Because SharePoint in Microsoft 365 can do so many things, it’s often misunderstood. Some companies don’t fully utilize the app because they’re just not sure exactly how to use it. But if you take advantage of this versatile cloud solution, you can boost efficiency, improve communication, and create some very helpful automated workflows. Singapore SMEs who take advantage of digital transformation expect to see average revenue gains of 26%.
Some people see SharePoint as another type of file storage, similar to OneDrive. While others see it as a way to make a company intranet. While it can do both those things, it also includes automated workflows and ways to harness collective company knowledge. If you think you may be missing out and not taking full advantage of SharePoint, read on for some practical ways you can increase efficiency using this flexile application.
Using SharePoint for Workflows, Dynamic File Sharing & More
From tapping into SharePoint’s built-in workflows to creating a “self-serve” site for vendor forms, you can find multiple time-saving optimizations in this app. Here are just a few that can streamline your business processes.
Automate Document Approval
One of the built-in workflow automation that SharePoint has is for document approval. Approval processes can often cause a bottleneck, as documents sit in email inboxes waiting to get approved. People can also get busy and forget to send an item onto the next step. SharePoint’s document approval workflow automates the process, doing the reminders for you. It moves the document to each person in the review process once the last one has signed off.
Create a “Self-Serve” Information Environment
Every day in offices, people are sending the same information out over and over again. It might be a vendor approval form that procurement has to email regularly to companies or an employee vacation schedule and time-off form that the HR department gets asked for at least twice a week. By using a SharePoint communication site to host this type of information, people can download what they need themselves without having to ask someone, saving time for them and the department that has to supply the information. SharePoint communication sites can be internal or external, so you can make one for vendors and customers or for employees and internal use only.
Create Sharable and Dynamic Lists
Trying to keep a central list of contacts, vendors, or issue tracking can get complicated. Sending spreadsheets back and forth is time-consuming and you can run into issues knowing which copy is the most updated. Using the lists feature in SharePoint you can create web-hosted lists that are dynamic, always up to date, and accessible to anyone in your company that you’ve shared them with. Some of the common types of SharePoint lists include:
- Issue Tracking
- Customer List
Lists can also be connected to workflows. For example, if you have a vendor application form in an approval process workflow, you can have the last step after the final approval be to automatically add the vendor’s form information to your SharePoint vendor list.
Create a Collective Company Knowledgebase
The longer employees are with a company, the more they know just from experience. The shipping department head may know that three years ago you tried XYZ company for shipping but had costly problems with damages. Once that person leaves, that knowledge might be lost, and a few years later a new person might try that same company again, not knowing the history. This is an example of how creating a collective company knowledge base can improve your operations and efficiency. SharePoint team and communication sites can be set up like a corporate Wiki that’s organized by department and can capture things that may not be in a corporate manual.
Track Customer Tickets or Tasks with a 3-State Workflow
Another built-in workflow in SharePoint can be used for tracking customer tickets or tasks being done for a project. This workflow automatically tracks these three states:
- Ready for Review
The automation will create a task for the first person in the chain. Once that task is completed, the system moves the item to the next stage and creates the next task for the next responsible party to ensure the workflow keeps moving forward.
Use SharePoint to Enable Department Collaboration
Most internal departments will have certain information they share regularly and files that they are collectively working on. Connecting for planning and co-authoring and sharing department files can be much more efficient with SharePoint. The system is set up so that files are only seen by the approved department members. Instead of having to continually email back and forth, members can use their own website that hosts files, lists, links, and other department-related assets.
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