If you’ve used Microsoft SharePoint 2013 recently, then you know about its many great new features. But why then do three out of five SharePoint users purchase a third-party solution?1 It’s not because they don’t like what SharePoint has to offer out-of-box, they just want more. The capabilities of SharePoint are often limited when it comes to mobility, forms and workflows, management, and data integration.
A third-party solution can overcome these limitations by helping SharePoint integrate its services across other systems. If you’re in the market for a third-party solution, be sure to look closely at the features that each solution offers to ensure you’re getting the most out of your investment.
To help, we’ve come up with a list of the top 10 features to look for in a SharePoint solution:
1.Robust workflow and form capabilities: When it comes to workflows and forms, the keyword isreusable. Without the hassle of code, you want to build workflows and forms that are not subject to SharePoint limitations and that can be reused across the entire SharePoint environment.
2. Mobile access from anywhere: Be sure your solution fully supports mobility. You’ll want all of your SharePoint users to have access and the ability view reports and dashboards from any device, anywhere.
3. Visual tools: Look for a solution that has simple visual tools that make it easy for users, even those with non-technical skills, to build complete workflow and form solutions without writing code.
4. Ability to integrate with line-of-business (LOB) apps and data: Choose a solution that supports out-of-box integration with LOB systems and lets you build applications that cross multiple SharePoint lists, libraries, sites or environments.
5. Apps that function the same way on premises and in the cloud: Look for feature parity between SharePoint Online and SharePoint 2013. This helps ensure a seamless transition between on-premises solutions and the cloud so reusable workflows will work in both environments.
6. Real-time, secure access to LOB information: Search for a solution that uses a data-integration framework, meaning data stays protected within its native system and can be accessed in real-time.
7. Custom reports and audits: Look for built-in reporting and audit features that allow users to customise reporting dashboards. These dashboards provide visibility into bottlenecks and inefficiencies and allow users access to designated information.
8. Adherence to Microsoft SharePoint best practices: This gives you the peace of mind that the solution will run smoothly, even when Microsoft releases updates.
9. A one-product only solution: Some solutions on the market require purchasing more than one product to meet your SharePoint needs. That’s not good for anyone’s bottom line. Look for an all-in-one solution.
10. No code required: Unless you really love writing code, find a solution that lets you do all of the above without writing any code.
 AIIM. “Connecting and Optimising SharePoint — and important strategy choices.” 2015.http://www.aiim.org/Research-and-Publications.
Manager, Marketing and Channel Development at K2