Quick Start

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

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 nearly 100 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.

Key Features

  • 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 person receives a Personal Site, including a BU OneDrive (an implementation of OneDrive for Business) with 1 terabyte (TB) of space 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.

Getting Started