SharePoint is a common workplace tool that works well for some businesses, but it leaves many mid-size and enterprise businesses shaking their heads in frustration as they try to navigate the ins and outs of the offering — a process that takes time, productivity and ultimately money away from the core business operation.
If you're considering SharePoint online as a file storage and team collaboration tool for your business, be sure to do your research first. There's plenty to learn about implementing SharePoint, including its extensive customization requirements before you make the investment.
We've listed out some of the core pros and cons for using SharePoint, as well as adding some tips to make collaboration, workflow automation, and document management easier for you and your team.
Advantages of Using SharePoint
While SharePoint can be complicated, it certainly has its advantages—especially for those who know how to use it effectively.
Here are some of the top advantages of using SharePoint:
- Diverse features: SharePoint has the flexibility to get a lot of things done, including file management, security and asset library management.
- Multi-tiered price point: Microsoft offers users the option to access SharePoint at a price that reflects the size and status of their organization.
- Integrations: SharePoint integrates with a variety of CRM and ERP systems.
- Customization: End users can customize SharePoint to create a comprehensive solution that adequately meets the needs of their business. Working with a developer, you can essentially tweak SharePoint to create a fully-customized Intranet solution.
Disadvantages of Using SharePoint
Unfortunately, while SharePoint does have its advantages, it has just as many disadvantages. We've outlined some of the most frustrating ones below:
- Customization is almost always required: Although the ability to customize SharePoint to suit your needs can be advantageous, for most companies, customization is required to ensure SharePoint can meet basic requirements, and often if customization is required, then this effort quickly becomes complex, time-consuming, and expensive.
- Not user-friendly: SharePoint can be difficult to use, especially for non-technical business users. In fact, according to a recent study, two-thirds of organizations using SharePoint report low employee adoption rates because the platform is so difficult to use and understand.
- Ongoing maintenance is necessary: To keep SharePoint at an operational level, it requires regular tweaks and updates to the software itself, and to any customizations that have been made to it. These updates usually require technical expertise and as such, many companies that utilize SharePoint see the need to maintain an in-house SharePoint team or on-going external professional. This human capital cost is usually unexpected and unplanned for by most. The result is a larger cost impact to the original budgeted project.
- Features can be difficult to navigate: SharePoint may come with an extensive range of features but for most, that makes for a confusing and tangled web of ways to use the platform and a lot of frustration for those who choose to try untangling it.
- Integrations are complicated: When it comes to SharePoint integrations, it's not as simple as entering a password and waiting for the magic to happen. Instead, it takes technical prowess to get SharePoint to work with the other programs and applications that are important to your business processes and operations.
The hidden costs associated with operating SharePoint are so extreme for most businesses that it's important to highlight this disadvantage specifically. It's not uncommon for companies to sign up for the platform at $5 or $10 per seat per month and think that's the end of it. Unfortunately there's a whole string of operational costs that go along with using the platform.
- Implementation: Most end users can't install and set up SharePoint on their own. Instead, they need to hire SharePoint consultants to help deploy the program, set up integrations and determine exactly what customizations are necessary to make it meet business needs.
- Customization: SharePoint was never meant to be an out-of-the-box solution. Microsoft developed SharePoint to be a customizable platform for partners to sell services to companies to build file management portals, websites and more. Building out the platform to suit your discrete requirements is a laborious process that requires a high level of expertise which most users simply don't possess.
- Maintenance: Once you’ve managed to achieve what you set out to do with SharePoint, the updates and security fixes mean you'll be making changes to it regularly. Updates often affect the way customizations operate so when they occur, it's usually necessary to make additional tweaks to keep the platform operating within the scope of requirements you originally implemented. In almost all cases you’ll need the assistance of IT professionals with SharePoint domain expertise.
- Employee training: Your team will unlikely know how to use SharePoint once it's implemented and that means putting time and effort into employee training. You can hire professionals to provide hands-on training, or you can opt to provide your employees with an online SharePoint course. Either way, you'll be on the hook for training fees, as well as the cost of paying your employees to participate in the training.
- Employee error: Depending on your industry, employee error can be a costly mistake. While employees are learning how to navigate SharePoint, it's often best to budget for unproductive downtime.
Choosing the CentricMinds Intranet Platform
SharePoint has a lot to offer but as highlighted, it's not an out-of-the-box solution. As such it's important to consider the added cost and investment of time that comes with implementing it as an Intranet platform.
If you’re looking for a reliable and cost-effective SharePoint alternative with 10x more features and functionality out-of-the-box, then CentricMinds offers an end-to-end Intranet software solution for mid-sizes and enterprise organizations. The key highlights include:
- Seamless integrations: CentricMinds can be integrated with a range of other productivity tools, including Google Workspace, Microsoft Teams, Salesforce and much more. Best of all, integrations are easy and they don't require an IT professional to setup and configure.
- Streamlined document management: Keep your documents, photos, videos and files all in one central location with easy, customizable navigation tools.
- Automated workflows: Automate simple tasks like document approval and forms with the click of a button—no code required!
- Communication and collaboration: Broadcast announcements, share news with teams, and chat one-on-one with native collaboration and communication tools.
- Secured cloud storage: Keep your content secure by hosting CentricMinds within your very own dedicated cloud.