Have you ever heard of SharePoint and Microsoft 365? No? Don’t panic. Most of us haven’t. But if you’re a business and want to share and manage files effectively then it’s time to get familiar with it.

SharePoint is a collaboration software which allows businesses to store, update and share documents and much more. Those times of having 20 different versions of the same file are over.

This week we talked to our client Marcus Dervin, director of WebVine who has years of experience in the field, and he shared his thoughts about these useful tools.

Are there any unusual uses for SharePoint that are proving very successful?
I wouldn’t say unusual but social enterprise is really picking up, Facebook for the enterprise it’s described as, but it gives a lot more value to an organisation than just people chatting with each other. SharePoint 2013 provides news feeds for this, and Yammer and Newsgator are also products that provide Social Functionality to SharePoint. There are a lot of third party products for SharePoint, some available in the SharePoint App Store.

Obviously you’re from overseas and being in Sydney for a number of years, would you say Sydney is a bit behind or ahead of other countries in this take up of SharePoint?
I lived in New York for 4 years, and the US is way ahead in terms of it’s internet usage, and technology usage in general. So SharePoint is more mature in the US, but we are making good progress in Australia with some nice case studies from here now.

Are there any common mistakes that companies make when using SharePoint?
There are many, see my article ‘Top 10 mistakes most companies make with SharePoint’.

Are there any security risks when using SharePoint?
Only if IT doesn’t know how to use SharePoint (which can happen). Otherwise it’s perfectly secure, just as much as a share drive. Permissions can be applied to sites, libraries and individual files. Groups are generally created and permissions given to those groups, which can also be Active Directory groups.

Are you able to discuss the largest project your company has performed using SharePoint so far?
Our most satisfying work has been for LJ Hooker. We have created an intranet for head office staff, an extranet for Franchise staff, many many applications for different departments and across the board. We have dashboards for the Board and CEO, and we are rolling out Newgator, which will bring Social Functionality to all Franchise staff. We work with LJ Hooker continuously, bringing more and more value to the organisation, and they are great people. So it’s especially awesome to work with them.

What year did you start Webvine? What other services does Webvine offer? Can you explain a little bit about Microsoft Office 365?
I started WebVine in the beginning of 2010, I had recently returned from New York. Our first client was Commonwealth Bank, and we have delivered over 16 projects for them since, we are preferred suppliers there. We have grown to 5 staff, and all is going well. We also deliver Microsoft Office 365 services, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM services. Office 365 enables companies to move their information to the cloud. So no more Exchange servers or file servers in the office. It also includes SharePoint online (SharePoint in the cloud) and Lync – a communications tool. And you can get a subscription that includes Microsoft Office also. It’s a great product and very reasonably priced.

What other activities/services do you see Webvine offering to companies in the future?
More CRM consulting, mobile websites, app development, and perhaps an intranet product that’s ready to go.

Where do you imagine yourself and Webvine being in 5 years time?
I know we will be in Redfern as we are moving there soon. I think we will have 30 staff, great partners, an eco-system of offerings between these partners, great culture, awesome clients, and having a lot of fun.

Webvine director Marcus Dervin is a SharePoint Sydney expert and consultant delivering projects for small-to-large companies in Australia.