What is SharePoint and How it Works?

SharePoint is a document management and a web-based collaborative platform that integrates with Microsoft office. It helps companies manage documents, archives, reports and other content that is needed for the business process. SharePoint is highly configurable and it’s usage varies among the various organisations. SharePoint was launched in 2001.


According to Microsoft, SharePoint has 190 million users across 200,000 customer organizations.

There are different edition of SharePoint which have different functions.

Read also: How to Compress Power Point File

What is SharePoint server?

SharePoint server is used in an organisation that takes control over SharePoint’s behavior or design. It is installed on customer’s IT infrastructure. It has access to a wider set of features and customization capabilities.

There are three editions of SharePoint server:

Standard, Enterprise and Foundation. Foundation was discontinues in 2016.

1. SharePoint Standard

Microsoft SharePoint Standard builds on the Microsoft SharePoint Foundation in a few key product areas.

  • Audience targeting, governance tools, Secure store service, web analytics functionality.
  • ‘MySites’, enterprise wikis, organization hierarchy browser, tags and notes.
  • Improved tooling and compliance for document & record management, managed metadata, word automation services, content type management.
  • Better search results, search customization abilities, mobile search.
  • Pre-built workflow templates, Business Connectivity Services (BCS) profile pages.

SharePoint Standard licensing includes a CAL (client access license) component and a server fee. You can also license SharePoint Standard through a cloud model.

2. SharePoint Enterprise

Microsoft SharePoint Enterprise features can be unlocked by providing an additional license key.

There are some extra features in SharePoint Enterprise:

  • Search thumbnails and previews, rich web indexing, better search results.
  • Business intelligence integration, dashboards, and business data surfacing.
  • Power Pivot and Performance Point.
  • Microsoft Office Access, Visio, Excel, and Info Path Forms services.
  • SharePoint Enterprise Search extensions.

SharePoint Enterprise licensing includes a CAL component and a server fee that must be purchased in addition to SharePoint Server licensing. You can also license SharePoint Enterprise through a cloud model.

What is SharePoint Online?

Microsoft’s hosted SharePoint is typically included in Microsoft Office 365 subscriptions, but can be purchased outright. In SharePoint Online there is no need to maintain your own server, but you will not get customization option as in a self-hosted installation of SharePoint.

It is limited to a core set of collaboration, file hosting, and document and content management scenarios, and is updated on a frequent basis, but is typically comparable with SharePoint Enterprise.

These are the additional capabilities include:

  • Support for SharePoint Framework extensions
  • New “Modern” (Responsive) SharePoint UX .
  • Yammer Integration & Office 365 Groups
  • Integration with Outlook Web App
  • Newer versions of Online Office Document Editor Tools
  • Removal of various file size/number limitations
  • Apps Concept

Applications of SharePoint

Various organisations uses SharePoint in various forms. The product encloses a wide variety of capabilities, most of which require configuration and governance.

The most common uses of the SharePoint are:

Enterprise Content and Document Management

SharePoint allows for storage, retrieval, searching, archiving, tracking, management, and reporting on electronic documents and records. Many of the functions in this product are designed around various legal, information management, and process requirements in organizations. SharePoint also provides search and ‘graph’ functionality. SharePoint’s integration with Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office allow for collaborative real-time editing, and encrypted/information rights managed synchronization.

This capability is often used to replace an existing corporate file server, and is typically coupled with an enterprise content management policy.

Intranet and Social Network

A SharePoint intranet or intranet portal is a way to centralize access to enterprise information and applications. It is a tool that helps an organization manage its internal communications, applications and information more easily. Microsoft claims that this has organizational benefits such as increased employee engagement, centralizing process management, reducing new staff on-boarding costs, and providing the means to capture and share implied knowledge.

Collaborative Software

SharePoint contains team collaboration groupware capabilities, including: project scheduling (integrated with Outlook and Project), social collaboration, shared mailboxes, and project related document storage and collaboration. Groupware in SharePoint is based around the concept of a “Team Site”.

File Hosting Service

SharePoint Server hosts OneDrive for Business, which allows storage and synchronization of an individual’s personal documents, as well as public/private file sharing of those documents. This is typically combined with other Microsoft Office Servers/Services such as Microsoft Exchange, to produce a “personal cloud”,

This capability is often compared to services like Box or Dropbox.

Custom Web Applications

SharePoint’s custom development capabilities provide an additional layer of services that allow rapid prototyping of integrated web applications. SharePoint provides developers with integration into corporate directories and data sources through standards such as REST/OData/OAuth. Enterprise application developers use SharePoint’s security and information management capabilities across a variety of development platforms and scenarios. SharePoint also contains an enterprise “app store” that has different types of external applications which are encapsulated and managed to access to resources such as corporate user data and document data.

Read also: How to Open XPS Files on Windows and Mac


In this article we learn about the concept of SharePoint. We also understood the edition of SharePoint and it’s application in various organisation. If you like this article, don’t forget to share it. Thank you.

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