SharePoint challenges, top 7 business challenges in SharePoint Online

SharePoint Challenges: Top 7 business challenges in SharePoint Online

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Challenges of the content management system (SharePoint Challenges) – over the years, Microsoft SharePoint has gained tremendous popularity in the market of the document management system – it has gone thru various lifecycles from its origin to till dates like Windows SharePoint Service, SharePoint Foundation, and now SharePoint Online (the most popular one) – for the detailed history of SharePoint please refer to my previous article – History of SharePoint (9 version history from the year 2000 to 2020). It has accumulated more than 200 million users and is deployed in more than 400 of the Fortune 500 companies – for example, most of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the USA use SharePoint to store and manage their content. Having said these – being a SharePoint professional I do see some challenges (from my personal experience) to using SharePoint those I will list here:

Key-Highlights: Challenges of the content management system (SharePoint Challenges)

  • View loading issue – threshold limit
  • Dependency on running specific service
  • Web Application limitation
  • Delay in troubleshooting
  • Limitations in the various environments (Dev/Test/Prod)
  • Customization is not easy
  • Licensing is cost-effective

1. View loading issue – threshold limit (SharePoint Challenges)

This is one of the biggest challenges we face in the SharePoint job life. The list view cannot fetch data of more than 5000 items meaning that if a list/library contains more than 5000 items – then SharePoint cannot load those data in a single query. Here many people misunderstand that the SharePoint document library can only store 5000 items which are incorrect in fact SharePoint Online document library can store millions of documents.


  • A list can have up to 30 million items and a library can have up to 30 million files and folders.
  • When a list, library, or folder contains more than 100,000 items, you can’t break permissions inheritance on the list, library, or folder. Nor can you re-inherit permissions on it. However, you can still break inheritance on the individual items within that list, library, or folder, up to the maximum number of unique permissions in the list or library.
  • This limitation is there in SharePoint Online as well as in SharePoint on-premise version. However, the list view threshold limit can be increased to 50,000 in SharePoint on-premise version but this flexibility is not available in the SharePoint Online version.

To work with the SharePoint library where items/documents are more than 5000, please look into my previous article – List view threshold error(5000 items issue) in SharePoint On-Premise/SharePoint Online

2. SharePoint Challenges – Dependency on running specific service

We have a dependency on the specific service to run – let’s say we need to run the retention policy job on demand, this takes at least 24 hours to run, by out of the box it runs weekly once, so this impacts the business. This limitation is there in SharePoint Online version, however, not in SharePoint on-premise version.

3. SharePoint Challenges – Web Application limitation

Every site is created or to be created under a web application, there is no flexibility to create a need basis web application. However, we have the flexibility to create multiple web applications in the version of SharePoint on-premise.

4. SharePoint Challenges – delay in troubleshooting

Most of the administrative trouble shootings have a dependency on the Microsoft support team which delays the process as we don’t have direct access to the log file. Having said this – customer technical support is very fast and convenient in Microsoft Office 365 – Microsoft tech customer support rocks. 🙂

5. SharePoint Challenges – limitations in the various environments (Dev/Test/Prod)

In SharePoint Online, we don’t have separate Dev/Test/Prod environments – it is only one tenant that could be used for all purposes (Dev/Test/Prod) – this is one of the major drawbacks in SharePoint Online. If you want to plan for a new Dev/Test environment, you need to buy a new tenant which is cost-effective for users and other setups will be completely different from the actual prod tenant.

6. SharePoint Challenges – customization is not easy

There is an understanding that people often say most of the things in SharePoint are configurable – this is quite true. However, there are scenarios where we can not build the things with the out of features then we need to go for customization and when it comes to customizing the SharePoint – it is not an easy job, one should have very good knowledge in coding, for example – a SharePoint Power User/ Administrator/Architect cannot develop an SPFx framework with ReactJS web part – for that one should be expert in coding. With this being said, I would personally consider someone as a SharePoint expert if he/she could develop a solution with the out-of-the-box features provided by Microsoft. I have seen in my career, that many clients don’t prefer the code-based solution, rather they appreciate it if we are able to provide a solution with the out-of-the-box features provided by Microsoft.

7. SharePoint Challenges – licensing is cost-effective

Whether it is the SharePoint on-premise or online version licensing is a matter of thinking while planning for SharePoint to use. An on-premises server costs more than $2,500, and running it can be more than twice as costly, depending on the number of users. With the introduction of SharePoint online, it has become quite painless as the license works based on the user in SharePoint Online- so, if you have a small to mid-size company it is fine but for the larger company maintaining the license cost will be quite high as the number of employees will be more in the big company. The licensing cost in SharePoint Online is $5 per user, per month (it depends on the plan you choose) however, the cost across a large organization rapidly becomes significant.

Summary: SharePoint Challenges

Thus, in this article, we have learned about the top 7 business challenges in SharePoint Online which are as below:

  • Challenges in SharePoint Online.
  • View loading issue – threshold limit and its possible solutions.
  • Dependency on running specific services in SharePoint Online.
  • Web application creation limitation in SharePoint Online.
  • Delay in troubleshooting – However, Microsoft tech customer support rocks. 🙂
  • Limitation in the various environments (Dev/Test/Prod) – Microsoft really needs to think about this.
  • Customization is not easy – one has to be an expert in coding.
  • Licensing is cost-effective – it works per user, per month.

See Also: SharePoint Challenges

You may also like the below SharePoint articles:

Hope you have enjoyed reading this article and helped you. If you would like to appreciate our efforts or if you have a better solution or a different opinion, please write to the below comment section and do share this with your friends and colleagues. 🙂


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