Sharepoint Customization Guide (What To Know & Hidden Costs)

Oct 2022
5
Mins read

SharePoint customization is difficult. To help you avoid the common frustrations that most SharePoint users face, we've decided to answer some questions about the process of customizing SharePoint, including tips, tricks, and hidden costs.

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Nearly every implementation of SharePoint involves some customizations. While simple customizations can be completed in just a few hours, more complex ones can take weeks or even months to develop and implement. These customizations can include the design and implementation of specific menus or search tools, integrations with other apps your team uses from day to day, or even beautifying the SharePoint interface to make it easier to navigate or more cohesive with your company's branding.

Of course, customization comes at a cost, and the amount you need to spend to get SharePoint to work for you can sometimes be exorbitant. In this post, we discuss hidden costs, as well as customization tips and tricks, so you can reduce common issues and frustrations that arise for SharePoint users.

Why Do Mid-Sized and Enterprise Organizations Need SharePoint Customization?

As the size of a company climbs to 100+ employees, it's important to have tools in place that can keep everyone on the same page. SharePoint is a system designed to enable effective collaboration between individuals and teams, making it a tool that many mid-size and enterprise organizations have adopted.

SharePoint Customization Tips

Unfortunately, SharePoint isn't an out-of-the-box solution, which means for it to work well, it needs to be customized. To customize SharePoint, you need to understand how to create custom workflows and write custom code to build your interface and page layout the way you want to see it. If that's not something that's already within your wheelhouse, you'll likely want to work with an IT professional who knows the ins and outs of the SharePoint framework and its customization capabilities.

Before you get started, it's important to determine exactly what you want to get out of your SharePoint server. The tips below can help you determine what customizations you might want to focus on first

Branding, Design and Interface

Work with a professional SharePoint designer to help you build an internal system that represents your company seamlessly. You can customize everything from colors and styles to page layouts and landing pages on your SharePoint server to make it look and feel the exact way you want it to.

Navigation and Search

You and your team can find the files you need more easily by building out custom menus and search tools within SharePoint. You can add or remove links in the left-hand navigation menu, build an extended navigation tool that extends beyond SharePoint's original capabilities or customize the header and footer menus to accommodate the needs of your business.

Webpage Layouts

SharePoint allows you to create your own custom layouts for internal webpages, as well as add custom widgets to your webpage from other parts of the web, including Bing, Microsoft News, file viewers, and image galleries.

Enhanced Communication Tools

Help your employees stay in touch with customized chatbots, content personalization and employee portals that give your team access to internal news and help them feel a greater sense of connection to your company.

Form Customizations

SharePoint enables you to create and publish custom forms. These forms can be useful for employee or customer surveys, or for gathering data from new team members. When utilizing a classic SharePoint site, you can do this with Infopath designer 2013; however, modern SharePoint sites require a more modern solution, such as PowerApps or MS Forms.

Workflows

You can use SharePoint to build customized workflows that can handle tasks like document approval, calculations, and analytics. This level of customization often requires the help of a professional or a deep understanding of Microsoft Flow, Visual Studio and SharePoint Designer.

The Hidden Costs of SharePoint Customization

Although SharePoint is customizable and free to use as an out-of-the-box solution, making it work for you can be a considerable investment.

There are several hidden costs to consider when you plan to customize the SharePoint environment so that it can accommodate your company's business processes.

Manhours

While SharePoint can be an effective solution when it comes to team collaboration, it's only useful if your employees are able to grab the information they need from it efficiently. If they're spending too much time searching for documents on the SharePoint Server, connecting SharePoint online sites with Office 365, or simply trying to get their SharePoint site to load and operate as needed, it's time to think about whether SharePoint is eating into your labor costs.

Customization & Maintenance

Expertise is an issue that many organizations face while using SharePoint. In fact, 51% of users say they lack what’s necessary to maximize the application’s use within their organizations, and that’s because SharePoint nearly always requires some level of customization to make it operate as an effective business tool. 

This process often requires IT professionals to build custom themes that make your SharePoint pages easier to navigate or to write specific codes to make them work the way you need them to. Hiring IT experts tacks on a significant expense when considering your SharePoint budget.

Once you've got SharePoint looking, feeling, and operating the way you want it to, which could take anywhere from a few days to a few months or more, you'll still need to pay an in-house IT team or an outsourced IT service to maintain the system for you.

Choosing CentricMinds Intranet Platform

CentricMinds intranet platform can provide you with the tools you need to make collaboration, automation, and document management easy—without the need for customization.

  • Integrated document management: Integrate CentricMinds with the tools you already use, including Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, and Office 365, so you and your team can find the files and documents you need from a single, centralized platform.
  • Effective collaboration: Share documents, track revision histories, and make it possible for team members to work within the same documents simultaneously for seamless collaboration between your employees.
  • Improved team communication: In-app messaging, team broadcasts, and comprehensive team directory tools help you keep everyone in touch and on the same page.
  • No-code workflow automation: Put more time back into your day with simple automations that don't require coding or IT expertise to set up.

Need a little more knowledge? 

Check out the Glossary to help you understand industry jargon and ideas

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