This week, we’ve got a special bonus episode of The Intrazone. You’ll hear “SharePoint Swoop” – the intranet makeover show featuring Funko Inc. – in a condensed audible format with new narration for context. In addition to the show, scroll below to read a new, written interview with Scott Christensen – SharePoint lead at Funko. He shares more about the current state at Funko - the expanded use of SharePoint, Power Apps and their approach to self-service for users with governance firmly in place.
Swoop showcases both Funko’s IT and business journey to the cloud with expert help from Swooperstars and Microsoft MVPs: Sue Hanley, Laura Rogers and Benjamin Niaulin; so grateful always to their contribution of Swoop and the community collective.
It’s fun, they’re engaging, and you’ll learn a ton about real-world use and adoption of Microsoft 365.
OK, time to hear Funko “Bobble and grow”!
Written interview with Scott Christensen, SharePoint lead at Funko
Mark Kashman: First, let’s start with who you are and what your role is at Funko? Also, why do they call you SharePoint Hulk?
Scott Christensen: Since the recording of the Swoop show, I'm proud to convey that Funko retained my services as a full-time employee of Funko as the Senior SharePoint engineer. I’m now a member of the Infrastructure arm of our IT organization and provide one-stop shopping for all things Office 365/SharePoint for Funko. More so, the ‘Credible Hulk’, I’ve chosen the Hulk as my favorite hero because of his strength and never-ending resolve – to me SharePoint is the Hulk of Office 365 – the backbone of the Office 365 platform. We’re all collectors here at Funko of something, and you’ll find SharePoint mints, SharePoint 2003 cards, a Site Server autographed box, SharePoint socks, and of course the SharePoint Monkey flying among my Hulk Pop/toy collection.
Mark: First, congrats on being hired as a full-time employee at Funko; I knew that was in your future. Now, as you’ve grown in your career… how has your intranet grown since SharePoint Swoop roughly two years ago?
Scott: Just after recording the Swoop web series, we continued build out of our department/teams’ sites and began realizing the full extent of the additional services we could begin to provide Funko. After launching our intranet, our number of SharePoint sites grew with the business, and we now hover around 120 sites; permissions managed via Office 365 Groups. We enjoy branding our sites with Funko Pop banners in various themes we have licensed – the modernization of the SharePoint user experience makes this possible and much easier than the former classic SharePoint sites.
With our intranet now company-wide, we began building SharePoint list solutions to solve business needs - immediately wanting to brand SharePoint list forms as we now have for our Funko sites. To accomplish this, we utilized the ‘Customized Forms’ features via PowerApps to hide fields, add logos/branding, and to put helpful instructions directly into intake forms. As we matured these solutions, we introduced more sophistication using full PowerApps, Power BI Dashboards, and Microsoft Flow solutions to bring more and more SharePoint list-based solutions to life.
We also architected and deployed our extranet entry point we call ‘Area51’ that securely allows Funko employees to share files and folders safely with our white-listed vendors and partner communities. This fundamentally changed the way Funko shares digital information with partners, and further steps are necessary here, and can be taken, as the organization prepares for further security and compliance.
Mark: That’s a lot. I can see how you might start thinking about ways to optimize your time and adherence to governance as you grow. How do you approach self-serving under the guidelines you and IT set as policy?
Scott: I will admit that I'm not a fan of self-service site creation as policy, however that doesn’t come at the expense of our users - I just like to build the sites. We build tailored sites of all types for our people, and train them to maintain the sites themselves with appropriate documentation, support, and governance oversight. Funko has created a community of site owners that partner with me directly to fully enable the site owner to manage their sites. Our Funko employees are becoming more self-serving in that they have the entire Office 365 suite of apps all designed together to help them work seamlessly together regardless of platform or location. More recently, people are building ‘public’ communications sites to expose content to the broader Funko community, confidently beyond their core team and ‘private’ team sites.
Mark: In Swoop, we saw you create a Truck Transfer app with Laura Rogers. Since then, what other PowerApps-based solutions have you created?
Scott: We enjoyed working with the MVPs of the Swoop show – and for PowerApps, that was Laura Rogers. At conclusion of filming, Funko IT was already looking at requirements for a tracking application that could support our Warehouse beyond the Transfer Truck capabilities. Those conversations lead to us talking with Laura’s husband Chris Rogers – who had built a fancy grid-based control for PowerApps that we utilized as a calendaring solution for the Funko Warehouse shipments coming and going from our Everett based warehouses.
Over a six-month project, we worked with Chris (IW Mentor) to develop a full Logistics Calendar solution for Funko. The solution consists of everything living in one site collection that includes, SharePoint lists, the PowerApps app, site content to expose the solution, training FAQs and related content, and an Issues list to track issues, bugs, and feature requests for the solution.
Mark: So glad to hear you kept connected to Laura, and her husband, Chris. Among all the above, or something you’ve not yet shared, what is the thing you are most proud of that you’re promoting in your digital workplace expansion?
Scott: I have always been a ‘Jack-of-all-trades'...SharePoint requires this to some degree, but I’m becoming a platform Hulk myself even though I'm officially a ‘non-coder’. Coming from decades where designing, building, and customizing SharePoint formerly required larger teams of people and a significant hardware investment...I could not be prouder of the impact now achievable with a much smaller team (me):
Mark: Last question… what’s next for you and Funko?
Scott: I am excited to continue redefining the IT solution landscape for Funko. We are scaling up here, and big things are possible when you have Hulkish determination, passion for the Office 365 platform, and a growing list of teams and business processes that need be accessible on any device.
Mark: Thanks for taking time to share more of what you are accomplishing at Funko, expanding your use of Office 365. And for being The (credible) SharePoint Hulk!
Scott: Thank you for the opportunity to work with you again, Mark (and the Microsoft SharePoint team)!
Link to articles mentioned in the show:
Listen to the show! If you like what you hear, we'd love for you to Subscribe, Rate and Review it on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.
Be sure to visit our show page to hear all the episodes, access the show notes, and get bonus content. And stay connected to the SharePoint community blog where we’ll share more information per episode, guest insights, and take any questions from our listeners and SharePoint users (TheIntrazone@microsoft.com). We, too, welcome your ideas for future episodes topics and segments. Keep the discussion going in comments below; we’re hear to listen and grow.
The SharePoint team wants you to unleash your creativity and productivity. And we will do this, together as we bobble and grow.
Thanks, Mark Kashman, senior product manager – Microsoft
You must be a registered user to add a comment. If you've already registered, sign in. Otherwise, register and sign in.