SharePoint - that's for intranets, right? (Thinkstock)

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SharePoint is vastly popular. And yet there's a common misconception, much to the chagrin of the Microsoft platform's advocates, that it's nothing more than an intranet development tool. Your company wants to share web content and services internally, so you buy SharePoint.

Admittedly, this isn't a bad thing in itself. As it happens, the platform is extremely powerful when it comes to intranet development – you could do a whole lot worse than to choose it. However, it's so much more than that, too, and subscribing to this view generally means neglecting the full scope of what SharePoint can offer  your business.

Need ideas? Here are some of the other ways your company could use SharePoint.

Extranets

First, a simple one – SharePoint makes it very easy to extend intranet access and functionality to your business partners and third-party suppliers. So, if you ever need to share internal data with stakeholders outside of your organisation, you've got a way to do it securely and efficiently.

Document management

SharePoint's document management capabilities tend to be reasonably widely understood, but end users still seem to think they play second fiddle to its features as an intranet development tool. In reality, the ability for employees to access files from anywhere and work on the same document concurrently are game-changing propositions in many industries.

Websites

Just as you can use SharePoint to build internal websites, you can use it for public-facing services as well. There are lots of instances where this is useful – why train employees to use another content management system like Joomla! or WordPress when they're
already SharePoint mavericks, for example?

Business intelligence

SharePoint's compatibility with Excel and SQL Server, combined with its self-service functionality, makes it a logical choice for your company's business intelligence systems. It's possible to quickly integrate and interact with Excel workbooks in SharePoint sites, for example, and the platform has incorporated the features of PerformancePoint out of the box since 2010. All in all, it's a powerful and accessible way to freshen up your business decision-maker.

Line-of-business applications

Finally, SharePoint can be used for line-of-business applications. It might take a little custom development, but it's possible to integrate the platform with external CRM and ERP systems and therefore give your employees everything they need to carry out day-to-day work within the SharePoint environment. It's a far cry from using the platform solely to share static information and the odd self-service form, but it's still well within its capabilities.

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