Available to: Faculty, Researchers, Staff, Departments (Requests for student use, e.g., for research or sites for student organizations, must be made by faculty or staff.)
Cost: No charge
- See Getting Started, below.
Microsoft SharePoint is a web-based collaboration service for groups of all sizes – from two to the enterprise. Individuals, groups, and departments may request and then manage their own shared areas called “site collections.” SharePoint is often compared to a Swiss Army knife because it offers many tools for groups to share, manage, and use information. SharePoint is also the standard document sharing platform used by Microsoft Office, and is closely integrated with Microsoft Exchange, Skype for Business (Lync), and Outlook. Since August 2013 we have created well over a hundred site collections for departments and research groups in SharePoint Online, on Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365 platform.
The BU community and invited external collaborators have web-based access to a secure, centrally maintained information management and collaboration service that is easy to use, rich in features, and customizable. SharePoint provides a single place to find the most current information, documents, and related communication, simplifying your work life and allowing you to stop using email as your document management system.
- Information can be managed in many ways, e.g., utilizing document libraries, lists, work flows, discussion boards, web pages, wikis, and blogs.
- A rich set of out-of-the-box capabilities makes it easy to organize, view, and use your information in different ways, depending on your needs at the moment.
- Multiple versions of documents and list items can be maintained automatically.
- Information can be found through full-text search or by searches specific to metadata tagged to the information.
- Pre-defined workflows can automate common processes such as collecting feedback and approving documents, and custom workflows can be designed for more complex tasks.
- Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365/SharePoint Online offers many additional features, including the following:
- Each faculty and staff member receives a Personal Site, including a BU OneDrive (an implementation of OneDrive for Business) with 1 terabyte (TB) of space (more can be requested) where you can store files and share them with others. You can synchronize files you store in the cloud to multiple Windows-based personal computers (an early release of a synch tool for Macs is now available) and access them from mobile devices. You can also share files and folders with people both inside and outside Boston University.
- Social tools are included, e.g., a newsfeed to enhance collaboration and the ability to “follow” sites, documents, and people.
What to Expect
SharePoint Online is provided as part of Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365 platform, for which Microsoft promises 99.9% uptime. See the Office 365 Trust Center for details and compliance reports. SharePoint 2007 normally will be available 24 by 7 except for standard change windows, as described in IS&T’s standard policies, procedures, and schedules for making changes.
- An individual from your group must assume the role of site collection administrator and take primary responsibility for administering the site collection and managing access, but may share those responsibilities as appropriate.
- Access by students requires faculty or staff sponsorship.
- Learn more about SharePoint Online at Microsoft’s sites
- SharePoint Overview
- Get started with SharePoint Online
- Short, topic-based beginner and intermediate training videos for SharePoint
- What’s new in Microsoft SharePoint Online
- What’s new in Office 365
- Find content about SharePoint Online for Office 365
- Sharing content internally and externally with OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online – Everything you ever wanted to know about sharing, presented at the Microsoft SharePoint 2014 Conference by two of the people who designed the new SharePoint Sharing capabilities.
- SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business: software boundaries and limits
- Learn how to manage large lists and libraries (those approaching 5,000 items or documents) in Office 365
- Free SharePoint training from Microsoft through our Enterprise Agreement
- BU faculty and staff (only) can register at Microsoft’s E-learning site and take the online course “Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Essentials” for free. This is an interactive video course you can take any time. The entire course takes about 3 hours to complete, but you can break it up into as many smaller sessions as you like. You can also just view a few of the video demos to get a quick overview of SharePoint and its social features to see if this would be a good solution for your needs. Many other free courses are available there, including the shorter “Course 10929: Sharing and Working with Teams Using Microsoft Office 365” and courses on all the Office applications.
- Session recordings from Microsoft Ignite (2015 and 2016) and the SharePoint Conference (2014)
- Read Microsoft’s detailed SharePoint Online Service Description (use the Office 365 Education column)
- Learn more about security in Office 365
- Related Microsoft tools (not currently supported by IS&T)
- Contact us for more information or to request a site collection.