I consider myself lucky to be a part of technology business. Almost every day I get an opportunity to meet several business owners understand their processes and suggest solutions which help them achieve efficiency and boost productivity. For businesses who are facing challenges to create a collaborative environment at their organisation or having some issues when it comes to management of multiple projects, I suggest them Microsoft SharePoint.
Considering the rich customisation features and functionalities the platform has to offer, many businesses opt for the introduction of out of the box features in their standard SharePoint environment. Customisation may overwhelm the businesses at the initial stage but it is actually an easy process if done by following certain rules. However, there are many problems which poor customisation of SharePoint platform can result in and these range from dissatisfied users, misplaced design elements to several performance issues which might wreck your collaboration platform too.
First Thing First
Before we get into the depth of SharePoint customisation, let’s understand the user scenarios which are included in the same. The user roles may vary according to the type of the workforce you have and the functionalities which you want to introduce in the environment:
These employees are infrequent SharePoint users and they mostly play around with the basic features only. They are least concerned about the entire functioning of the collaboration platform and in majority cases they don’t modify the existing workflows/processes in the business.
This employee section work on SharePoint more frequently and rigorously when compared with the casual users. They are not high-level programmers but have adequate knowledge of the business processes and have ideas as in what changes can be introduced in existing processes to achieve the set business goals.
This set of employees manage one or more SharePoint sites.
This section of your workforce typically plays a major role in implementing the ideas of power users. They have the power to make alterations in the standard environment and introduce features which add value to the existing business workflows.
Microsoft SharePoint apparently offers ample customisation opportunities and flexibilities but there are certain business processes which can’t be improved without high-level programming and therefore only developers should be given the task of coding and customising the SharePoint platform.
Adaptable Customisation Practices for Microsoft SharePoint
In my experience of deploying SharePoint for companies, I have noticed that most of them utilise document libraries and custom lists. Customisation of these two functionalities is easy and can be done by making them in either the public or personal view. You can rebrand your entire SharePoint environment, individual sites or webpages by using SharePoint designer. Branding or modifying the existing working pattern can become complex and complicated at any instance and hence it should be managed strictly by the developers. Since SharePoint is highly flexible, it is evident that even the developers might get confused while customising it. To avoid such situations, you can follow certain practices such as:
Customisation Practice #1: Pay extra attention when customising Microsoft SharePoint on-premise platform
Hosting a SharePoint platform at your facility does open an arena of flexibilities and possibilities when it comes to customisation. You can use any SharePoint framework and introduce any level of customisation. You can integrate SharePoint with other applications and create databases as well. However, your entire SharePoint customisation plan just crashes if you accidentally use the wrong list or your SharePoint platform is due for a platform or a security upgrade. A tiny alteration in the highly customised environment will tremendously increase your downtime and performance problems. Therefore, even if you are a developer, be diligent while customising SharePoint on-premise platform.
Customisation Practice #2: Unleash the potential of SharePoint customisation by utilising its integration with PowerApps and Flow
SharePoint and PowerApps integration has definitely enabled us to create apps even when we have low coding knowledge. The integration with Flow has empowered us to push the data into the required database without writing any code. There are other customisation templates that enables all the Office 365 power users to add as many elements as they require. And the best part is you can implement all these solutions without any formal testing process. The integration has little or no effect of the Microsoft’s regular updates but be careful if you have added custom codes to the connectors since such arrangement can alter your regular SharePoint settings.
Customisation Practice #3: Create governance policies for your Office 365 or Microsoft SharePoint environment
Since customised SharePoint platform forms a significant part of your business, it is necessary for you to control your employees’ accessibility to its coding and backend framework. I advise you to set the governance rules in a manner that the access rights are given on basis of the user profiles. To avert risks, you can also create a process which sends you an automatic notification when any of your employees whether a developer or a site administrator tries to alter any part of your SharePoint environment.
Customisation Practice #4: Introduce bot in your SharePoint environment to get intended customisation
There are a plenty of options available in the bots market allowing you to give the required customised touch to the end user experience. Some of the bots have the capability to offer customisation through the Microsoft Flow connectors. One of the main benefits of bringing bots to customise SharePoint is the ease of use and the interactive environment which is created by them.
Increased adoption of AI, bots, integration of Office 365 applications with other software is certainly pointing to a future filled with unlimited possibilities of SharePoint customisations. All of these will be aimed solely to simplify workflows, enhance efficiency and augment productivity. To introduce these customisations without an expert can be tricky and cause an irreversible damage to your existing system. Well, if you have any such requirement where introducing out of the box functionalities for your SharePoint environment caters to your business needs, then Exigo Tech is your pick.
We, being a Microsoft partner, understand the technicalities of the Microsoft solutions and offer you the best solution whether it is related to customisation of a standard product or integration of two different applications. We host workshops and sessions to get a brief insight of your business process and then suggest an apt solution for you. To arrange one such session at your organisation, give us a call today!