I’m a HR Lead working in the corporate sector and I recently undertook Leadership Through Data’s Microsoft 365 SharePoint Fundamentals training course (links to UK, US, Australia courses) with my colleague who is responsible for the records management within our company. I thought it was a terrific introduction to the subject, so I wanted to share my experience and some of what I learnt with you.

I now think, regardless of our job title or profession, we all need to be proficient / have some sort of knowledge of the administrator capabilities in SharePoint in order to really maximise its potential. There’s some really cool and helpful stuff that it can do that I just wouldn’t have known about unless I had been on this course. I realise now that having a basic knowledge of the subject can really benefit our company and I’m already encouraging the owners to invest in training other members of our staff with this course. I’m really glad our records manager recommended that I also do this course as it’s a fabulous basis for SharePoint knowledge.

Although the course is for the purpose of information managers and governors to learn a basic knowledge of SharePoint, as well as basic administrator capabilities, the course certainly isn’t limited to just these job roles. I hope by me sharing my thoughts and new knowledge helps to convince non-records managers/governors to attend this course as it sure was worth it.

Below you’ll find some of the very basic but important questions I went into the course wanting answers to, as well as what I learnt.

What is SharePoint online?

SharePoint is a cloud-based collaborative platform hosted by Microsoft that can be used to store and share content with others. 

Instead of installing and deploying SharePoint Server on-premises, a business can subscribe to a Microsoft 365 plan or to the standalone SharePoint Online service. 

What is the Cloud?

Is it something in the sky that’s white and fluffy? How does this relate to technology?

The cloud refers to software and services that are hosted by someone else and based on the Internet, as opposed to on-premises which is locally managed and often physically hosted on site. 

Most cloud services can be accessed through a Web browser such as Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome, and often there are dedicated mobile apps. 

I have heard that you can collaborate with other team members at the same time. How do you do this?

Yes, users can manage, collaborate, and access documents and other resources simultaneously, from any device with an Internet connection.  

This is a godsend if you’re used to the world of having to request access to a file that someone else has open, or if your files keep duplicating and corrupting because of simultaneous opens. 

What is ‘architecture’ in the context of Microsoft 365?

Here’s Leadership Through Data’s ‘SharePoint Information Architecture Overview’, taken straight from their course workbook. 

“Information architecture (IA) is described as a way of structuring your information (files and data) through classification and relationships, so that it is easy to access, searchable, and discoverable by your user community, whilst conforming to the governance and information management strategies required by your organisation.”

Look at it like this… you wouldn’t build a house without designing it first, would you? So why build a SharePoint site without designing its architecture first? 

Although, I learnt that for those companies who have done things the wrong way round, it’s not the end of the world as your information architecture CAN be re-designed and re-deployed! It might be a little trickier than designing it right from the start, but it can be done. Phew. 

What is a SharePoint ‘Site’?

A SharePoint ‘Site’ is a collaborative workspace, where you arrange and manage content to suit your organisation. Within each site you can create containers, such as lists and document libraries, to store content (information, files and data). So, this is where I can actually store my stuff. 

The cool bit here is that ‘Sites’ will also present information that it thinks the users might be interested in, but this is only if it is set this up right. 

What are SharePoint ‘Pages’?

In addition to ‘Sites’, SharePoint enables you to create ‘Pages’ which are used to display and visualise your content, ultimately enhancing the user’s experience. 

From a HR perspective this is super useful for displaying notices to employees, linking the most important company documents and tailoring each individual page to the correct audience it’s intended for. 

As there were a few information management and governance professionals on my course, I also picked up that ‘Pages’ would be useful to them for managing their teams and allowing them to view the information needed quickly and simply. 

SharePoint Glossary

Don’t forget, not everyone knows what SharePoint is or does, so if you want to talk to your colleagues or company about SharePoint, here’s a couple of the main keywords that will help them understand. Top tip: I’ve found this really helpful for reminding myself too! 

  • Site = Collaboration workspace, with security and structure  
  • Team Site = Used for collaboration, usually with many contributors and editors  
  • Communication Site = Used for sharing or broadcasting information; few editors, many viewers 
  • Library* = File container for documents, spreadsheets, images, etc.
  • List* = Contains data in a list format with rows and columns (but not files)
  • Page* = Web pages (viewed in a browser) used to display your content
  • Web Part = Used to display information on a page, or acts as a portal into a container
  • Apps = Applications of functionality that can be added to pages (e.g. forms)  

*Just a note that Pages, Libraries & Lists are important ones to remember because they contain your contents. 

Find out more

I can’t tell you everything I learnt on the course, of course, so to sum things up simply, I highly recommend this course to any employees of a company where Microsoft is used as its main records management system.

I didn’t know this at the time, but Leadership Through Data’s Microsoft 365 SharePoint Fundamentals course is taught in 3 different time zones around the world, evenly spread out so you can pick the best time zone to suit your location.

Here’s the links where you can find out more:

Australia – Microsoft 365 SharePoint Fundamentals Training Course

United Kingdom – Microsoft 365 SharePoint Fundamentals Training Course

United States – Microsoft 365 SharePoint Fundamentals Training Course

Thanks for listening.


A very happy, new and improved HR Professional.