Pagoda Blog

Microsoft Teams vs SharePoint: The Best Choice for Your Business

February 18, 2021

Microsoft Teams and SharePoint are both part of the suite of services offered through Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365). Both Teams and SharePoint help you and your team to work collaboratively on projects, whether in the same space or working remote,  through easy and secure document storage, sharing, editing, and conversations. There’s a bit of overlap between the two services which can lead to some confusion over which one to use. Depending on your needs, you may choose to work in just one application or you may decide you need both. 


Let’s look at the best uses for each and how Microsoft Teams and SharePoint can work well together.     


The best uses for Microsoft Teams 

When you have a project that requires daily collaboration, Microsoft Teams streamlines the work, eliminating context switching between apps and keeping all communication and documents in one place. It allows you to create teams for specific projects, providing those assigned to the project a dedicated online space for conversations, collaborating on files, and making audio and video calls. Within each team you can also create channels for different components of your project.  


Teams’ online chat can be used to communicate with the entire team or as a private chat with just one team member, even when they’re offline. Chats are automatically saved so you can leave a chat and then continue the exchange where you left off.  Calls can be made directly from the Teams interface, making it a handy replacement for Skype. (Skype for Business will actually be discontinued as of July 31, 2021 with Microsoft Teams taking its place.) It also has a much more intuitive user interface than SharePoint, reducing the time needed to teach new employees how to leverage its many features. 


Lastly, each team has access management settings, allowing you to set them up as either private (only specific organization members have access) or public (anyone in your organization has access).  


The best uses for SharePoint 

While SharePoint also offers chat-based conversations and real-time collaboration, its primary function is to provide secure file storage and file sharing in the cloud. It includes robust permission management, customizable retention policies, and syncs with Teams so that you can control file access there as well. If you primarily need a secure, highly organized place to store documents with advanced permissions structures, SharePoint is what you need. SharePoint allows you to create multiple document libraries and custom folders with a sophisticated permission hierarchy. This sophistication, however, means it is a more complicated application to navigate.  


You can create sites and pages within SharePoint as well. For example, you may create a marketing site that contains your organization’s marketing assets, a master marketing calendar with important deadlines related to press releases, content creation, etc., and task lists. Within the site you would then create pages to visually organize information, such as upcoming marketing opportunities, policies, essential contact information, and to provide navigation to documents, visual assets, and more. 

How Teams and SharePoint work together 

While you can technically do everything in SharePoint, Teams makes it much easier to complete each task because you’re not required to switch apps. SharePoint is an older technology, released in 2001 versus the Teams’ much more recent release in 2017, so it relies on some outdated methods. For instance, if you’re working on a project document in SharePoint and need to send an email update, you’ll have to switch to the Exchange app. If you need to call your manager, you’ll likely switch over to Skype for Business. The live chat and online meeting features provided in Teams, however, make it possible to do everything within that one application. Teams has a single user interface for multiple Office 365 products including Exchange, Planner, and OneNote.   


Even if you choose to work primarily or exclusively in Teams, however, SharePoint will still be running quietly and efficiently in the background as your file repository. For example, when you’re working in Teams and need access to critical organization files, these files are actually stored in SharePoint. Each time you create a team, it automatically creates a SharePoint site to store your files. When you create a channel within that team, SharePoint creates a new folder within that site’s document library. 


Here’s a quick recap comparing and contrasting Microsoft Teams and SharePoint: 


Microsoft Teams is best for … 


  • Project-specific collaboration and communication unified into a single platform 
  • Projects that require communication between team members daily or multiple times a day  
  • Keeping track of project updates, conversations, and files all in one place


SharePoint is best for … 


  • Sophisticated and highly customizable permission management across your team and files 
  • Extensive and organized cloud-based file storage 
  • Organization updates for the entire team showcased via sites and pages 


Still have questions about how to use Microsoft Teams and SharePoint for your business? Reach out and we’ll be happy to walk you through our recommendations for your specific work needs. 


Featured photo by fauxels from Pexels



Related reading: 

Office 365 Features and Benefits for Your Small Business

Why You Need an Office 365 Enhanced Backup

14 Windows 10 Tips & Tricks to Optimize Your Workflow   



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