Since its inception as an intranet portal for employees, Microsoft SharePoint has evolved to become more than just a document management tool in recent years.
Its latest iteration, SharePoint Online, is now part of Office 365 for Business and has been bolstered with a host of corporate social networking features that Microsoft picked up from its acquisition of the enterprise social network Yammer last year.
In addition, companies can now use a range of apps in SharePoint Online. The Access app, for instance, makes it easy to create an Access database to power a website.
In this overview, we take you through some noteworthy features in SharePoint Online.
New to SharePoint Online is Newsfeed, a Facebook-style social networking feature that lets employees of an organisation view and "like" one another's status updates, share videos and comment on posts. Hash tags and @mentions are supported too.
In addition, you can track a document by following it.
SharePoint will then notify you when there are changes to that document. Microsoft has also built Newsfeed apps for Windows Phone and iOS devices that you can use to stay connected with colleagues.
Microsoft OneNote is a great note-taker that project teams can use to record minutes of meetings and sketches or diagrams of ideas.
You can insert images, capture screenshots and even record voice annotations in OneNote notebooks.
With SharePoint, you can share these notebooks with others on your SharePoint team site, which is commonly used as an intranet site for colleagues to access documents related to a specific project.
With Office 365 for Business, you can now connect your SharePoint site's calendar and contact list with Outlook. This is particularly useful if you spend a lot of time in Microsoft Outlook and want to see your team's calendar alongside your personal information.
Best of all, you can search and edit SharePoint content offline without an Internet connection and then synchronise the content with SharePoint once the connection is restored.
However, SharePoint calendars and contact lists are not enabled by default. You or the site administrator will need to install the Calendar and Contacts apps through SharePoint's Site Contents.