27.5% of organizations feel large-scale migration to the public cloud in 2020 was “essential for survival”.
– International Data Corporation (IDC) Survey in 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting digital-first business practices, including remote and hybrid working, have led to a massive exodus of organizations from on-premise environments to Microsoft 365. As the most popular platform for intranets, content management, and online collaboration, SharePoint Online is an essential part of Microsoft 365’s powerful suite of productivity solutions.
Why SharePoint Application Development is Important?
And a vital part of SharePoint’s appeal has always come from its potential to be expanded upon, taking the functionality of the platform to even greater heights. SharePoint is often likened by experts to the popular Lego. Just like the world’s most popular toy, users can unbox, follow instructions, and utilize SharePoint’s ‘building blocks’ to build their environment in a way that’s most suitable for the organization. SharePoint allows the creation of extensions, customizations, and applications to streamline, enhance and automate business processes.
Today, the need for SharePoint custom applications is explosive. Such solutions allow an organization to increase productivity, reduce costs, remove operational silos, enhance reporting, and stay competitive in the intensely competitive marketplace. As a result, most organizations are investing heavily in SharePoint application development.
Best Practices for SharePoint Online Application Development
SharePoint Online application development, when done right, can add a lot of value and make the platform even more relevant for the organization. However, mistakes in application development have the potential to turn the platform into a confusing mess. Therefore, organizations need to adopt the best practices of SharePoint Online application development and strategize likewise.
#1: Be Careful with SharePoint On-Premise Applications
Organizations have endless app development possibilities when they host their own platform. They can build their own applications that interact with any level of the SharePoint framework. They can also create their own integrations with databases, other applications, and services with endless possibilities. However, Microsoft 365 and SharePoint Online within it is centrally managed by Microsoft, and organizations don’t get as much control over the platform’s code as you do for an on-premise environment. And this means most of the on-premise apps would not work on the cloud. SharePoint on-premise applications such as full trust farm solutions, sandboxed solutions, and applications with certain code types (such as SharePoint Object Model, .DLLs, .EXEs, .WSPs, etc.) would most definitely not work in the cloud environment. The functionalities of the few that make it through might be affected when new updates are rolled out. As a result, organizations have to stay prepared to rebuild their applications swiftly. SharePoint No-code solutions, such as QuickApps, can help in this cause.
#2: Leverage Power Platform to Expand the Potential of SharePoint
SharePoint in Microsoft 365 through its deep integration with Microsoft Power Platform enables organizations to take their SharePoint app development to the next level. Power Platform empowers organizations to analyze data, build solutions, and automate processes. Organizations can bring together business-critical data residing in various SharePoint lists, libraries, sites, site collections, and external sources by leveraging Power BI’s capabilities. While Power Apps delivers organizations with the power to turn data insights into impactful low-code solutions. Further, intelligent workflows can be implemented to automate processes and boost productivity by utilizing Power Automate. Power Platform fosters innovation among the end-users. Employees can build their apps with limited assistance from IT or developers. However, to simplify and accelerate app development even further organizations can adopt a No-code solution. QuickApps is a No-code SharePoint app development and process automation solution that users to build impactful apps without any coding or developer dependence. Read our blog on Top Benefits of No-code SharePoint Application Development to learn more on this topic.
#3: Create Governance Policies to Protect & Optimize SharePoint Data
SharePoint Online apps are powered by tons of business-critical and even sensitive information. Therefore, it is necessary to control the employees’ accessibility to its coding and backend framework. Towards this, Microsoft 365 delivers a range of security and governance features to organizations. Utilizing such features, organizations can create access rights based on user profiles. To avert risks, administrators can create a process wherein an automatic notification is triggered when any employee whether a developer or a site administrator tries to alter any part of the SharePoint environment. Data cleansing is another important aspect of governance, and Microsoft 365 allows the administrators to define retention policy. By selecting the right retention policy organizations can keep their SharePoint Online environment clutter-free and vital. At AgreeYa, we can help you assess, understand and establish governance policies to contain content sprawl, keep internal data safe, manage permissions and access levels.
#4: Empower Users to Innovate
SharePoint Online apps help the employees perform their daily tasks better and faster, delivering enhanced productivity to the management. However, since its inception SharePoint app development is a task that has been driven by the IT department. But given their priorities and backlogs, the department struggles to keep pace with the SharePoint application demands of the users. Thus, the users have to wait for months to get what they need. This leads to a loss of interest for users and unrealized ROI for business owners. Luckily, the Low- and No-code app development solutions are changing this scenario by enabling business users to build their apps. By implementing proper governance policies, the management can now afford to empower business experts and open up the app development process. With an ever-expanding user base, QuickApps enables organizations to establish an innovation-driven corporate culture.
#5: Enhance Discoverability of SharePoint Data with a Chatbot
Chatbots have been around for many years now and have been automating various support service processes. During the initial days of Pandemic, when many organizations had to make a hurried transition to Microsoft 365, many organizations leveraged Bots to manage change and transition seamlessly to the cloud. Chatbots can be easily integrated with Teams and SharePoint Online. And upon implementation, the virtual agents allow users to discover SharePoint data and locate utility apps better. Chatbots deliver enterprise knowledge at the employee’s fingertips. Towards this, AgreeYa’s AI-powered Chatbot for 365 is a self-learning, voice-enabled, multi-lingual, and scalable solution that can be deployed easily to SharePoint department sites. The solution has already enabled many organizations to minimize time spent searching for information on SharePoint.
Increased adoption of AI, Chatbots, integration of Microsoft 365 applications with other software is certainly pointing towards a future filled with endless SharePoint application development possibilities. All of these will be aimed solely to streamline work, enhance efficiency and augment productivity. AgreeYa can help you introduce the abovementioned best practices through our years of SharePoint expertise and our innovative No-code solution – QuickApps. Contact us now.
Associate Director – Product Development
Amit Gupta plays a key role in incubating and establishing best SharePoint practices at AgreeYa. He is closely associated with the Product Development and Delivery team and works to find new solutions based on Microsoft technology and optimize performance and responsiveness for our clients. He can be reached at email@example.com