Rediscovering Microsoft SharePoint: New features and benefits

whats new with microsoft sharepoint

Microsoft is known for developing industry-leading applications that many Australian businesses use today, such as Teams, Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint. While everyone understands the value of these applications in business, you shouldn’t overlook one of the software giant’s most valuable products: SharePoint. 

What is SharePoint?

SharePoint is a cloud-based service built for creating, storing, sharing, and managing content on the web. At its core, SharePoint allows you to set up modern intranet sites to organise document libraries, sync up with team members, and keep everyone informed. You can connect people on a project using team-specific sites and post company updates on communication sites. What’s more, SharePoint offers automated workflows, forms, lists, and analytics to help you better manage your workload. 

What’s new in SharePoint?

Much like other Microsoft services, SharePoint in Microsoft 365 constantly receives feature updates that enable businesses to work efficiently. Here are some of the most recent ones: 

SharePoint site templates

If you often struggle with building and designing your own site, SharePoint site templates get you started in the right direction. These templates come with a pre-established layout filled with generic content and web components that you can customise to your needs. So far, there are 11 scenario-based site templates you can choose from:  

Team site templates
  • Project management provides teams with a platform for sharing project-specific content
  • Team collaboration gives teams a hub for information sharing and communication
  • Event planning helps your team lay out event details and itineraries intuitively 
  • Training and courses displays learning materials and courses for the team
  • Training and development team consolidates training materials for team members seeking career development opportunities
Communication site templates
  • Department – highlights news, resources, and updates relevant to a department
  • Learning central – consolidates all learning materials and training opportunities in one place
  • New employee onboarding – provides new hires with useful information to integrate smoothly with your company
  • Leadership connection – connects executives with team members
  • Topic – showcases informative content like company-wide announcements and news
  • Showcase – features events, products, or noteworthy team members through eye-popping visuals
SharePoint spaces

SharePoint spaces is a web platform where you can create and share immersive experiences through data-generated 3D graphics, photorealistic visuals, and 360° images and videos. With 3D graphics, you can create models of company products and physical spaces that users can interact with using mixed reality (XR) headsets. Photorealistic visuals are useful for artistically showcasing products, events, and other content on your SharePoint sites. 

Finally, 360° images and videos provide spatial context to a location that can be experienced via a web browser or an XR headset. While these types of media are fairly niche, they have some practical applications. For instance, businesses can leverage 360° videos to walk executives through a new office space or take clients on a virtual tour of a new shop location. By sharing and experiencing virtual spaces over SharePoint, users can save time from visiting a physical location and gain a more comprehensive perspective of a space. 

SharePoint app bar

SharePoint app bar is a global navigation tool on the left-hand side of SharePoint that provides quick access to internal sites, news, and files. What gets displayed on the app bar is instantly personalised to the user. Clicking on the My Sites tab displays sites the user frequently visits or follows, enabling them to get to the relevant team and community pages faster. The My News tab presents curated content based on user activity and interests, while the My Files tab shows recently opened files. The app bar also features a Home tab, where a user can navigate the company intranet to access company policies, events, support services, and other resources. 

SharePoint web part toolbox

Web parts are building blocks that allow you to add text, images, videos, files, plugins, and other content directly to a SharePoint page. With the web part toolbox update, it’s much easier to find and add web parts on pages. It now sorts the types of web parts by category such as ‘Text and formatting’ and ‘Frequently used’, so editing a team site is more intuitive. There are also new web parts you can add such as Yammer social media feeds and targeted page links to help you create more dynamic content. 

Microsoft Search in SharePoint

Microsoft Search helps you find specific information without having to sift through dozens of SharePoint team sites. To find content in SharePoint, you need only enter a simple query in the built-in search box. Microsoft Search will then sift through all the sites, pages, and files you’re authorised to access. 

SharePoint’s search functions use a combination of keyword recognition, machine learning, and natural language processing to better find relevant information. That means entering a phrase you remember from a document or a question on the search bar will retrieve documents, messages, news, and other content pertaining to your query. This saves you a lot of time since you don’t need to remember where specific information is located.  

Page analytics

Page analytics gives you valuable insights into SharePoint page performance. It allows you to track the number of page viewers, average time spent on the page per user, and page traffic by time. Keep in mind that all performance data can be tracked as far back as 90 days. Page analytics is particularly useful for analysing why certain news topics, training materials, and updates are popular with your audience. You can then use your findings to refine your site content and make it more engaging. 

From simplified content creation to more immersive experiences, SharePoint’s growing lineup of new features offers immense benefits to businesses. However, if you’re having trouble keeping track of the latest SharePoint updates or don’t know where to even start with SharePoint, Empower IT can help. As a leading Microsoft-certified partner and managed IT services provider, we can assist you with SharePoint implementation and ensure you get the most out of its features. Contact us now