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SharePoint Terminology Part 1: Sites

A lot of small businesses are using SharePoint for the first time, often as part of their Office 365 subscription. Whilst they may have been sold on the benefits of using SharePoint, it can still be a big transition for everyone involved as most will be used to their current way of doing things.

SharePoint introduces a whole new set of terms which can be difficult to understand, especially as they generally don’t have a direct equivalent that users can relate to as part of their current systems.

The aim of this series of blog posts is to describe a few of those terms and how they relate to concepts that users may already be familiar with. These posts are not designed to be technical articles on how to configure SharePoint – there are plenty of such articles online already!

Sites (and Sub Sites)

Sites can be thought of as places where you go to find similar information or information that is grouped together in one place. For example you might have an HR site for all your Human resources information. Then there might also be a Finance site, an IT site, a Social site (for company social activities), a Directors site etc. Maybe your organisation has subdivisions for different parts of the business or maybe different branches – these might have their own SharePoint sites too.

Sites can also be organised into a hierarchy to give SharePoint some kind of logical structure, hence the idea of sites and sub-sites. For example:

SharePoint Site Structre

In the example above, the Finance site can be considered a sub-site of the Company SharePoint Site; the Shares site is a sub-site of the Directors site etc.

Sites are useful because as well as grouping information together in one location, users can easily be given different levels of permission to this information – it makes it easy to allow some users to see some sites but not others, or to be able to edit documents in some sites and not others.

For example, if Bob works in Finance, he can be given permission to see the Finance site and create and edit new documents in that site. But he will have Read Only permission to the HR site (i.e. he can see and read information there but cannot make changes or create anything new). And Bob cannot see the Directors site at all (as he’s not a Director)

SharePoint Sites Screenshot

Finally each site may have a slightly different purpose and can be configured to use different functionality or make certain information more prominent and easy to access. For example the Finance site might mainly be concerned with storing and organising documents (such as invoices) but the Social site could be more of a company blog and picture gallery.

The next post is Part 2: Document Libraries

Rob Leverton

Rob has worked as an IT technician and project manager with Connexion for 14 years before moving into his current role as head of the technical services team.

Although Rob comes from a technical background he’s very much a people person and he is exceptionally good at building excellent working relationships with our customers and his technical team to deliver service excellence to our clients.

Rob Leverton

James Stratton

James is passionate about technology and how it can transform business.  Having worked with hundreds of businesses in many different sectors over the last 25 years he has a huge amount of business IT knowledge that he enjoys imparting to Connexions customers.

James is responsible for Connexions strategic development and also still enjoys a role in consulting and sales and marketing