First launched in 2001, SharePoint integrates intranet, content management, and document management. SharePoint is mostly used by midsize businesses and large departments.
SharePoint comprises a multipurpose set of Web technologies packed by a common technical infrastructure. By default, SharePoint has a Microsoft Office-like interface, and it is closely integrated with the Office suite. The web tools are intended for non-technical users. SharePoint can provide intranet portals, document and file management, collaboration, social networks, extranets, websites, enterprise search, and business intelligence. It also has system integration, process integration, and workflow automation capabilities.
Enterprise application software (for example, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) packages) often provide some SharePoint integration. SharePoint incorporates a complete development stack based on web technologies and standards-based application programming interfaces (APIs). As an application platform, SharePoint provides central management, governance, and security controls for implementation of these requirements. The SharePoint platform integrates directly into Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS), which enables bulk management, scaling, and provisioning of servers, as large organizations and cloud computing providers often need.
Microsoft has two versions of SharePoint available at no cost, sells premium editions with additional functionality, and provides a cloud service edition as part of their Office 365 platform. The product is also sold through a cloud model by many third-party vendors.