SharePoint has become the linchpin technology solution for businesses around the world. However, despite the fact that SharePoint is highly valuable to enterprises as is, the collaboration software is not a magic wand and cannot run every operation for every company. With the help of add-on features though, SharePoint’s capabilities can be increased dramatically.
In a recent study, Forrester Research discovered that 65% of a 153 SharePoint users surveyed utilized SharePoint add-ons to enhance their original SharePoint software.
Extensions for SharePoint are typically designed in one of three ways:
- They are created in-house
- They are developed by a contractor and/or consultant
- They are implemented by a specialized third-party vendor
Microsoft SharePoint solutions first entered the business market in 2001, however SharePoint 2013 (the most recent version) functions better right “out of the box” compared to the original versions, reducing the amount of add-ons needed to run your business.
Although SharePoint 2013 is the best version released to date, it may still require your business to install add-ons in order to make it a perfect fit for your employees. Chances are this will continue to be the norm since it is much easier to have customizable applications merge with unique, existing business models rather than change your entire enterprise to work with one software solution.
The most commonly used SharePoint add-ons include:
- Social media applications (such as Yammer) to better interact with customers
- Scanning applications for improved document management
- Desktop applications to connect web-based software to office computers or personal laptops
- Mobile applications to run SharePoint on employees’ smartphones
According to Forester Research analyst Rob Koplowitz, 43% of the businesses now using SharePoint extensions expected to use them from the beginning, 40% resorted to extensions after the core SharePoint platform failed to meet their needs, and the remaining 13% didn’t plan on using extensions at all but developed a need for them as their business grew and/or changed.
While being required to implement addition applications to a software suite you’ve purchased for your business may seem like a hassle, this flexibility is actually one of SharePoint’s biggest strengths. If your business strategy changes in the future, you won’t have to purchase a whole new software solution—rather you can just add on what you’ll need to adapt.
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