So you have SharePoint. You acquired it through a package you purchased with other Microsoft products, or you heard about it from someone and decided to stand it up and see what it can do. Either way you spent some time, resources and much-needed network capacity to put this in place.  Now what? That’s a question many organizations ask, and if you’re not asking this question you’re probably still using Sharepoint wrong. Let me explain why.

Many of the organizations I’ve spent some time with have SharePoint. Most have the Foundations version and have no idea why they would pay for the Enterprise license. Foundations is still a strong version and can be utilized to reduce company expenditures on other vendors for products such as hosting your intranet or conducting surveys, as a few examples. I’ve seen this time and time again.  A company has an external vendor that hosts its intranet. The design elements are minimal and the cost associated with development of a product that can integrate with the organizations email client or other applications can be costly.  Why would you spend that time and money when you have the capabilities and product sitting on your network not being utilized to its minimal potential? SharePoint can be your front-facing intranet/extranet site. It can be your employee daily landing page with links to tools, web-hosted applications, announcements, statistics, documents, pictures, knowledge, reports, presentations, surveys, and more.

Think about it for a moment: You probably have a team portal setup for each department or some of your departments.  It’s probably a basic SharePoint template with an Announcement section, Document Repository, Calendar, maybe a fancy logo and a tab at the top to go to the parent site. If this sounds like you, then you’re using Sharepoint wrong.  Remember, SharePoint’s a tool that has many capabilities.

With the basic features offered through SharePoint Designer and the default page and web part templates, you can customize each portal, page and web part to fit many of your business needs without spending money on development.  You don’t need a web developer to manipulate multiple lines of code to embed a video on your page or customize the layout.  You can assign rights to individual teams and with little training they can be off and running on their own – now designing portals specific to their function and needs. I’m not saying go and fire your web developers.  I am saying you can utilize the functionality of SharePoint so your web developers can focus on other projects. You can code pages in SharePoint and design web applications, custom API calls and external facing sites.  So keep those web developers around.

Now that I have you thinking about what you can use SharePoint for, let’s talk about why you might consider the Enterprise license. The first thing I think of when someone asks about the Enterprise license is Workflows. Workflows can be designed to do many, many, many, many automated things. Let’s say you have a employee-engagement survey.  You want to know how your employees feel about the organization or an application that just went live.  You use SharePoint and create a really cool survey that changes the questions based on the previous answers, then take that information and add it to a live, up-to-the-minute graph on your main page. How do you do that? Answer: Workflow.

Maybe you have a form that needs to be filled out, and when someone submits the form, an email needs to be sent to a group for review. How do you do that? Answer: Workflow.  If you haven’t already guessed why the Enterprise license is useful, the answer is: Workflows.

Another thing that comes to mind when someone asks about the Enterprise License is MS Office integration. Yes, I said it. MS Office Integration. It delivers the ability to collaborate on those projects or documents right through SharePoint, or create awesome Visio diagrams on your main page.  Maybe you really wanted to use an Access Database for something and need to easily query the results in a list. I’m here to tell you that SharePoint Enterprise license has MS Office integration.

A few other features you’ll miss without the Enterprise License include business intelligence, robust search features, custom social-media-style profile pages, more design elements, scorecards, dashboards and a better mobile experience.  All versions of SharePoint have Android and IOS support, however, I’ve found the Enterprise version has more features for navigation that work better with the mobile devices.

If you’re not already preparing a use case for SharePoint, and an argument for why you should upgrade your license, then you really should get out there on the Internet and browse some additional topics.  Check out what other companies are talking about.  Really think hard about why you have this product in your environment you’re not doing anything with. There are many resources available to help you start your SharePoint journey.  Why not start it today?

Art work provided by John Norris

Senior Consultant @ TxMQ –
ITIL V3 Certified Service Management Expert –
SharePoint Admin –
“Car Guy”

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