If I’m already using OneDrive, why use SharePoint?
The simplest answer to this is that you’ve probably already paid for it, and why pay for something that you don’t use?
Most of the Office 365 business subscriptions include SharePoint, but I often see clients struggling to manage their organisation files in OneDrive for Business as they don’t realise the potential of SharePoint.
And some tech companies (the folk that helped you set up your Office 365 subscription in the first place) don’t understand the benefits of SharePoint, therefore don’t show or demo it to their clients. The client then starts working with OneDrive, and doesn’t even touch SharePoint.
Understanding OneDrive for Business
OneDrive for Business (aka OneDrive) was designed for personal business storage. It works great for your company document storage, and is often the reason organisation’s move to Office 365 – to take advantage of cloud storage and the benefits of regular backups and maintenance all managed by Microsoft.
OneDrive is particularly handy to access your files across different devices – you can get to your stuff from your mobile phone, an internet café PC, your Surface Pro or your desktop PC at work, or your personal laptop at home. You can also share your documents externally or with others in your business using OneDrive, but there are limitations. And once you’ve been using OneDrive for a while, you can end up with a large and unwieldy amount of docs. It can make it difficult to work out what’s been shared, with whom and what your rationale for sharing the file in the first place was.
This is because OneDrive provides unstructured storage whereas SharePoint offers a structured approach to document storage. Document libraries are pre-set with permissions and user settings, and configured with version control and other features that you don’t have access to in OneDrive.
If you have been sharing your files with others via OneDrive and you later go to clean up your storage (maybe you delete some old files, improve and rename a document, or shift files into subfolders) you then risk breaking the link to the shared file, meaning that your colleagues can no longer see the file you originally shared. Be prepared for phone calls and emails asking you to resend a doc.
As I stated above, you’re already paying for SharePoint, so you may as well take advantage of it. You can start using document libraries straight out of the box, but your team will get more from SharePoint if you develop it into an intranet and get the benefit of all the other features.
Small businesses (2 or less employees) can easily manage company files in OneDrive, but the minute you need to share and collaborate on files with more than one other person, it makes sense to use a SharePoint document library instead.
Not only do you then have access to way more functionality like version control and custom fields, but you can be reassured that if you’ve shared your file, you know that even if the link to the shared file gets inadvertently on-shared, SharePoint’s security will ensure that only the appropriate people can get access to your document.
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