SharePoint Framework (SPFx) is a page and web part model that provides full support for client-side SharePoint development. It massively improves Sharepoint optimization, which is key to the user experience. A well-designed Enterprise Content Management system (ECM) allows the correct information to be readily accessible to the correct functions and institutional memory to be retained. It supports the increasing demand for remote work and edge-accessible data.
A modern enterprise application such as SharePoint is highly customizable. However, we so often identify missed opportunities – from customization to training, with SharePoint-adoption strategies.
The client’s challenge was multifaceted. Northwell Health had an existing ECM system in SharePoint 2010. Northwell Health is New York State’s largest healthcare provider and private employer. With a staffing complement of over 74,000 employees in 2020, Northwell required excellent infrastructure and content management.
Feeling that engagement with the SharePoint transition was below their expectations, Northwell wished to improve the SharePoint user experience (UX). Also, with an increase in remote working demands, Northwell wanted such improvements to include upgrading the ECM to leverage a mobile-friendly interface.
SoHo’s solution integrated Northwell’s SharePoint ECM with Microsoft’s 365 (M365). In this way, Northwell was able to retain all the benefits of a robust SharePoint environment. SoHo retained and improved aspects of the existing ECM, such as:
- Custom visual studio workflows – configured as one mega enterprise, with several smaller setups
- Skyscraper forms – improved the UX, making forms more intuitive and requiring fewer clicks
- Custom workflows optimized for logging and instances tracking
- Metadata – retagging to consolidate the set
- Extension to the customizations via Cabinet files (WSP solutions)
- 50 custom pages managing 30,000+ documents
- Threshold limit increased on libraries
With the UX as a key requirement, the SoHo team worked to improve both the look and feel and the underlying workflow structures. These UX improvements utilized:
- Modern pages, bringing responsive browser support
- The SharePoint Framework (SPFx) solutions- Modern design
- Office Fabric UI – to optimize pages for each device so as to apply best practices to SharePoint modern pages.
- Workflows – SPFx API, Azure web app services, so replacing SharePoint Designer workflows
- Flow- leveraging M365’s PowerAutomate
SharePoint Framework (SPFx) Improves the UX
A default SharePoint 2010 setup can be jarring for the inexperienced user, especially when accessed over a mobile device. SoHo customized the SharePoint environment using specific toolsets that improve the interface. This included creating customized SPFx, integrating with the SPFx API for modern design.
A fluid framework was applied to ensure responsive device optimization – a critical factor in user experience. To achieve this, SoHo Dragon utilized the Office Fabric UI to work with the react framework.
Migrating the Data
Such large projects have many moving parts. To achieve a live migration that impacted Northwell’s employees’ access to vital information with the minimum of disruption required careful planning. The migration tools we applied include:
- Visual Studio – Scripts
- Console applications
Northwell Health is now in possession of a fully customized and optimized HIPAA-compliant ECM. All unnecessary legacy technology was removed. And, a fully integrated SharePoint and Microsoft 365 installation provided. The UX was greatly improved with responsive pages fed to all devices.
SharePoint Framework (SPFx) is a Sound Investment
Workflows are optimized to reduce approval steps that were originally over-engineered and, with list data normalized M365 – a supported platform and a faster approval process, which improved the perception of SharePoint as a modern enterprise application.
In many ways, SharePoint can give the same impression as German engineering – very good, but not very intuitive… SoHo’s optimizations fix this perception.