What is SharePoint?

There are the Windows SharePoint Services (WSS), the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) and Microsoft Search Server. Each bring their own functionalities to the table and build upon each other.

What is SharePoint?

When looking up what SharePoint is, you get a lot of different answers from the Internet:
  • Microsoft SharePoint is a browser-based collaboration and document management platform from Microsoft - Wikipedia
  • Microsoft's content management system. It allows groups to set up a centralized, password protected space for document sharing. Documents can be stored, downloaded and edited, then uploaded for continued sharing. - SAIT Polytechnic Teaching - Glossary
  • SharePoint is a web-based intranet that can help improve your organization's effectiveness by streamlining the management of and access to data. - Creative SharePoint
  • SharePoint is an enterprise information portal, from Microsoft, that can be configured to run Intranet, Extranet and Internet sites. - SharePoint HQ
  • {..} SharePoint is a sort of sharing/blogging/wiki-style server that mainly provides a back end to Microsoft Office - Jack Schofield, Technical Writer Guardian newspaper, UK.

So what is SharePoint? Let's first look at it from a technical perspective. There are the Windows SharePoint Services (WSS), the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) and Microsoft Search Server. Each bring their own functionalities to the table and build upon each other.

Learn best practices for sharing and managing information on the SharePoint platform.

Windows SharePoint Services function the basic functionality that Gartner calls Basic Content Services. It offers the user access to Versioning and Check-in/Checkout functionality. WSS can then be extended through the use of the applets to add additional collaborative functions like email alerts, shared calendars, etc.


Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) sits on top of WSS and adds additional features, both to the underlying WSS layer as well as additional ways for the end-user to interact with the repository. The data resides in a SQL Database. Using Webparts it can then present this information to the user using a wide range of different modules and for interaction in different business scenarios. These include such diverse applications as Collaboration, Document management, Records Management (including DOD 5015.2 certified components), Workflow, Personalization, more complex metadata models as well as Blogs and Wikis from the Web 2.0 side.

Download AIIM research on SharePoint. Find out how it's meeting business needs.

Finally there is the Microsoft Search Server, an Enterprise Search engine that provides advanced indexing and searching capabilities that can be integrated into a MOSS Web-based interface.

Microsoft itself describes SharePoint as Collaboration, Portal, Search, Enterprise Content Management (ECM) , Business process management (BPM) and Business intelligence (BI), so again a lot to chose from.

Research by AIIM has shown that even today many people start their large information management projects without a clear plan, or without a plan altogether, or steadfastly ignoring the one that you have. For a product that has so many facets as a SharePoint installation can potentially have it is choice that needs to be made before you jump in.

AIIM has developed a number of educational programs that deal with the question of planning before installing. Classes on Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Taxonomy and Metadata, Business Process Management (BPM), SharePoint for ECM, SharePoint for Collaboration and Electronic Records Management (ERM) help users in understanding the main components of each of these and then shows them how to apply these in a working environment. Programs will allow you to run the necessary investigations into your own business needs.

AIIM SharePoint for ECM Course

Learn best practices for managing and sharing information on the SharePoint platform.

  • The core capabilities of SharePoint 2010
  • SharePoint 2010 functions and functionality for sharing and managing content and records
  • Planning content types, classification, search, workflow and communities
  • Planning the SharePoint architecture, site provisioning, governance, administration and maintenance
  • Best practices for assessing, transitioning and implementing SharePoint 2010 for managing content and records

AIIM SharePoint for Collaboration Course

Learn how to use SharePoint 2010 as a collaboration platform.

  • The importance of collaboration and the value of SharePoint 2010
  • Specific collaborative capabilities offered through SharePoint
  • How to customize search and visualize data in SharePoint
  • How to integrate between SharePoint 2010, Office 2010, and Visio 2010
  • Processes and methods for managing collaborative processes using SharePoint
  • Governance framework and responsibilities
  • Change management requirements and processes
  • How to use SharePoint for process improvement and execution
  • How to create dashboards and monitor processes using

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AIIM's Market Intelligence group provides neutral and unbiased market research reflecting the wisdom of our 80,000 community of information professionals. Each report will help you match and measure your ROI and implementation issues against your peers. Topics include:

Become a Certified Information Professional (CIP)

The role of the information professional is changing. It's time for information professionals to change the way the business world thinks about enterprise information and IT. Make the Certified Information Professional designation part of your path to career development and continuous learning.
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  • Become part of the next wave of information management professionals.

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Over 20,000 students can't be wrong. Designed from global best practices, AIIM training programs are available as classroom or online and cover focused topics such as: All courses lead to AIIM Practitioner and some lead to AIIM Specialist and Master Designations.

Attend Online and In-person Educational Events

AIIM offers a variety of ways for you to learn about industry trends and topics, network with your peers, and find out about available solutions and services.
  • Online webinars allow easy access from wherever you are and whenever you want (live or on-demand).
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