What can SharePoint Spaces bring to your organisation?

In today's working environment, leading businesses are harnessing new technology trends to optimise everyday processes and set them up for growth. Below Conall O'Kane, Storm's Modern Workplace Team Lead explores Microsoft's SharePoint Spaces, a newer feature of SharePoint, and how it could fit into your organisation.

The author of this page: Conall O'Kane
Conall O'Kane, Modern Workplace Team Lead Feb 19, 2021

First launched in the first part of 2020, SharePoint Spaces is still relatively new to many businesses. SharePoint Spaces is a new feature on SharePoint Online which allows users to create immersive environments on the platform using 2D assets, 3D assets, 360° photo and videos to create mixed reality experiences. 

Mixed reality is the combining of reality with virtual elements using technology that allows users to be fully immersed in a new reality or environment. From within SharePoint users can have a complete experience with 360-degree backgrounds and sounds where they can interact with 3D objects and stored photos, documents, and videos. This allows end-users to have a rich set of interactions that were not possible on the platform previously without the need to invest in intricate standalone solutions. Additionally, users do not require coding skills or game engine experience to create these immersive experiences from items stored within SharePoint folders.

Mixed or virtual reality is a technology that is often thought to be something that will be more widely used in the future, with many considering it at present to be too complex and expensive to use in a business setting. However, with this type of technology starting to become more used across the medical and education sector, the benefit of incorporating this technology into businesses is already being seen. Further, end-users are becoming more familiar with this type of technology experience so the trend will continue to rise and spread across many industries as they try and incorporate it where possible.

SharePoint Spaces is the start of Microsoft integrating new 3D and mixed reality experiences into its tools, particularly Microsoft 365. SharePoint Spaces is a cross-platform service that supports a range of mixed reality devices and web-browsers allowing creators to create custom experiences in 360. The creation is completely secured in the organisation's Microsoft 365 environment and can be safely shared. A further benefit of having these capabilities on a Microsoft platform is the integration abilities that come with this, including third-party web parts that can be integrated using the SharePoint framework.

Although this new technology is growing in popularity, businesses may still be sceptical as to how it can be applied in their organisation to deliver benefit. Upon announcing SharePoint Spaces, Microsoft revealed some use cases for the technology.

Onboarding

SharePoint Spaces can be particularly useful when it comes to employee onboarding by allowing them to be introduced and explore the organisation in a virtual way. The type of experience you provide can range from navigating visualised organisational charts to 3D-office maps or tours to help new joiners be more familiar, quicker. It can also be effective when used for organisational-wide announcements, events, or employee recognition and awards which will continue to keep engagement for ongoing activities.

Data Visualisation

One of the more obvious uses for SharePoint Spaces is data visualisation. Creating 3D charts can be more engaging and impactful than typical reporting formats. These can easily be incorporated into your monthly reporting cycles to make meeting presentations or performance reviews easier to assess.

Learning

Following the surge in uptake of mixed and virtual reality in the education sector, SharePoint Spaces can also aid organisations in helping their employees expand their learning. SharePoint Spaces can host many learning programs or be a medium for immersive training. Corporate training and sessions can be set up in SharePoint Spaces to make the learning process more enjoyable for employees.

Product Development

SharePoint Spaces can be a great medium to allow organisations to focus on product management, design, and development. Although professional product developers or departments often have more dedicated tools, SharePoint Spaces can be helpful for smaller organisations looking to expand into this. It can be particularly useful and compelling to use when presenting the concept to third parties.

Product or Sales Catalog

Another use case and one that is often applicable to more organisations is the use of SharePoint Spaces for product catalogs or to support sales. SharePoint Spaces is a tool that can make these offerings more attractive for the end-users. Showcasing offerings this way enables customers to discover products in detail and in a more immersive way. SharePoint Spaces can also act as an alternative to an e-commerce site by using a mixed reality showroom.

If your organisation would like to explore the possibilities of SharePoint Spaces for your business, contact us to speak to one of Storm’s SharePoint specialists today!

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