Sadly, around 50 percent of small businesses fail within five years. But there are practical ways to protect your business. One way is by finding the right business intranet. And because SharePoint leads the intranet market, we want to tell you about the benefits of SharePoint for small business.
Why is an intranet important for SMEs?
You might be wondering what difference an intranet can really make to your bottom line. Or you might have heard someone say that SharePoint is “just file sharing software”. But this attitude doesn’t gel with the fact that over 200,000 businesses use SharePoint worldwide.
In our 30 years of intranet experience, we’ve found that SharePoint is a cost-effective way of streamlining many business processes. That means squeezing more value out of every staff member, every hour of the week. And it doesn’t take a maths degree to grasp how that will help your business prosper.
SharePoint implementation case study
Delivering a SharePoint Online intranet
A technology company engaged Influential Software to redevelop its intranet in SharePoint Online. As a result, staff were able to communicate more effectively and better serve the company’s customers.
Top 5 benefits of SharePoint for small business
So how exactly does SharePoint address the challenges faced by small businesses? As a Microsoft Gold Partner with extensive SharePoint experience, we’ve highlighted five major benefits of SharePoint for small business below.
1. Meeting GDPR compliance rules
Every business holds some form of sensitive data, whether it’s related to staff or to customers. Without an automated solution, most SMEs will be swamped by the technical and time-consuming data protection requirements. And then you risk breaking data compliance laws.
However, Microsoft has taken great care to ensure SharePoint meets GDPR rules. Users have granular control over which data is held, where, and for how long. You can also use SharePoint to automate the expiration of data that should be held for only a certain time.
2. Helping staff find documents quickly
Checklists, guides, forms, invoices, and inventories — even a small business amasses a lot of important documents over time. However, they are useless if your employees can’t find them.
When that happens, people will start saving copies on their hard drives. Then you’ll have multiple versions floating around. And then nobody will know which is the original.
SharePoint has a powerful search function that even corrects for spelling mistakes. When your staff can find everything in one place, the temptation to save copies will disappear. You’ll have a single source of truth that everyone can rely on.
3. Solving document versioning issues
There’s nothing worse than perfecting a document and then discovering that your version wasn’t up to date. Before intranet solutions like SharePoint, companies had to manually keep track of document versions. And there was no way to easily link those versions or switch between them.
By automatically saving and linking all versions of a document, SharePoint solves this collaboration challenge. Multiple people can work on a document and see everyone’s changes in real time.
4. Onboarding new staff securely
There are times when you might want to let someone access only certain documents. This could be a potential new member of staff or a freelancer engaged on a specific project. One option is to email documents back and forth, but that isn’t fast or transparent.
SharePoint answers this need by allowing customised external access. You can give new hires or freelancers permission to view or edit a particular file or folder on your intranet. Any changes will reach you in real time, with no risk of them accessing information outside the permissions you’ve granted.
5. Enabling a flexible workforce
It’s becoming mainstream for companies to allow some remote work. And as this trend grows further, businesses with no remote work capacity will be at a disadvantage. You’ll have a smaller talent pool to choose from, and staff retention may suffer.
We’ve written before about how intranets boost the productivity of remote workers. Being mobile-friendly and accessible through any web browser, SharePoint certainly fits the bill.