SharePoint Customization Guide, Scope & Benefits

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Microsoft SharePoint is designed to meet and satisfy your basic needs of communication and collaboration. However, as soon as business organizations implement the solutions, they soon start to look beyond core functionalities. For instance, some companies may want to customize menus or dashboards or may want to integrate their SharePoint solution with third-party software. With MS SharePoint, all these customizations can be easily implemented with SharePoint Customizations. But, SharePoint Customization is one of the sore areas when it comes to this platform, mainly because of the risks, complexities, and limitations involved.

Based on the SharePoint expertise and on-hand experience of 10+ years with SharePoint implementations, Code Creators Inc. has analyzed all the important areas related to SharePoint Customizations, including both the limitations, scope, benefits and opportunities.

Why Do You Need SharePoint Customizations? – The Benefits of SharePoint Customizations

SharePoint’s customization capabilities enable you to create a wide variety of solutions that can be better adapted by the already existing process of the companies. In other words, SharePoint customizations make the platform better suited to your business requirements. These solutions may include a portal, intranet, document management system, contract management system, knowledge management system, help desk, ticketing or system for learning management, etc. Below, we have listed some of the customization examples that you can also adopt for your recent business projects.

  • Cloud intranet redesign and customization.
  • Portal customization for the transparent performance management system.
  • Portal customization for streamlined news management.
  • Customization of intranet portal according to project management solution.

 

However, the extent of customization is subject to the type of solution that you choose. Since MS SharePoint was initially designed to meet content management requirements in the first place; it requires fewer customizations for deploying a DMS (Document Management System) as compared to developing and implementing a help desk system.

Whether an enterprise already has a SharePoint solution in use or is only considering implementing a SharePoint-based solution, customization options in SharePoint provide them with countless opportunities to resolve their business challenges and issues.

User Resistance to Collaboration & Productivity Tool – SharePoint customizations help you to create intuitive UI and UX to encourage your employees to use the platform actively.

Insufficient Employee Performance– With SharePoint customizations, you can complement a SharePoint solution with advanced functionalities. For instance, AI boosts

Disintegrated Workflows – SharePoint’s integration with other tools can help you streamline your business process, whereas customizations make sure that the integrated system is working smoothly. For instance, integration of SharePoint with CRM allows you to automate data insertion from CRM into the SharePoint contract template, which helps in avoiding contract duplication and manual data entry between two systems.

Difficulty in Transfer Workflows & Data to New Technical Settings – SharePoint customization is required to ensure seamless transfer of workflows and content and personalized features when migrating from a SharePoint solution to the cloud or to a newer version.

Obligation to Meet Regulatory Compliance – SharePoint customizations allow creating a hybrid SharePoint environment by connecting the features and deployment of SharePoint Online and SharePoint On-Premise. For instance, it is relevant for healthcare organizations that store their routine documents in the cloud, however, they are bound to meet state and federal compliance regulations such as HIPAA to store information of patients on the server.

Scope of SharePoint Customizations

What Can Be Customized?

SharePoint elements that can be customized include the following;

Design SharePoint branding options cover modifications of SharePoint features such as styles, colors, landing pages, master pages, logos, page layouts, etc. This helps create a distinctive feel and look for promoting corporate culture across the brand and organization.

NavigationSharePoint customization also helps with navigations and allows users to quickly access the information they need. For instance, it enables editing, adding, and removing links on the left-hand side of the menu in your SharePoint team site, or the footer menu and top menu on the hub site or communication site. For instance, you can build a multi-level navigation system within employee portals and also set up navigation panels and quick links, which makes moving around simpler for employees across Office 365 apps and employee portals.

WorkflowsSharePoint customization enables the development of new and out-of-the-box workflows, for instance, for tax calculation. Also, SharePoint workflows can be used for document approval, signature collection, etc. You can use tools like Microsoft Flow, Visual Studio, and SharePoint Designer for creating customized SharePoint workflows.

Page Content SharePoint customization also allows you to create a tailored layout for web pages. Additionally, it is also possible to customize any SharePoint landing page by adding custom web parts to it such as (Bing, News, Events, File Viewer, Image Gallery, Maps, etc.) Furthermore, you can also add custom SharePoint add-ins such as to show employees’ office plans or workplaces or provide them with a weather update tec. Not only this, but SharePoint solutions also offer multilingual support, smart search, content personalization, advanced reports and analytics, chatbots, and many other valuable options.

FormsSharePoint custom forms for quizzes, surveys, and polls can be created by using MS Forms and PowerApps. For instance, MS Forms can also be used for assessing employee satisfaction, collecting customer/partner feedback, and also for organizing corporate events, etc. These custom forms are already embedded on SharePoint pages.

How Much Can Be Customized?

SharePoint’s deployment types could be different and they define the extent to which you can avail customization abilities;

SharePoint Online or Cloud Deployment – In the SharePoint Online environment, there is no server-side code available, and that’s why the client-side code is used customization. In SharePoint Online, you can carry out customizations by using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. For instance, SharePoint Online customization may include creating workflow or policies for automatically deleting older or outdated files by setting a ‘Review Workflow’, as soon as the predefined period is over.

SharePoint On-Premise or Server Deployment – In SharePoint Server settings, there are both server-side code and client-side code. The server-side code basically runs on the SharePoint servers, whereas the client-side code runs on the browser. In SharePoint Server, the availability of the server-side code made the customization process limitless. For instance, it allows creating of personalized notifications that can be automatically sent to the manager or other authorized employees in case of any breach of the Service Level Agreement.

Companies that do not use SharePoint solutions or haven’t decided upon having the platform deployment, must consider the extent to which they can customize the platform’s features in order to go beyond the basic functionalities, because this may impact their choice. However, if you are already using SharePoint, you can choose their functionalities as per their deployments.

SharePoint Customizations Limitations & Risks

Customization opportunities for SharePoint come hand in hand with a number of risks and limitations;

High Costs & Long Duration – You can always enrich your SharePoint experience with third-party integrations, custom themes, complex workflows, etc. but it can essentially increase its implementation time. Also, there is much time required to test a customized solution and validate it that whether it is properly working with the business processes as desired or not. SharePoint customizations are expensive and they can bring up the cost of up to $20,000 to the project additionally.

Modern Experience Restrictions – Modern SharePoint sites do not allow customizing the styles sheet or master page. As a result, it is not possible to shift the position of navigation elements on the page, because it is only possible in classic SharePoint sites. Besides, there are many custom themes and add-ins that require users to stick on to the classic SharePoint server experience. This deprives SharePoint Online users of many new functionalities that are offered by modern SharePoint pages, lists, and libraries.

Upgrading Issues – Updates of SharePoint Online could bring many compatibility issues to the existing customizations. For instance, a personalized feel and look may not seem similar after the new updates are released. The same concern goes for the third-party web parts that you picked up from the SharePoint store. This means that you are compelled to only choose the web parts that are compatible with potential SharePoint changes.

Lack of Relevant Technical Expertise – Finding the right technical SharePoint experts is not an easy job. You must hire a professional and qualified specialist for SharePoint customizations. Also, you need to make sure that your in-house technical team is also supportive, skilled, and compatible to manage SharePoint customizations.

Migration Implications – Migration from a tailored on-premise SharePoint solution to the cloud could be very challenging because it requires redevelopment to adjust to the new environment. For instance, some SharePoint workflows require to be redesigned before migrating to the SharePoint cloud.

Decreased Performance – SharePoint customizations can also cause page errors and performance issues in the SharePoint environment. For example, changing the feel and look of your portal may result in slow page loading. Hence, it is very important to ensure the fact that the custom code is clean and it does not impact the overall performance.

Conclusion

SharePoint provides many customization options for creating workflows and designs and other digital workplace elements to suit users’ requirements. Companies that are already using basic SharePoint functionalities can use the solution to create diverse business solutions for managing their document, assets, policies, and also for help desk, ticketing, learning management, etc. Due to the remarkable flexibility of the platform, companies are making the best of their familiar environment and saving money on third-party tools at the same time. However, the downside of SharePoint customization mainly lies within the complexities of implementation and their high cost, potential compatibility, and required expertise in case of migration and upgrade to the cloud.

If you are looking for an expert SharePoint Customization Company, then contact Code Creators Inc. to avoid any complexity and hassle in the SharePoint customization and implementation process.