While SharePoint is a robust platform for collaboration and content management even out of the box, many enterprises prefer to customize it to use additional capabilities beyond its core functionalities. Customizing SharePoint allows organizations to add menus, modify dashboards, and even integrate other software applications for additional capabilities. However, customizing SharePoint adds complexity, increases risks, and has its limitations. In this article, let us explore the important considerations for SharePoint customization.
Why Do Organizations Customize SharePoint?
Customizing SharePoint can help businesses solve a range of problems that cannot be tackled with the out-of-the-box solution. Here are some of the business problems that can be solved by customizing SharePoint.
- User experience can be enhanced to suit the requirements of the organization.
- Employee performance can be enhanced by adding functionality.
- Processes can be streamlined using customized workflows.
- The migration of content, workflows, and features can be simplified by customizing the existing solution.
- Compliance can be established by customizing certain components.
What Elements Can Be Customized in The SharePoint Environment?
While it is no longer possible to use custom code in versions such as SharePoint Online because of shared infrastructure, there are many ways in which the solution can be configured uniquely for an organization. Here are some of the most widely used customizations in the SharePoint environment.
You can make your SharePoint sites unique by making sitewide changes to logos, colors, styles, and layouts. This important customization is useful for differentiating sites. You can choose from a wide range of themes. While the classic SharePoint sites allowed admins to customize branding, themes, and page layouts, many of these capabilities are not available on modern SharePoint sites that are faster and more mobile-friendly.
You can customize the position of the navigational elements to facilitate content discovery. You can place links in appropriate places so that users can find information quickly. Additionally, the streamlined model for navigation in modern SharePoint sites optimizes the position of navigation elements based on screen size, type of site, and other factors.
Modern SharePoint sites provide editable regions on different parts of the page along with the ability to manage layouts row-by-row. Users can add modern web parts to add custom content. With these options, SharePoint can be customized to add content in pages with different layouts.
Workflows can be configured and executed on SharePoint with Power Automate. As the default workflow engine, it can be used from the SharePoint interface to trigger actions and execute various tasks. Power Automate and SharePoint Designer workflows can be used for automating tasks such as updating a list item or requesting for approval.
SharePoint can be used for creating custom forms for various purposes, such as quizzes, feedback, surveys, and polls. With modern versions, users can use Microsoft Forms or Power Apps.
Users on older versions can create custom forms using InfoPath Forms Services.
What Are the Factors to Consider for SharePoint Customizations?
Customizing SharePoint involves certain risks and limitations. Here are some of the most important factors that have to be considered before customizing SharePoint.
- Adding third-party integrations, building custom workflows, and designing new themes can be expensive, time-consuming, and could require significant technical expertise.
- Modern SharePoint sites have much fewer customization options than the classic version. Similarly, many add-ins and themes that work well with classic sites might not function as expected on modern sites.
- While the customization itself could require technical expertise, organizations have to ensure that they have in-house capabilities to maintain them. The inability to do so could result in the loss of data and functionality when there are updates.
- Certain types of customizations can hurt performance. For example, too many changes to the user interface because of poorly written custom codes can reduce site speed.
- Migrations and upgrades can become complex as the customized web parts can have compatibility issues with other components that may have been modified, upgraded, or deprecated by Microsoft.
What Are the Challenges of Migrating SharePoint Customizations?
If you are planning to upgrade your existing SharePoint Server, you have to be mindful of the customization that you might have made on it. Here is what you need to consider before deciding to migrate your SharePoint customizations to a different version.
- Are you going to upgrade your on-premises solution to a later edition or migrate to SharePoint Online?
- Does your customization involve changes only to the client-side code or the server-side code as well?
- Are you using sandboxed solutions with code artifacts?
- Can you modernize the existing customizations and applications before migration?
- Are you using third-party integrations?
Based on these considerations, it must be noted that not all customizations can be migrated to a different version.
Apps4Rent Can Help with Hosted Dedicated SharePoint Servers for Customized SharePoint Environments
The deployment type, security factors, budget, and scope play important roles in deciding the extent of SharePoint environment customization. While some of these configurations can be made using sandbox solutions or SharePoint add-ins that can work with SharePoint Online, other customizations such as farm solutions and SharePoint framework require API access. These enterprise-level customizations are mostly used for SharePoint Servers that are more complex to manage. However, many organizations have to use their existing servers as SharePoint Online, and the newer versions do not support many of the features and customizations that they need. As a Tier 1 Microsoft CSP, Apps4Rent can host and manage dedicated SharePoint Servers for supporting customized SharePoint environments in our SSAE 16 compliant data centers. Contact our SharePoint experts available 24/7 via phone, chat, and email for affordable SharePoint plans and SharePoint migration assistance today.