• SharePoint site templates can be a great way to save time and create a site with all the needed bells and whistles. The difficulty is that many of the designs come with a high cost – ranging into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Meanwhile, free templates are often sub-par. Luckily, there are a good number of templates that are high in quality and won't cost you a thing. Here are five of the best free SharePoint site templates:

    Board of Directors: This template is clean, well-organized, and professional. For those who want an executive approach to SharePoint, BoD is a top choice.

    Download this template here.

    Clinical Trial Initiation Management: This site template is specifically designed for health care organizations who run clinical trials, but the scheme can work for other sites as well. The structure puts special emphasis on schedule and task management.

    Download this template here.

    Employee Self-Service Benefits: Designed to quickly inform your employees about benefits and allow those employees to enroll, this SharePoint template can be a real time-saver for your organization.

    Download this template here.

    GreenShade: This public-facing template is designed to help you share news, company information, career opportunities, and more with your target audience. Since the site is built in SharePoint, content creation and management is made simple. The green design is also attractive without being overbearing.

    Download this template here.

    Synesthesia: The blue/silver/white template is one of the cleaner looks for a front-facing SharePoint site. The structure was designed with resource management, media content, and social sharing in mind.

    Download this template here.

    We'll have plenty more templates to share, so keep checking back in. We'll also give a shout on Twitter and Facebook, so follow us on those locations to get the fastest updates. Additionally, if you have any templates to suggest, leave a comment below.
  • We've talked about the social features of SharePoint before, even drawing a parallel between modern social media outlets and this professional medium. However, according to Kevin Turner (Microsoft's COO), the comparison extends beyond that: SharePoint is a core, fast-growing, and versatile medium, and one that parallels Facebook in growth, spread, and potential.

    Turner pointed to SharePoint as Microsoft's product that hit the $1 billion mark in revenue most quickly. While SharePoint 2010 was the most successful version yet, the next generation is also looking bright: 5 million seats have already been claimed for Office 365. The tremendous success of SharePoint make it the core of Microsoft's business services, a division of the company that makes up 32% of the company's total structure. That puts it ahead of any other division; Windows only has 27%, while servers and related tools hold 24%.

    Further, it's not just Microsoft who's getting a lot of its attention from businesses – though, yes, 82% of SharePoint's users are business users. The number of SharePoint users is increasing dramatically, with 20,000 new users each day. Additionally, more than three quarters of all Fortune 500 companies use SharePoint. In other words, in just the same way that Facebook dominates social or Google (sorry Bing) dominates search, Microsoft is the go-to service for enterprise content management.

  • SharePoint is a system that's designed to be at your fingertips every moment of every day, accessible whether you're in the office or accessing your site while on a business trip. The web parts, business intelligence, reporting, social features, and so much more were built around a "never quit" mentality.

    But does it always work like that? In reality, of course not. There will always be down time. Unfortunately, much of the down time experienced by companies could have been prevented with just a little bit of proactive care. Since most companies are of a small to medium scale, though, it makes little sense to hire a dedicated SharePoint specialist to maintain the system.

    That's where SharePoint Engine comes in. We've added a support and maintenance service that allows you to gain a powerful ally in maintaining your system. In addition to monitoring your server and applying preventative care (hot-fixes, updates, and so forth), we're making our staff of SharePoint experts available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round.

    We can also help with small-scale tasks, ranging from system migration to the implementation of new elements to rolling out a new update to resolving a single issue that hits your company. Whatever you're looking for, we want to help you resolve it and get back to business as usual.

    Learn more about our SharePoint maintenance and support services today.
  • With tens of thousands of views to this blog, we know you're hearing us loud and clear. What we're missing at this point is a little bit of engagement, discussion, and feedback. So we wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that we'd like to hear from you!

    Since talking at a company on the internet can be a little intimidating, we wanted to give you a few talking points. Let us know your thoughts on any or all of the following:

    • What's your favorite element of SharePoint?
    • Are you involved with the Office 365 beta, and if so, what are your thoughts so far?
    • What's your greatest struggle with SharePoint?
    • What books, courses, and other steps do you recommend for those still looking to learn the basics of SharePoint?
    • Have you worked with us, or other SharePoint consultants, in the past? What was your experience like?
    • What other SharePoint blogs do you read? Which are the best publications for those of us in the industry to keep an eye on?
    • What topics do you want us to cover in future entries?
    Of course, any other feedback you want to give is welcome. Use the comments below to respond, or if you prefer, drop us a line on Twitter, Facebook, or our website.
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