Opinion – Are SharePoint Spaces Worth the Business Effort?

by | Jan 5, 2021 | Collaboration | 0 comments

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. 

https://www.exploresharepointspaces.com/ 

Neat stuff, but then I started to think about how businesses would use this functionality.  Does it make sense for non-technical “Power Users” to spend time learning to effectively create and display content in this method?   

What are SharePoint Spaces?

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. 

Getting the basic components in place is straight-forward: 

  1. Create a Communications Site. 
  2. Enable the Spaces feature from the Site Settings/Site Features page.

  3. From the HOME page New dropdown, select the Space option.

  4. Choose a Structure and give the page a name.  

  5. Click the Create button. 

Here’s the first problem…

The new page is created.  The basic controls to edit the page and add properties are like those in a “regular” modern page.  I won’t bore you on specific steps since Microsoft provides plenty of documentation on this: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/sharepoint-spaces.    

When I want to modify the Image on my Space, I find I’ve got 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 (MS provides info on some of the basics), but it means that as a Power User or Content Editor in a business, now I have to either have someone make these files for me 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 MS does a pretty good job with their how-to’s.

 

Bottom line, is it worth it?

From a business use standpoint, does SharePoint Spaces add value?   I think it 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. 

I’m not 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. 

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