SharePoint Online (SPO) is the major enterprise content management tool that comes as part of the Microsoft’s Office 365 ecosystem. SPO provides document and data management tools, intranet websites, and a built-in search engine.
SPO is organized by sites, lists, and items. SPO sites are generally used to create intranets and manage team collaboration. SPO integrates fully with Office Online, the web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, which all support co-authoring (simultaneous editing) by multiple users.
SPO is organized by sites and site collections. Sites can have child and grandchild sites to create a tree or family of sites. There are multiple types of sites and site templates, including Team Sites, Communication Sites, and Hub Sites.
Sites provide lists and document libraries, which can be used to organize data and files in a strategic way. SPO provides multiple list templates, including calendars, task lists, contact lists, surveys, and more. Document libraries provide version history, co-authoring, metadata, and the ability to sync files locally for offline use.
SPO can be a powerful tool out-of-the-box and can also be customized to provide higher-order solutions for specific customers. For example, complex taxonomies can be used to organized content and improve search, content types can be used to provide templates for documents, and basic workflows can automate certain tasks.
SPO can be accessed via almost any browser from almost any device and a SharePoint mobile app is available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
- Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote) are built in to SPO through Office Online. Create new Office documents directly in a library or create new files in the desktop app and save or upload to SPO.
- SPO is similar to OneDrive for Business (OD4B). OD4B is built off SharePoint technology and each user receives a OD4B for hosting personal, draft, and ad hoc files before they need to be shared with teammates in SPO. SPO actually uses the OD4B sync client to sync SPO files to your hard drive. SPO and OD4B play a major part in the document lifecycle, including how documents are created, developed, published, and maintained.
- SPO is the file management tool behind all Office 365 Groups including Outlook Groups, Yammer Feeds, and Teams Teams. Every Group receives a SharePoint Team Site automatically and files surfaced in those apps are stored in the default document library of the site.
- SPO Task Lists can be synced with Microsoft Project files, giving project team members access to the tasks, dates, and resources of an MPP file without risking its integrity. This minimizes the need for expensive Microsoft Project licenses and the seemingly ever-present and poorly formatted PDF Gantt chart for those users without licenses.
- SPO has file type and naming restrictions you should be aware of.
- SPO has file size and usage restrictions you should be aware of.
Content in SPO is security-trimmed, meaning only those with permissions can access any given content. Content can be shared with colleagues that are internal to your organization or with external contacts, presuming the administrator has enabled external sharing.
SPO comes with numerous security and compliance credentials, which system administrators generally review before going live with an SPO system.
- SharePoint Online Video Training, [Microsoft]
- SharePoint Tools overview [jumpto365]
- Greg Zelfond's blog [SharePoint Maven]
- Document lifecycle in OneDrive & SharePoint [jumpto365 infographic]
- Version history in SharePoint [jumpto365 blog]
- SharePoint posts on the Office Blog
- SharePoint Space on Microsoft TechCommunity
- SharePoint Look Book - Site and page design inspiration
- SharePoint on Twitter
- Security and Compliance in SharePoint
- Google Drive (collaboration)
- Google Sites (intranet websites)
- Matt Wade, Office Services MVP