The SharePoint wheel is actually a graphical representation to show what Microsoft SharePoint can help achieve within organizations. There are 6 main categories of the tools available with SharePoint. These are:
SharePoint allows creating customized sub-sites under a SharePoint site. These sub-sites are commonly known as Sites. Sites may be targeted to a particular department of an organization or a particular user group. Consider a school which implements a SharePoint intranet portal. The school administration can go for individual Sites for each class or every teacher. This will help to create an individual environment for every class and thereby making the best use of SharePoint features.
“Integrated communities” is one of the most attractive features of SharePoint. Communities allow users to share knowledge and information with each other. Communities may involve activities like information sharing, knowledge sharing, content tagging, social networking, content rating, user feedback and many more. Besides this, communities include blogging and wikis for wider espousal. Many enterprises use SharePoint communities to strengthen intra-organizational communication and co-ordination. For example, showcasing profiles of individuals who joined in recently helps the existing employees know more about them. This facilitates better amalgamation of new and existing employees.
One of the most basic but highly important features of SharePoint portals is content management. The extraordinary capabilities of SharePoint while integrating with Microsoft Office tools make it the most preferred option for companies willing to have their own intranet portals. The SharePoint portals are completely CMS based and can be updated by administrator easily. The administrator can add, edit and remove contents from the portal. Besides this, the SharePoint portals are capable of handling documents, images and other multimedia contents. The documents can be shared with specific user groups. The users can update the document. SharePoint is capable of maintaining version wise history of document when more than 1 person is working on the document simultaneously.
Microsoft SharePoint provides extensive search capabilities. The search engine provides extreme support for multi-lingual content. The users can search for content, document, images or people within the portal with the highly powerful search engine. This is the reason why SharePoint is considered as solid platform for building search-driven web applications.
The SharePoint 2010 was developed with the basic thought of enabling it to integrate natively with other products and services provided by Microsoft like Excel, Access, Visio, PowerPivot, Performance Point, SQL Server, Reporting services and many more.
SharePoint 2010 enables developing highly customized solutions by integrating existing pieces of applications developed separately. These may be external software or external data connectivity. SharePoint portals are capable of fetching external data from third party applications like CRM’s and ERP’s thereby allowing the company to work on a single application for all enterprise needs. This feature makes SharePoint development a handy task for developers as well. This is yet another reason behind the success of SharePoint as a preferred choice for intranet and extranet portals.