Opinion: Are SharePoint Spaces Worth Business Effort?
SharePoint spaces can bring value to an organization.
In this blog, we analyze use cases of SharePoint Spaces and identify when we believe it’s worth the time and money and when it’s a headache best avoided.
What are SharePoint Spaces?
Microsoft released new functionality for SharePoint Online to create pages (spaces) with web parts that can display content and images in “3D” or “Virtual Reality (VR)” format.
This is a fascinating technology but thinking through how businesses would use this functionality is crucial. Does it make sense for non-technical “Power Users” to spend time learning to effectively create and display content in this method?
SharePoint Spaces is essentially a new type of Modern Experience site page that displays content in web parts that support three-dimensional appearing formats. Microsoft recommends using Communication sites as the location for SharePoint Spaces. Here are a few possible use cases:
- 3D content for customers, such as manufacturing processes, catalogs, etc. which are great for tradeshow/demo environments
- Virtually showcase facilities or plants without having to travel
- Advertise or recruit in an enhanced virtual environment
Getting the basic components in place is straightforward:
- Create a Communications Site.
- Enable the Spaces feature from the Site Settings/Site Features page.
- From the HOME page New dropdown, select the Space option.
- Choose a Structure and give the page a name.
- Click the Create button.
Here’s the First Problem…
A new page is created. The basic controls to edit the page and add properties are like those in a “regular” modern page. Microsoft has plenty of documentation of the specific steps to complete this here.
When an organization wants to modify the Image on their Space, they have to use the available default options or point to a “Custom 360 file.” This could be a virtual tour or multiple angle shots combined into a single file (Microsoft provides info on some of the basics), but it means that as a Power User or Content Editor in a business, they have to either have someone make these files for them or learn how to create these file types.
Probably an Even Bigger Issue…
Adding web parts to the Space brings the same issue: the content needed for most of the web parts is very 3D-specific and requires a fair amount of knowledge/expertise to create. The actual implementation of this specialized content is reasonably straight-forward, and Microsoft does a pretty good job with their how-tos.
Bottom Line, Is It Worth It?
From a business use standpoint, does SharePoint Spaces add value? We think this powerful tool can if:
- You have a need to present 3D images and video in order to run your business.
- You have scenarios where you want to draw interest by your users to a business event, situation, or news.
- You have access to meaningful 3D content or can create 3D content in a cost-effective manner.
We aren’t sure it’s worth learning Spaces if:
- It’s just a cool feature you want to show off.
- You can’t generate 3D content without a lot of extra work.
- 3D content doesn’t add value to your business processes and decisions.
This software can bring value to an organization, but if you answered yes to one or more of the bullet points above – it may be best to save the time and money setting up and developing SharePoint Spaces.
How Interlink Can Help
Have questions? Need help building a scalable platform? The experts at Interlink are able to guide you through the entire process and consider what’s best for your specific environment. Contact us today to get started!
About the author
Athena Barz is a Senior Consultant at Interlink. Located in the Detroit Market/Detroit suburbs, she has spent the bulk of her career directly supporting the Automotive Industry in Information Technology/Information Systems, technical, and engineering support-related positions. She specializes in SharePoint and is also known for her Business Analyst and Project Risk Assessment skills. Athena currently supports and has spent 22 years as a 365 Core Volunteer for 3 different chapters of Toys for Tots in the Central Michigan area. She is passionate about this cause and is instrumental to carry on the legacy and memory of her grandfather who founded these chapters.
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