At DynamicPoint, we often brag about the functionality and features that are supplied to our products by the nature of them being based on the Microsoft Power Platform. While this holds true for all our applications, today we are going to explore how SharePoint, its content management capabilities, and web parts can be used to enhance a customer, vendor, or employee portal.
SharePoint as a Portal Platform
SharePoint modern pages are preferred for their built-in mobile and cross-platform responsiveness. In addition, they offer a large list of standard web parts that can be easily added to enhance a user’s portal experience. This in conjunction with DynamicPoint’s portal app, which allows data to be included from a customer’s ERP or CRM system, creates a very powerful and flexible framework for delivering content that will satisfy your portal requirements. This is a huge advantage, as such considerations as branding, document management, workflows, wikis, blogs, etc. can be added directly to a client’s portal using the out-of-the-box features.
Library of Web Parts
The building blocks of any SharePoint modern page are web parts. The list of out-of-the-box web parts that are available is very extensive and can be found here. Below we have compiled a short list of our favorites that we find the most powerful in enhancing our portal implementations.
|Web Part||What it Does||Typical Portal Uses|
|Bing Maps||Adds a map to your page||For a customer and vendor portal you can add maps to your offices or integrate with portal content to show the location of service centers or delivery locations.|
|Call to Action||Create a button with a call to action||These can be used on customer portals to drive your clients to a desired action, such as creating a new sales order|
|Connections||Connect data from another app or service||This is a very flexible web part and allows information to be included from a CRM system, such as Salesforce, or other relevant statistics from Google Analytics or Salesforce.|
|Countdown Timer||Display a countdown or count up to an event.||For a customer portal, this web part can add urgency to an upcoming sale or deadline.|
|Document Library||Displays the content from a document library||A very foundational feature of SharePoint. For customers and vendors, this can display contracts, templates, specifications, etc. Really good for any document you wish to share with a portal user.|
|Embed||Display content from other sites||Common use is to include videos on a portal. Is quite applicable for customers and vendors.|
|File Viewer||Inserts a file on your page||Can be used to feature any document that would otherwise be linked to in a library. This web part makes it open and viewable.|
|Group Calendar||Shares a group calendar on your site||Very common for service portals in which you want to see technician availability.|
|Hero||Display up to 5 images and text to draw attention||One of the more used web parts in creating a customer or vendor portal. Provides easy navigation for what you want your users to do on the portal. Modern looking and clean.|
|Image Gallery||Shares a collection of pictures on a page||Feature pictures of your products on a customer portal or maybe team members|
|Link||Add a list of links to other internal or external pages||Easy to use, simple web part. Used commonly across all portals. Provides a simple method to share desired links.|
|List||Displays a SharePoint list||Basically, the database of SharePoint. Allows sharing of all kinds of data. Such uses as contacts, inventory, locations, issue tracking, etc. You name it, and we have seen it stored in a list.|
|Forms||Insert Microsoft Forms on your web page||Very flexible tool for easily creating a form. On portals, we have seen it use to create service cases, perform customer surveys, request vendor onboarding, etc.|
|News||Post important and interested stories||Important to keep your portal page alive and draw people back. News adds the details of what is going on and new in your company. Share with customers, vendors, or employees.|
|Organizational Chart||Display your company org chart||Sometimes you want to share your internal structure with external users. Most often this is used on employee portals.|
|People||Display a selected group of people and profiles||Easy method to show customer or vendor resources and their contact information|
|PowerApps||Embed business apps on any page||Uses are really numerous. Gives you the capability to build any app and include it on your portal site. Ones that we have seen include order entry, service case creation, and RFP management.|
|Power BI||Embed reports||Critical web part for including vendor and customer dashboards and KPIs. Such examples include vendor performance and customer order statistics.|
|World Clock||Shows different time zones in various locations around the world||Useful in communicating your office hours and when customers can anticipate a reply to their inquiry.|
|YouTube||Embeds YouTube videos on your page||Really no limit to this. Customer onboarding videos, instructional sessions, how to use your product, how to use the portal. We have seen it all.|
Bringing a Portal All Together
Which web parts will you use on your customer, vendor, or employee SharePoint portal? That really depends on your requirements. The good news is that you have a huge list to choose from and this is even a larger list if we bring in third party products. At DynamicPoint we suggest you start first with your requirements and what would your audience find useful, then pull in the web parts that achieve your objectives.
If you are interested in checking out a demo of what we have done with SharePoint portals, you can schedule directly here.