePoint Foundation 2010 (free), SharePoint Server 2010 (commercial extension for Foundation), and SharePoint Enterprise 2010 (commercial extension for Server).
  • Check this link to review the main features and learn more about SP 2010.
SharePoint Foundation 2013 (free), SharePoint Server 2013 (an extension on top of Foundation), and SharePoint Enterprise 2013.
  • Check this link to review the main features and learn more about SP 2013.
SharePoint Server 2016 and SharePoint Enterprise 2016.
  • Check this link to review the main features and learn more about SP 2016.
SharePoint Server 2016 and SharePoint Online.
  • Check this link to review the main features and learn more about SP Online.

Activity!

Check the Knowledge Base for the latest release notes in SharePoint compatibility for Bonzai Intranet, Skyvera Social, and EPM Live.

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SharePoint sites are constructed in hierarchies.

A subsite can inherit permissions, resources, and security settings from its parent site, making it easy to create new sites quickly. If you use a site template created from the parent site, the subsite can also inherit visual styles and page layouts. Thus you can maintain consistent styles and policies, and apply any changes efficiently.

The top level in the hierarchy is the site collection. Each site collection can have its own database and security model. There is always one top-level root site in the site collection, under which a hierarchy of subsites can be built.

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The following guidelines show the relationship between SharePoint Server sites and site collections, and content databases:

  • All content in a site collection must be stored in a single content database.
  • You can't store a site collection's content across multiple content databases.
  • You can scale up content databases that support a site collection.
  • You can also scale-out a content database at the web application level to support additional site collections.
  • A site collection can exist in only one content database, but one content database can host the content for multiple site collections.
  • A site can't exist outside of a site collection and can only exist in one site collection but a site collection can host many sites.

A site collection is used to host sites that have something in common. For example, the sites might be in a common administrative boundary or share common branding. The site collection might be created to house all the sites and content for a business unit. Or, a single site collection might have become too large to manage, and it must be split into smaller ones. Lastly, some site collections are created exclusively to host specific SharePoint Server functionalities, such as Enterprise Search Center or to host My Sites.

Site collections are a way of organizing sites for a common purpose.

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SharePoint Server supports two types of site collections:

  • Host-named site collections allow users to assign custom names to each site collection that you create in a web application. For example, you can have two site collections in the same web application addressed like this: http://TeamA.contoso.com and http://TeamB.contoso.com.
  • Path-based site collections allow the subsites in the site collection to share a root or parent URL (DNS name). For example, Team A could have a site collection at http://contoso.com/sites/teamA, and Team B would have a site collection at http://contoso/sites/teamB. All sites in either site collection would have the http://contoso.com/sites/teamA or /teamB root. The only way to have a different URL root is to create a different web application.

Activity!

Check the following knowledge base articles to know more about collections and navigating through a site hierarchy:

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Every site collection starts as a single, top-level site. Because it is a site, its structure and functionality are based on a site template.

SharePoint Server provides many site templates, plus users can also create and use their own as needed. The following are some of the most common site collection templates that are available in SharePoint Servers 2016:

Team Site: A place to work together with a group of people.   TeamSite.jpg
 
Blog: A site for a person or team to post ideas, observations, and expertise that site visitors can comment on.   BlogSite.jpg
 
Project Site: A site for managing and collaborating on a project. This site template brings all status, communication, and artifacts relevant to the project into one place.   ProjectSite.jpg
 
Community Site: A place where community members discuss topics of common interest. Members can browse and discover relevant content by exploring categories, sorting discussions, by popularity or by viewing only posts that have the best reply. Members gain reputation points by participating in the community, such as starting discussions and replying to them, liking posts, and specifying best replies.   Community_Site.jpg
 
Document Center: A site to centrally manage documents.   DocumentCenter.jpg
 
Records Center: This template creates a site designed for records management. Records managers can configure the routing table to direct incoming files to specific locations. The site also lets you manage whether records can be deleted or modified after they are added to the repository.   RecordsCenter.jpg
 
Business Intelligence Center: A site for presenting Business Intelligence content.   BICenter.jpg
 
Enterprise Search Center: A site focused on delivering an enterprise-wide search experience.   SearchCenter.jpg
 
Enterprise Wiki: A site for publishing knowledge that you capture and want to share across the enterprise.   EnterpriseWiki.jpg

 

Skyvera Social, EPM Live, and Bonzai Intranet will offer users a customized version of the site templates mentioned above for easier customization and installation.

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