As SharePoint administrators, it’s our responsibility to provide our team with the tools they need to get their job done in an efficient and effective way. When team members need to create new communication or modern team sites in SharePoint, it may take more than a few steps to properly configure the site for a routine task or to ensure the new site meets organizational requirements.
A cohesive SharePoint strategy should require consistency across sites, and in most cases, sites should follow a set of guidelines. Site Designs makes this process a breeze.
What are Site Designs?
Site Designs acts as a templating engine, helping you ensure a set of requirements, expectations, and actions will occur each time a particular site design is applied to a site. Site Designs may be applied when a new site is being provisioned, as well as any time thereafter.
How do site designs drive value to your business?
1) Enables Control of Site Creation Outcomes
Site designs give you control to tailor each SharePoint site to your organization’s specific needs in a repeatable, reliable process. You can create templated site experiences with specific components, structure, and storage as necessary.
For example, one of our education clients’ HR team required templated team sites that were specific to job openings, utilizing unique structural requirements, different from other sites. Site designs allowed us to create templates that were specific to their business use cases and scenarios.
Site Designs are constructed to accomplish specific goals such as setting the theme, configuring lists and document libraries, predefining metadata, setting common security scenarios, and more. However, if there’s something a site design cannot do, you can also extend the templating processes through a supported external hook mechanism such as Microsoft Flow.
2) Empowers Power Users to Do More
Using site designs, common site-owner requests may be available via the browser at the click of a button, without additional support from IT. Tasks such as enabling or disabling external sharing or enabling SharePoint Framework extensions that often require IT support may be built using site designs. Power users can then use these site designs without the need of additional resources, removing roadblocks, and saving everyone’s time.
Site Designs may be targeted to specific people or groups of people as well, ensuring that only the properly trained site owners may apply a given site design.
3) Ensures Consistency
Site Designs empower your team while ensuring that new sites are created and pre-configured in a consistent manner. By providing your team with a template of what you expect, it not only helps you rest easy knowing it’s done right, but they are given the tools they need to be consistent in their day-to-day work.
Further, specific site designs your organization highlights as default site designs may be automatically applied every time either a default team site or communication site is created.
4) Saves Time
Let’s be honest, time is money. Creating a new blank team site takes up valuable time and leaves room for inconsistencies which can translate into major pitfalls. If a site is not set up correctly it can result in any number of issues from the wrong statement of work being sent to a client, to a co-worker spending hours on the wrong version of a proposal.
Because site designs can be reapplied, as well as multiple site designs may be applied to the same site, you can also save time by adding new branding or new doc library once and then reapplying it to all current sites.
Site designs also free up IT time by empowering users to get more done, and because it is such a user-friendly tool, it decreases training costs as well.
5) Prepares You for the Future
Microsoft makes it clear that Site Designs are the supported method for creating SharePoint sites when a templated approach is required to target your business scenarios. In other words, Site Designs are the way of the future.
You should follow Microsoft’s best practices whenever possible to ensure the longevity of your solution, and your ability to leverage the new features and upgrades Microsoft is investing in bringing down the line.
Here at PixelMill, we have had huge client successes when utilizing Site Designs. Are you ready to empower your team, free up IT’s valuable time, and provide tailored solutions your team will use and love? A PixelMill team member would love to chat with you today!