MVP Take: How do organizations use and extend SharePoint?

3 min read
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We sat down with three of our Microsoft MVPs Tobias Zimmergren, Erwin van Hunen, and Waldek Mastykarz to talk about using and extending SharePoint. What follows is an intriguing conversation which forms the basis for this MVP blog series special.

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Erwin van Hunen is a Microsoft 5 year MVP, Microsoft Certified Master, and Microsoft Certified Solutions Master and works at Rencore. He is currently a Rencore product Owner and a core member of the SharePoint Patterns and Practices (PnP) team.

Erwin: “I feel there are two parts to this question, and this has a little bit to do with how organizations are using SharePoint. I come from a consulting background where people have run SharePoint on-premises for a long time. It has always been a platform for them to customize, change and tweak for their needs. In the last couple of years, in consultancy, Office 365 became much bigger, especially in Sweden.

The answer to the question: how do organizations use SharePoint? Was do not customize, leave it as it is. So, it depends on what platform you’re using. Often, on-premises is heavily customized, and sometimes, to the point that I thought it’s probably too much. Whereas in the cloud a much lower level of customization is happening. You can customize but you customize with the ‘out of the box’ functionality that is given to you.”

Waldek Mastykarz is a 10 year Microsoft Office Development MVP and Product Owner at Rencore. He reinforces our product development and is also a member of the SharePoint PnP Core Team

Waldek: “I’ve seen it go to another extreme. In the past, I used to build internet sites for SharePoint, and the one thing that you want your internet site to look like is nothing like SharePoint. It has to be a unique site, your brand. The site needs to express the organization’s brand, core values, and company ethos. Imagine now wanting to do that in SharePoint. Well, you don’t use anything that comes out of the box because you want it to be yours and so you extend everything as much as you can. Sometimes, you may be bending products in ways they were not meant to be bent. Luckily, over time, that has changed.”

Tobias Zimmergren is a 10 year Microsoft MVP and works as product Owner at Rencore. He plans, architects and develops software and distributed cloud systems.

Tobias “Where I come from my experiences are similar to Erwin’s. For many customers, extending SharePoint was very important for branding, but there were a lot of people also doing it to support business processes internally. It could be simple things like time management or more complex actions to comply with your document management routines. For example, customized lists and how they interacted, where you sent your data. This has been part of SharePoint on- premises for a very long time.

Support for most of the business processes that we did in the past are now also in the cloud, just a little bit different. So, a lot of the things we used to do we can still do in the cloud but it happens that little bit differently today, and a lot of the people I talk to have gone away from the opinion of it needs to look and feel exactly the way we want it. Branding is super important, but I think the support for business processes will remain one of the crucial things for SharePoint.”

Lee Sellen

Lee is the Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Rencore. He writes about a broad array of topics ranging from corporate, solution and product news to high-level SharePoint and Office 365 governance, modernization and risk topics. Lee is in charge of Rencore's research and reports unit aiming to gain new insights into how users work with SharePoint and Office 365. A passionate writer in all areas, he also covers Rencore events, webinars and other online activities.