Often described as a content management system and a collaboration suite, SharePoint could also be called an integrated knowledge-management platform. SharePoint includes features that help organizations:
Organizations can also use SharePoint as a foundation for creating customized solutions that meet their unique collaboration and communication needs. These customizations might include enabling or disabling out-of-the-box features; plugging in free software extensions created by Microsoft and third-party developers; and even developing new SharePoint extensions.
Here are just a few ways that SharePoint could help a nonprofit or library:
Let's look at what's new in SharePoint 2010:
With previous versions of SharePoint, users had to update their SharePoint sites using Internet Explorer or SharePoint-compatible applications such as Microsoft Office or SharePoint Designer. Now you have more options when it comes to web browsers: SharePoint 2010 supports recent versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari.
Office Mobile includes SharePoint Workspace Mobile. This allows users to edit Office documents and then save them back to their organization's SharePoint site using a mobile device. Office Mobile comes bundled free with recent Windows phones.
SharePoint 2010 approaches social networking as a vehicle for organizational collaboration and productivity. For example, SharePoint lets anyone in the organization add tags and notes to any page on the intranet, turning the entire internal website into a collaboration tool. SharePoint 2010 also provides the ability to set up tools such as blogs, wikis, and RSS feeds.
New social networking features in SharePoint 2010 include an improved user profile page, a dynamic activity feed, a central picture library, and knowledge mining.
Findability is a term coined by information architect and usability expert Peter Morville to describe how easy it is for users to locate and access information resources on a website or other information-management system.
With SharePoint 2010, Microsoft has substantially improved findability, especially in metadata and enterprise search:
Now that you have a broad vision for what SharePoint can do in a nonprofit or library setting, it's time to understand the differences between each edition.
The main editions are the free, standard, and enterprise editions.
For more information, see TechSoup's Guide to SharePoint Server Editions and Licensing and Microsoft's detailed comparison of features.
Learn more about this and other SharePoint Server 2010 learning resources from this companion blog post.
Special thanks to Willow Cook for her contribution to this article.
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