Small businesses are usually at a slight disadvantage in whichever industry or market they are in, because they have fewer resources (money, manpower, time, etc.) at their disposal. One of the most effective ways for a small business to optimize their time and organisational efforts is by utilizing tools that make their work easier.
In this day and age, the most effective tools tend to be apps, services or solutions that an organisation can integrate into their workflows. For example, we spoke with a small IT company based in London, TechQuarters, about the benefits of certain apps and services for other small businesses. In particular, they discussed two products that they (and most of their clients) use – Microsoft SharePoint and OneDrive.
Microsoft Cloud Storage
Over the last decade or so, it has become increasingly clear that cloud-based tools are perhaps the most useful solutions for small businesses. According to TechQuarters, who have been providing business IT support London-based small businesses have been using for about 12 years, Microsoft’s two cloud storage products offer a diverse array of functionality. Both OneDrive and SharePoint are included in the Microsoft 365 for Business plan – which comes with Microsoft’s other flagship business apps, like Outlook email, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more. But what do these two cloud products do?
Firstly, let’s look at Microsoft OneDrive. This product is aimed at the individual; OneDrive, when included in any of the Microsoft 365 for Business licenses, offers every user 1TB of cloud storage. This is the primary purpose of the product; it ensures that users can access their documents and other file types from any supported platform (and OneDrive is supported on iOS, iPadOS, Android, macOS, Windows and web) at any time of day. This was especially prudent when Covid-19 meant that most businesses around the world had to go remote, and for small businesses, the accessibility and flexibility means they can operate much more productively.
Within OneDrive, users have a primary cloud drive, within which they can create any number of folders and sub-folders. Essentially, OneDrive can be viewed as an alternative to a PC’s C drive, which is where most people store their documents and personal files. According to TechQuarters, storing personal/work documents and files in OneDrive is much better, as it makes them more accessible, better protected against hardware failures, and it means the C drive of one’s computer is under less strain.
SharePoint is also a cloud-based product that offers storage and file management, however its functionality goes much further than just that. For one thing, SharePoint is not aimed at individual use. Where OneDrive provides a single cloud-based drive for each user, SharePoint works according to sites – a form of digital space that can be used in two key ways. Sites can either be communication sites, or team sites.
A communication site is designed purely for sharing news, stories, and other information. Organisations typically use this type of site as an intranet for the company, as they are ideal for sharing information to a large number of people at once. On the other hand, team sites are geared more towards departments, project teams, and work groups. They are generally used for storing, accessing and co-authoring shared content, and as a repository for information pertaining to a project or other form of shared work.
According to TechQuarters, who are SharePoint provider and provide SharePoint services to a number of clients in the past, SharePoint’s greatest strength lies in its customizability. With the ability to create sub-sites within either of the two main types of site, and the diverse web parts that can be added to a site/subsite, and customized to suit the specific needs of the organization, SharePoint is ideal for creating a rich and comprehensive company portal.