Your Application Can Be Built on SharePoint in Microsoft 365

Many SharePoint users who have moved their infrastructure to Microsoft 365 are not aware of just how easy it is to amplify the benefit of SharePoint in Microsoft 365 through the development of custom applications.  Custom applications can be a great multiplier for Microsoft 365 because they uniquely tune the powerful feature set provided by the platform to your business.

List of 5

There are a number of options available to create applications in Microsoft 365.  The list below includes 5.  Many of these options are low complexity and require only site owner permissions.  Further in the list, the options become much more powerful and require additional permissions in SharePoint.

​SharePoint ‘Out of the Box’ Configuration

    • ​Example: ​Intranet site to allow users to easily find and watch training videos.
    • How to get started: You just need a SharePoint site and Site Owner permissions.

Workflow Applications

    • ​Example: Multi-user process for creating and approving purchase orders and invoices.
    • How to get started: You need a SharePoint site, and you will need Site Owner permissions.

Site Pages and Javascript Applications

    • ​Example: A site which presents training materials as videos or PowerPoint, with an associated quiz to facilitate learning.
    • How to get started: You need a SharePoint site and Site Owner permissions
      • Notice a pattern?  The first three techniques for developing custom applications are available for almost everyone.  These options are very powerful and can meet the needs of many complex business applications.

Windows Desktop and Click-Once Applications

    • ​Example: Custom application which creates price cards for cellular phones, in PDF format, utilizing list data stored and approved in SharePoint.
    • How to get started: You will need a SharePoint site and site owner permissions.  Users who will use the click-once application will need to have privileges to install new applications on their desktop.

SharePoint “Apps”

    • ​Example: Employee hiring and onboarding application for a major league sports team.
    • How to get started: You will need a SharePoint site, and you will need site collection administrator privileges.  You will also need an account in Microsoft Azure.  However, don’t get concerned about the need for Azure.  Azure is becoming more and more common across companies of all sizes, and it’s easy to get started if your company is not already using Azure.

Have you built on SharePoint or you are unsure if the application can be built in your Microsoft 365 environment?  Contact us or comment below.


SharePoint is a web application platform in the Microsoft Office server suite. Launched in 2001, SharePoint combines various functions which are traditionally separate applications: intranet, extranet, content management, document management, personal cloud, enterprise social networking, enterprise search, business intelligence, workflow management, web content management, and an enterprise application store. SharePoint servers have traditionally been deployed for internal use in mid-size businesses and large departments alongside Microsoft Exchange, Skype for Business, and Office Web Apps; but Microsoft’s ‘Microsoft 365’ software as a service offering (which includes a version of SharePoint) has led to increased usage of SharePoint in smaller organizations.

While Microsoft 365 provides SharePoint as a service, installing SharePoint on premises typically requires multiple virtual machines, at least two separate physical servers, and is a somewhat significant installation and configuration effort. The software is based on an n-tier service oriented architecture. Enterprise application software (for example, email servers, ERP, BI and CRM products) often either requires or integrates with elements of SharePoint. As an application platform, SharePoint provides central management, governance, and security controls. The SharePoint platform manages Internet Information Services (IIS) via form-based management tooling.

Since the release of SharePoint 2013, Microsoft’s primary channel for distribution of SharePoint has been Microsoft 365, where the product is continuously being upgraded. New versions are released every few years, and represent a supported snapshot of the cloud software. Microsoft currently has three tiers of pricing for SharePoint 2013, including a free version (whose future is currently uncertain). SharePoint 2013 is also resold through a cloud model by many third-party vendors. The next on-premises release is SharePoint 2016, expected to have increased hybrid cloud integration.

Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 is the brand name used by Microsoft for a group of software plus services subscriptions that provides productivity software and related services to its subscribers. For consumers, the service allows the use of Microsoft Office apps on Windows and OS X, provides storage space on Microsoft’s cloud storage service OneDrive, and grants 60 Skype minutes per month. For business and enterprise users, Microsoft 365 offers plans including e-mail and social networking services through hosted versions of Exchange Server, Skype for Business Server, SharePoint and Office Online, integration with Yammer, as well as access to the Office software.

After a beta test that began in October 2010, Microsoft 365 was launched on June 28, 2011, as a successor to Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (MSBPOS), originally aimed at corporate users. With the release of Microsoft Office 2013, Microsoft 365 was expanded to include new plans aimed at different types of businesses, along with new plans aimed at general consumers wanting to use the Office desktop software on a subscription basis—with an emphasis on the rolling release model.

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