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SharePoint crosses many boundaries! Just to name a few broad topics:

  • collaboration
  • public web sites (CMS)
  • data access via the BDC

How would you explain what SharePoint is to the business layperson?

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closed as not a real question by Alex Angas Jul 15 '11 at 1:45

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

8 Answers 8

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There is no single answer to your question. I have found out that the best way to explain SharePoint to a manager is to find a business problem he has and then explain how SharePoint can solve the problem at hand, it might be collaboration, but it might be something else, or something so trivial you would not ever think of it (e.g. check-in/out).

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SharePoint does 80% of what an enterprise organization needs to do.

  • Manage documents
  • Collaborate
  • Internet site
  • Extranet site
  • Intranet site (ideal use of sharepoint IMHO)
  • etc, etc, etc.
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So anything in a business user's browser, SharePoint is probably a good fit? –  Alex Angas Oct 7 '09 at 16:06

Depends on the businessperson. Find out what document management/ collaboration/ data access problems they have and explain how Sharepoint can help.

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There is a very well done video that explains the collaboration aspect quite clearly.
SharePoint in Plain English

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If I talk to a business person, I don't talk about BDC. I talk about connectivity with other systems where some basic integration is foreseen in the product.

I don't talk about CMS, I talk about exposing the correct information to the right people at the right time.

I talk about SharePoint being a platform that helps him achieve those goals, where some stuff is already built in and where we, as an integrator, are able to extend the platform to make sure his goals are met.

Collaboration is a term I do use, but I never go into detail too much on a technical point. I try to figure out where the business user's pain points are located, and then I tell him how those can be solved. Once that is done, I start showing how it might look from an enduser perspective. I mainly use the standard SharePoint 2007 site to get a feeling of how Microsoft targets it to endusers.

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This is a very nicely written explanation that should be essential reading for all managers considering SharePoint

PDF: A managers guide to sharepoint

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The simple answer is that it is in the name "Share" "Point".

A Point or place where people can Share information. Where people are looking for and generating information.

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collaboration

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