While Microsoft SharePoint is often used for creating an organizational intranet, users do not always think to leverage its community-building capacity across multiple organizations. The use could be applied to a myriad of professional areas where organizations do parallel work but rarely have formal opportunities to collaborate resources for the common goal due to infrastructure or other limitations.
SharePoint’s social computing and collaboration features, including blogs, wikis, real simple syndication (RSS), likes and comments create a space instantly familiar to many social media users. Use SharePoint as a social networking professional collaborative tool to create a mini think tank of individuals at different organizations related to one topic area.
For example, the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, local governments and social services organizations could use SharePoint to collaborate and organize a disaster plan in response to a natural disaster emergency alert.
The registered participants of a conference could meet on SharePoint to discuss the conference highlights following the event and remain in touch throughout the year to discuss the session applications as they develop.
As a social networking tool, SharePoint offers a similar application, bringing together geographically disparate groups into a shared digital space for a common social purpose, such as one user who reported using SharePoint to implement a sports tracking system that organized match schedules and solicited tips and comments in a chat box from members.
Planning an event in SharePoint is transparent and consensus building — a bridal shower, surprise anniversary party or group travel itinerary puts the participants in a single online location, an experience that they are becoming increasingly comfortable with.
Using the popup social network capabilities instantly offers users familiar tools to connect along with organizational and document management features that display and store topic information functionally and compellingly for any cross-organizational professional or personal project.