Collaboration is significant for companies as it increases the efficiency of business processes and fosters employees’ engagement. This explains why companies are looking for relevant platforms and tools. 

SharePoint is a popular corporate software with strong functionality for collaboration, as well as content and project management. 

Let’s take a look at how to use SharePoint to make your teams more productive and the entire business more efficient.

What is enterprise collaboration?

First, it is important to distinguish cooperation and collaboration because one doesn’t involve the other. Collaboration implies teamwork, synergy, and shared results in the form of the idea or project.

The concept of enterprise collaboration comprises both the corporate culture of behavior and software used to enable communication among employees. 

The following three levels make up the concept of collaboration.

  • Structural. This level covers the collaborative roles and responsibilities of employees.
  • System. This level covers the way processes are set up in the team or company.
  • Interactional. This level covers communication among employees.

What can make enterprise collaboration inefficient?

Several problems can make employee collaboration less effective, even if the company emphasizes its importance:

  • Selective application

In some cases, employers use collaboration as an instrument for one project, rather than as a company-wide strategy, when all team members know how to work together.

  • Individual focus

Sometimes only individuals are rewarded for the success of the entire team. This lack of recognition leads to a lower collaboration level.

  • Loss of close connection

The more employees the company has, the more difficult it is to build a productive collaboration environment. It is about the synergy of departments, not just employers. 

  • Discrepancy between the used tools 

Employees from different departments can work with various collaborative tools or use too many of them which leads to the duplication of data and disorganization of workflows. 

On the other side, employees can ignore particular collaboration tools and miss crucial project info.

How can SharePoint match the three-level structure?

Let’s take a closer look at how SharePoint fits into the three-level structure of enterprise collaboration.

Structural level

SharePoint is about open collaboration. SharePoint-driven intranets can be used to create a centralized environment for collaboration and connect team members, working groups, and departments. SharePoint tools support collaboration around projects, as well as allow managing the roles of employees. Roles can be assigned automatically based on employees’ profiles and involve certain levels of interaction with documents, such as the ability to view, edit, or create.

System level

SharePoint integrates well with various business systems and productivity tools. If you work with a data management system based on SharePoint, you can automatically extract the necessary information without reprinting. 

If you change the information in the CRM liked to your intranet, the changes are automatically pulled into the SharePoint platform and vice versa. 

SharePoint can be used to create a knowledge base and build different types of document management processes. The platform also allows tracking all user activities in the digital environment of the company, which can be critical if you abide by federal regulations, such as SOX, HIPAA, or GLBA. Also, you can automatically delete documents when they expire.

Interactional level

SharePoint includes a lot of default tools for communication and giving feedback fast, such as live chats, blogs, wikis, and surveys. It helps companies create a practice of open discussions and increases motivation, loyalty, and productivity.

How to enable enterprise collaboration using SharePoint?

You can use SharePoint in several ways to build a good framework for employee collaboration.

Structural blocks

A structural block is represented by different types of sites.

  • Team sites help working groups to plan activity, track task status, and share ideas.
  • Communication sites are designed for communication between all employees. It is a useful tool for delivering public information.
  • Hub-sites connect individual project or department sites with each other so they can share navigation and visual design patterns.

Functional blocks

Functional blocks include the essential features for company cooperation:

  • File storage. You can use up to 25 TB for a group of sites.
  • Content management. It helps to manage and organize texts, images, audio, and video content into special libraries and lists with metadata. Also, it offers a new level of cooperation, mixed reality technology (SharePoint Spaces), in those areas where it is necessary.
  • Automation of work. SharePoint allows automating collaboration workflows with the help of different instruments, for example, notification of data expiration.
  • Communication. There are discussion boards, blogs, and forums in SharePoint, where users can communicate and exchange ideas. As SharePoint is integrated with Office 365, you can also use Yammer, Microsoft Teams, or other collaboration tools. 

Should you use SharePoint?

SharePoint can help enterprises make employee collaboration more efficient and seamless. It has enough features to cover both basic and advanced business requirements; however, like any powerful platform, it can’t fit the needs of any company by default. That is why it is better to turn to a professional software development team to tailor the built-in functionality to your unique business processes.