How to Choose Between & Effectively Use SharePoint Team, Communication & Hub Sites

How to Choose Between & Effectively Use SharePoint Team, Communication & Hub Sites

Office 365 has over 200 million monthly active users and is the most popular cloud software in the world by user count.

The combination of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook with several collaborative tools make Office 365 an excellent productivity hub for many businesses.

But a major issue we find is that companies leave certain parts of the platform underutilised. This is often because they simply don’t know what a certain tool is used for or how to go about using it.

One point of confusion for Office 365 users tends to be the use of SharePoint Sites.

SharePoint is a combination, file storage/sharing, internal team website, external mini-site, and more. There are three main types of sites that can be created in SharePoint, which are:

  • Team Sites
  • Communication Sites
  • Hub Sites

Using each effectively and for its intended purpose can significantly streamline your file sharing processes. It can also improve the way your team communicates information both inside and outside your organisation.

In this article, we’re going to explain the difference between the three types of SharePoint sites and how you can use each to its fullest.

How to Use the Different SharePoint Sites

SharePoint sites are like websites, only they’re connected to your corporate assets. Companies can use them to securely store, organise, share, and access information with any device.

An example of the use of a SharePoint site, would be an internal website put up by your HR department. I could include things like an employee time off request form and the employee handbook. It could also be updated with cybersecurity awareness alerts.

Putting this information in a website format makes it engaging. Storing it in SharePoint ensures that an employee can also find the most current version of a file. Files are also easily searchable in the platform and can be shared through Microsoft Teams.

Let’s take a look at the three main types of SharePoint sites.

SharePoint Team Site

Used for: Group planning, internal needs of a group

When you create a group in Office 365 or give that group a Team in Microsoft Teams, a SharePoint Team site can be created for it.

“Groups” or “Teams” can be things like a department or planning committee. For example, you may have a group for your Sales Department. You might have another group for the planning committee for your annual awards dinner.

A SharePoint Team Site is that team’s “go to” place to store files, share them with each other and collaborate on files together. You can also use SharePoint lists in a team site as task lists.

During a data migration to Office 365 from an on-premises solution, the types of files you would typically migrate specifically to a SharePoint Team Site would be those kept in folders such as /Marketing or /Project1.

One more thing to know about Team Sites is that they can have certain security policies applied to them that restrict content access. One example of this is the use of information barriers in Teams. If two groups are blocked from each other, they also cannot access each other’s SharePoint Team Sites.

SharePoint Communication Site

Used for: Communicating information outside a single group

Let’s go back to the HR example for a moment. Your HR department would create a Team site when going back and forth within their department on employee records, performance reports, and the like.

But for sharing employee manuals and forms with the rest of the company, they would create a SharePoint Communication Site.

You can think of the Communication Site as a “public” website. It’s either public to those in your company or public to customers/vendors.

The types of things that you can use a SharePoint Communications Site for are:

  • Creating industry specific sales material portals for customers
  • Publishing company cybersecurity policies
  • Micro-site for a special company project
  • Employee news and recognition site
  • Vendor application forms and information

SharePoint Hub Site

Used for: Connecting all SharePoint sites as a directory

How can you know where all your SharePoint Team Sites and SharePoint Communication Sites are? That’s what Hub Sites are for.

SharePoint Hub Sites connect and organise your SharePoint Sites based upon whatever criteria you set. For example, they can be organised by:

  • Division
  • Project
  • Department
  • Region
  • Customer Industry, etc.

You can have more than one Hub Site in your organisation. For example, you might want to have a Hub Site for all internal Team and Communication Sites, and another for External Communication Sites.

Setting up a SharePoint Hub Site makes it easier for employees to locate new content and group activities, apply common branding across all sites, and search across the sites.

SharePoint Site Recap

In recap, here is a reminder of how to use each site. When used together for their intended purpose they can supercharge your company’s communication and document sharing strategy.

  • Team Site: Create, connect, and collaborate within a group/department
  • Communication Site: Share and showcase content outside your group/department
  • Hub Site: Keep all your SharePoint Sites organised and accessible

Let GKM2 Help You Get the Most from Office 365

Are you utilising the full power of your Office 365 subscription? Or are you leaving features untapped? We can help you unleash the full value of this popular cloud solution.

Contact us today for a free consultation. Call +61 2 9161 7171 or reach out online.