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Three Uncommon Uses for SharePoint

Many customers come to SharePoint seeking file management or collaboration solutions. However, SharePoint includes a lot of other functionality that many users presume are too complicated to setup or are unaware of. We sat down for a video to discuss and share a few of these underutilized SharePoint features and three areas jumped out at us as overlooked uses for SharePoint that deliver big benefits to organizations of all sizes.

SharePoint As An Enterprise Search Engine
According to research, organizations are wasting 10 percent of their time just searching for files. Today users are accustomed to looking for information in Google or Bing so the idea of using a search engine to find content in SharePoint is very familiar. When a user enters a search term, SharePoint’s search engine will look for the most relevant content based on that term and present those results back to the user. And SharePoint search isn’t just limited to SharePoint content. Users can search content inside or outside of SharePoint. Out of the box, SharePoint search provides a ton of value for organizations just by helping users find the content they are seeking with only minor configuration required. For companies with more specific needs, custom search solutions can be built to fit your specific business needs.

SharePoint As A Social Platform
Social has become so intertwined with all aspects of business. SharePoint’s social features make it possible for you to collaborate in many different ways.  There are many common social features that users would expect like blogs, wikis and discussion lists. But that’s just scratching the surface. Users can also do things like rate a document or add tags to a document to help users discover the most valuable content.

Being able to use SharePoint’s search engine is extremely powerful, but what if you aren’t sure what exactly you are looking for? Most people will ask a friend or colleague and SharePoint’s social capabilities make it easy for you to find and contact the right people to help you with whatever your problem might be. The best part is that SharePoint’s social capabilities are so integrated with the rest of the product’s competencies it is possible to build powerful custom solutions that can take collaboration to an entirely new level.

SharePoint As A Public-Facing Website
SharePoint is well known as an enterprise collaboration tool, but it’s also gaining popularity as a platform for a growing number of public-facing websites. Just about any design you can dream up can be implemented in SharePoint. There are tons of great examples of beautiful websites out on the Internet that are running on SharePoint – and the number is increasing every day! Although SharePoint brings much more to the table than just being able to deliver a pretty site – it is also an enterprise web content management (WCM) platform that enables users to take control of their content and publish it to their users in a controlled way making it easier to manage their site.

Not exactly what you’d think of SharePoint for, right? That’s part of why we’re so passionate about SharePoint. There are so many possible use cases for SharePoint and we’re excited to help you find and deploy the right mix of features and functionality to get the most out of your SharePoint investment. The SharePoint team at Rackspace knows the ins and outs of SharePoint and has helped thousands of customers stand up and tailor SharePoint for very broad use cases and for highly complex, customized solutions.

Join us on LinkedIn to ask questions and learn about some cool ways to get involved like SharePoint Tuesday.

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About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by John Ross.

John has more than eight years of experience implementing solutions for clients ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies as well as government organizations. He has worked with all project phases from analysis to implementation and has been involved with a wide range of SharePoint solutions that include public facing Internet sites, corporate intranets and extranets. In 2009, John was awarded Microsoft’s MVP award for SharePoint Server and is one of 190 people worldwide with this distinction. John is co-author of the books, “Professional SharePoint 2010 Branding and User Interface Design” and “Real World SharePoint 2010: Indispensable Experiences from 23 SharePoint MVPs” from Wrox. Visit his blog at http://johnrossjr.wordpress.com or follow his SharePoint adventures on Twitter at @johnrossjr.


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