Have you or your business been struggling to make Microsoft SharePoint a cost-effective investment? Have you been searching for alternative software to help cut costs and improve your enterprise’s overall bottom line? You’re in luck: read on to learn about the many SharePoint alternatives that can save your company money without forcing you to give up any of the features or functionalities the original software has to offer.
What is SharePoint?
Stop by the Microsoft Office website and you will be told that SharePoint is a piece of software that organizations use “to build websites.” However, while the program can certainly be used for group web development projects, it is also a broader intranet server that allows a business to store, access, and share information among members of their organization. (Learn how to use Microsoft SharePoint 2013 by taking Udemy’s comprehensive class.)
These capabilities are extremely important and convenient for a business hoping to build workplace traditions of collaboration and productivity. Unfortunately, there is one major drawback to SharePoint: the cost. Microsoft programs are never cheap, but SharePoint costs more than most, and its precipitous price points – which can climb into the thousands and thousands of dollars for a single license – are enough to send smaller businesses or start-up enterprises running.
Luckily, the Internet is not lacking in cheap or free SharePoint alternatives. Which alternatives you choose to implement for your enterprise will depend entirely on what tasks you are looking to accomplish with collaborative server software. If you are merely looking for a means of sharing, editing, and accessing organizational documents from anywhere, you will likely look to adopt a simple cloud-based service. Check out Udemy’s cloud server set-up course to get a head start. On the other hand, if you are hoping to collaborate with other members of your organization on building a website, you may look for an entirely different set of SharePoint alternatives.
Regardless of your organizational goals, there are plentiful pieces of software and freeware out there that can help you substitute for SharePoint without breaking the bank. Read on to learn about some of our favorites.
The Top Five SharePoint Alternatives
Perhaps the most popular and well-known alternative to SharePoint is Alfresco, a free, open-source software that is every bit as functional as other, much more expensive enterprise systems. The name of the game with Alfresco is collaboration, and whether your goal is content management for your website or blog or simple document sharing for the upcoming board meeting, the system can handle it. Alfresco is compatible with software from Microsoft and Linux alike, so it can handle all of the common Office document types that SharePoint specializes in, but can also support lesser-known formats if needed. Mobile app integration makes it easy to edit Alfresco projects from anywhere, at any time. Finally, Alfresco makes communication among different organization members a breeze, with message boards, individual or group calendars, and more.
If you visit the Huddle website, you will see that the product is billed as “the #1 SharePoint Alternative.” In other words, it’s pretty clear which audience Huddle is going for, and the program fills the shoes of Microsoft’s software admirably. One attractive characteristic of Huddle is that it allows you to integrate easily with work programs like Microsoft Office or Adobe Creative Suite. A drawback to many other cloud-based server programs is that they require you to consistently re-upload documents, photos, and other files as you work on them. With Huddle, you only need to upload your file once. Then, as you continue to work and save in Office or Adobe Creative Suite, the system will automatically add your updates to the shared cloud versions of the documents. Like Alfresco, these updates are also synced and accessible across all devices.
3. Google Drive
If your server needs involve little more than sharing word documents among a few people in a small office, you might not even need a sweeping enterprise program. For small-scale document sharing needs, Google’s “Docs” application can be a great way to sync Word Document or Excel Spreadsheet changes across an organization. However, Google Docs can be clunky, confusing, and frustrating. It lacks the wealth of features available in actual Microsoft Office programs, and if you’ve already paid the premium price for Microsoft’s Office Suite, you don’t want to be doing the bulk of your document creation or editing on a web-based client. Google Drive is the solution, using a number of different plugins to sync your Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document edits to a Google Doc counterpart.
Many blogs, websites, and online publications these days are based around WordPress, an easy-to-use content management system that allows for everything from the drafting of articles to the scheduling of posts. In fact, WordPress sites are so common today that you could say the system has begun to subvert SharePoint as the go-to enterprise solution for content-based webpages. Jump aboard the bandwagon with the help of Udemy’s beginning WordPress tutorial.
If your goal is mainly to build a new website from the ground up, then WiX – a completely free template-based website builder – may well be the best option for your purposes. WiX provides a wide range of Website templates that can help you to envision what your business’s website will look like. However, unlike other template-based web builders around the Internet, WiX allows you to move and edit all parts of the template, opening the door for complete customization and originality in your website design. A recent feature even creates a mobile version of the site automatically from your original desktop design.
Selecting an Alternative
Choosing the right SharePoint alternative can be a daunting task. After all, the content sharing and website building capacities of your enterprise need to be strong in order to facilitate superior productivity, collaboration, and product development. Ultimately, all of the programs listed above have been thoroughly proven and endorsed by countless satisfied customers, both as alternatives to Microsoft SharePoint and as standalone software tools. Whichever alternative you choose, you will be in good hands.
You may also find that you have more to learn before you can make your choice. Take Udemy’s Complete Web Development From Scratch course to learn the basics of website building, or work your way through an Enterprise Content Management course to get a better idea of what you are looking for in a SharePoint stand-in. Both courses will give you a better understanding of how the web can be used to improve your business, and both will be invaluable when it comes down to selecting your SharePoint alternative and implementing it within your enterprise.