SharePoint is an extensive application platform created by Microsoft. It started off as an Intranet collaboration tool that enabled users to manage content, files and documents. As it has evolved over the years, it added more functionality to become an all-purpose tool for businesses looking to create Intranet portals, social networks, file management systems, websites and more. SharePoint has adoption numbers of 20,000 users per day from all sizes of businesses, Dice reports. Some users argue that it's not a matter of if you should get SharePoint for your business, but how you want to deploy it.
Since SharePoint is such a complex software, chances are good you're not going to need all its components. Installation, deployment and configuration of SharePoint can be a complicated procedure. Microsoft recommends deploying after carefully planning your configuration and phasing the deployment so you can evaluate and observe whether there are any problems. If you're already overburdened with IT responsibilities, handling a massive deployment of specialized software might not fit into your available time. If you go with SharePoint Hosting at MyHosting.com or another provider, you get the benefits of SharePoint without a lot of the time-consuming launch downsides.
Don't try to install and configure SharePoint if you don't have the experience to understand what you're doing. In most cases, a company using SharePoint is only going to deploy that software every major release cycle. Going with a hosting company that offers SharePoint, however, puts your deployment in the hands of people who do this every day. They have first-hand experience with the configuration options, problems and nuances of installing this software.
The specific system requirements for SharePoint depend on exactly how you're going to end up using the software. Generally, you're looking at at a server with a minimum of 8 gigs of RAM, four 64-bit cores and 80 gigs of hard drive space. The requirements go up as you add additional users or search capability and as you use multi-tier server farms. If you don't have all that on hand, going with a hosted SharePoint option takes the hardware purchasing onus off of you. You don't have to worry about requisitioning new servers, finding the proper space to set them up or explaining to management why you can't just throw SharePoint on any old server laying around. Your server also needs Windows 2008 Server R2 at a minimum for the operating system, with additional requirements, such as Microsoft SQL Server 2012, if you're using a database server.
Another benefit of hosting your SharePoint installation is that you get to enjoy managed hosting. Instead of having your IT department update, maintain and handle other support issues with SharePoint, the host does it for you. This frees up your IT department to administrate SharePoint and use the tool and for other tasks that are more valuable uses of their time. You don't have to worry about calling someone in to work at the middle of the night because the servers went down, as the host provides 24/7 monitoring and uptime guarantees with the service. It's just one way to lower some of the stress you often encounter in the IT world.
Has your business used hosted SharePoint software? Tell us your tips in the comments.
Lawrence Feldman manages a small tech company and works as a freelancer when he's not taking MBA classes.