5 useful features of the cloud and SharePoint Online

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The reasons why organizations decide to move to Office 365 in the cloud are varied. The benefits however, are the same. More flexibility, better scalability, lower overheads, improved mobility and immediate access to the latest versions of solutions. And at the heart of office 365 is SharePoint Online.

While the cloud in general provides your organization with a lighter and more flexible infrastructure, let’s look at some of the specific features SharePoint Online in particular bring to the table. Here we have compiled five useful features of using SharePoint in the cloud.

If you would like to know the latest features, as well as those coming further down the line, the Office 365 roadmap is a great place to look. Below, we share five great features that are available right now, for users of SharePoint Online in Office 365.

1.      Connection to Microsoft Teams

Teams is a chat-based workspace in Office 365 that combines people, correspondence and content to enable a more productive collaboration experience for your employees. One of the best things about Teams is its integration with other Office tools and solutions, including SharePoint Online. When you generate a new team it automatically creates a SharePoint team site. This makes it easy for members of the new team to access files shared within a single, shared SharePoint document library.  

2.      Delve and Office Graph power in your document management

Essentially, Delve is a smart interface to your SharePoint search engine. In fact, it’s so smart that it finds our content for us before we even ask. If you think about one of the central pillars of SharePoint—document management—the ability to find what we are looking for is essential. This might not make much sense to you if your organization is a two-person operation passing several documents between you each day, but if you are a small to mid-size company (or bigger) where you generate hundreds of files a day and thousands a week, then being able to locate the right work at the right time is essential. Delve logs data across Office 365—who is creating, viewing, clicking or editing what—and Office Graph does all the heavy lifting, enabling your employees to find the answers to their questions.

3.      Mobile document management

A fresh twist on an old classic. Speaking of document management, how about all the great benefits of document management in SharePoint Online on your mobile device? That really means anywhere-access to your work. The drive towards mobility and flexibility in the enterprise can’t be stressed enough. Microsoft themselves have practically transformed their fortunes based on a pivot towards a mobile-first outlook. It’s no wonder, then, that SharePoint in the cloud was going to be a big winner from the beginning. When it comes to any kind of business platform on a mobile, user interface is essential. With the SharePoint Online mobile app, you can view your Sites on the Sites tab, as well as the Links tab that takes you to sites and portals that everyone in your organization is seeing and using. The People tab gives you visibility into what the people you work with are working on, as well as who else they are working with.

4.      Easier external user access

If you run an on-premises SharePoint environment and want to share your SharePoint content with users outside the environment’s domain, you’ve probably run into some problems. That’s because there isn’t an out-of-the-box method for doing so. You could extend the content Web Application, configure Forms Authentication and have your developer set up an ASP.NET page which would manage credentials for the Forms Web Application. There are several other methods to share external access but they are equally time-consuming and take work to maintain.

On the other hand, granting external access in SharePoint Online is easy. Your users can share sites, folders, and individual documents with external users by connecting a Microsoft account to their company e-mail address. It’s just as simple to create Guest Links, which give Read or Edit permissions without the need for authentication – these can also be withdrawn at any time.

5.      Free up space with OneDrive for Business

OneDrive for Business is simple, straightforward and powerful online document storage. It provides your employees with a vast amount of space (1TB) to store their personal files and it doesn’t count against your overall SharePoint Online storage capacity, either. It’s essentially a personal site where they can sync and share, collaborate on documents with both internal and external users, and access their content from any device. It also combines with other Office tools to provide a rich, productive and holistic experience. What’s more, it can be controlled by your SharePoint admins so if an employee should leave the organization, important documents aren’t lost. 

The future, now

No longer will you have to wait several years for the next full update of your current SharePoint iteration. By migrating to Office 365 with a tool like Sharegate, you will have immediate access to a host of business productivity solutions including SharePoint Online and the most up to date features, including those above. Your employees and teams can take advantage of the cutting-edge technology, enabling a higher level of productivity and a better ROI

writtten by Gabrielle Lafontaine - Sharegate