This makes user experience difficult and adds to administrative complexity. SharePoint Embedded unifies all files, documents into a single document layer, and integrates Microsoft 365 capabilities into any application.  

Applications that utilize SharePoint Embedded to manage files and documents share a standard set of AI, security, compliance, and collaboration features that are meant to please admins and users alike. 

What is SharePoint Embedded? 

Unlike SharePoint Online, SharePoint Embedded is a headless, API-only Document Management System (DMS), which helps businesses streamline their documents and files flexibly and cost-effectively. It utilizes a pay-as-you-go model where you only pay for what you use, based on how much storage space your documents take up and how often you access them, unlike SPO's per-user monthly licensing.  

This is especially useful for larger businesses or software developers creating apps for multiple users. It ensures that your documents are stored securely within your organization's Microsoft 365 account subject to tenant-specific security, Data Loss Prevention (DLP), and compliance settings.  

SharePoint Embedded comprises API-accessible document libraries restricted to only authorized app users. Think of it like a secure digital filing cabinet that you can customize to fit your business needs without breaking the bank. 

SharePoint Embedded: Key purposes and business case 

SharePoint Embedded presents a compelling case for organizations seeking cost-effective, scalable, customizable, and secure document management solutions that enhance collaboration and streamline business processes. SharePoint Embedded serves several critical purposes for organizations, contributing to its compelling business case: 

  • Document management: Offering a centralized cloud-based platform, it efficiently stores, organizes, and manages large volumes of documents, streamlining business operations. 

  • Integration: Seamlessly integrating into existing applications or systems, it boosts productivity by providing access to robust document management features without the need for building from scratch. Extensive API access facilitates seamless integration into existing workflows, allowing businesses to tailor SharePoint Embedded to their specific needs, thereby streamlining processes, and enhancing productivity. 

  • Scalability: Adaptability is paramount; SharePoint Embedded scales according to workload demands, catering to both small-scale and large-scale document management needs effectively. Its flexible pricing model and scalable infrastructure enable businesses of all sizes to accommodate growing demands effectively, ensuring resources are utilized efficiently. 

  • Security and compliance: With robust security measures, including granular access controls and encryption, SharePoint Embedded ensures sensitive documents remain protected and compliant with regulatory standards, mitigating risks associated with data breaches or non-compliance. 

  • Developer flexibility: Its API-focused approach empowers developers to customize and extend functionalities, crafting tailored solutions to meet specific business requirements effectively. 

  • Cost-efficiency: Operating on a pay-as-you-go model based on storage usage and API calls, SharePoint Embedded offers significant cost savings, especially for businesses with fluctuating user numbers or varying document storage needs. 

  • Enhanced collaboration: Centralized access to documents and files fosters collaboration among team members, with features such as version control, co-authoring, and access controls enhancing productivity and efficiency. 

A versatile solution for all 

SharePoint Embedded caters to a diverse range of organizations, offering cost-effective, scalable, and customizable document management solutions. 

  • Enterprises of all sizes: Large enterprises benefit from its scalability, cost-efficiency, and customization for managing extensive document needs across departments. 

  • Software developers and ISVs: Developers integrate it seamlessly into Line of Business (LoB) applications or multi-tenant solutions, offering enhanced functionality without building document management features from scratch. 

  • Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs): SMBs utilize their pay-as-you-go pricing model for effective document management without high upfront costs, providing scalability as business needs evolve. 

  • Organizations with compliance requirements: Businesses in regulated industries ensure compliance with industry-specific regulations using SharePoint Embedded's built-in security features and standards. 

  • Teams and departments within larger organizations: Individual teams or departments streamline document management processes with SharePoint Embedded, tailored to specific needs such as collaboration on campaign materials or HR document management. 

Essential prerequisites  

Organizations can harness SharePoint Embedded to enhance document management capabilities within their applications or solutions by meeting these prerequisites: 

  • Microsoft 365 subscription: An active Microsoft 365 subscription is crucial as SharePoint Embedded relies on Microsoft 365's file and document storage platform. This subscription grants access to SharePoint services and resources. 

  • Azure subscription: SharePoint Embedded billing operates on a pay-as-you-go model using Azure subscription, based on storage usage and API calls. An Azure subscription is necessary for managing billing and accessing Azure services. 

  • Development skills: Proficiency in development is required to integrate SharePoint Embedded into applications or solutions. Knowledge of APIs and cloud service integration, along with familiarity with languages like C#, JavaScript, or Python, is beneficial. 

  • Understanding of SharePoint: While SharePoint Embedded targets developers, having a basic grasp of SharePoint's features, such as document libraries, lists, permissions, and security, aids in effective utilization. 

  • Compliance and security knowledge: Organizations need to understand compliance standards and security best practices to implement SharePoint Embedded securely and meet regulatory requirements. 

  • Access to documentation and resources: Microsoft offers documentation, tutorials, and resources for SharePoint Embedded developers. Accessing these materials is crucial for understanding how to integrate and leverage SharePoint Embedded effectively in applications or solutions. 

Use cases of SharePoint Embedded 

  • Use case 1: Application-managed content experience 

    In scenarios where a highly customized user experience is paramount, utilizing SharePoint Embedded offers a tailored approach. By integrating a guided user interface layer within an application, businesses can control user actions and flows while harnessing the extensive functionalities of SharePoint Online (SPO).

    This is particularly useful in critical business processes where actions are strictly governed, ensuring users only access authorized functionalities to achieve specific outcomes efficiently. 

  • Use case 2: Secured storage for regulated industries/departments 

    SharePoint Embedded serves as an ideal solution for industries subject to strict regulations, such as pharmaceuticals or mergers and acquisitions. By leveraging its headless API environment, organizations can enforce stringent security measures without the risk of users circumventing security protocols.

    Through container-level security definitions, confidential documents, like drug testing reports or merger discussions, remain accessible only to authorized external parties or internal teams, ensuring compliance and confidentiality. Moreover, departments like HR benefit from segregated data storage, reducing the inadvertent sharing of sensitive employee information. 

  • Use case 3: Back office document processing 

    Industries like insurance often require back-office staff to review and process scanned documents or PDFs without the need for full-fledged case management systems. SharePoint Embedded offers a cost-effective solution with its consumption-based licensing model, saving organizations from per-user licensing fees associated with specialized applications.

    This streamlined approach allows for efficient document processing without the overhead of unnecessary functionalities typically found in DMS or collaboration platforms. 

  • Use case 4: Externalizing document storage from third-party LoB apps 

    Externalizing document storage from third-party Line of Business (LoB) applications presents opportunities for reducing storage costs and ensuring compliance. By integrating with SharePoint Embedded, organizations can leverage its secure storage infrastructure while maintaining organization-wide compliance standards.

    For instance, integrating Proventeq Content Integrator with CRM applications enables seamless storage of related documents in SharePoint Embedded, offering significant cost savings while ensuring adherence to compliance and security protocols across the organization. 

Limitations of SharePoint Embedded  

  • Development complexity: Integration requires expertise and API familiarity, posing challenges for organizations lacking in-house development resources. 

  • Limited functionality: Compared to SharePoint Online, SharePoint Embedded has limited features. However, Microsoft is constantly upgrading the feature list of SharePoint Embedded. 

  • Dependency on Azure subscription: Additional costs and administrative overhead are incurred for organizations without an existing Azure subscription. 

  • Scalability constraints: High document usage could lead to increased costs 

  • Security and compliance challenges: Misconfigurations or oversight may compromise data security and compliance. 

Understanding these limitations helps in making informed decisions and mitigating challenges during SharePoint Embedded adoption. 


Considering the benefits, limitations, and specific use cases outlined above, adopting SharePoint Embedded can be a strategic decision for organizations seeking customizable, cost-effective document management solutions.

By carefully assessing their requirements, considering the benefits and limitations, and planning for effective implementation and integration, organizations can leverage SharePoint Embedded to streamline document management processes, enhance collaboration, and achieve their business objectives effectively. 

Organizations should evaluate their specific requirements, including the need for customization, cost considerations, scalability, and regulatory compliance when deciding whether to adopt SharePoint Online, SharePoint Embedded, or both.

Depending on their objectives, organizations may choose to leverage the comprehensive features of SharePoint Online, the customization capabilities of SharePoint Embedded, or a combination of both to meet their document management and collaboration needs. Please refer Announcing SharePoint Embedded General Availability for more details. 

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