SharePoint Analogies

Analogies are essential to explaining SharePoint, especially to non-technical users. I’ve always expressed that “SharePoint is a platform”, but what does a platform mean, and why would an end user care about “a platform” (after all, they typically interact with only a few bits of it)? After all of these years, Microsoft has finally attempted to reach out to the business community and end user (without having to involve IT with the Productivity Hub) via Here is an analogy to explain Web Applications, Site Collections, and Webs:

The Web Application is the apartment building with one or more floors.

The Site Collection is the (secure) floor with one or more apartments.

The Web is the apartment.

Going further…

A Library is like a bookshelf in the apartment.

A List is like an organizational container in the apartment.

Expand from here! What are your analogies for end users and executive management?

Trevor Seward is a Microsoft Office Apps and Services MVP who specializes in SharePoint Server administration, hybrid scenarios, and SharePoint Online. He has been working with SharePoint for 16 years from SharePoint 2003 on up, managing environments with terabytes of content for 150,000+ user organizations. Trevor is an author of Deploying SharePoint 2016 and Deploying SharePoint 2019. You can find him on Twitter and in /r/sharepoint.