Maximise Microsoft 365
5 min read
18 July 2019

Why should I combine SharePoint, OneDrive and the file server?

Workspace 365

Many companies already use SharePoint and OneDrive for Business, but in many cases, the file server is still used as well. For people who have been working with documents in the same way for 15 years, switching to SharePoint and OneDrive is often difficult. When do you use one and when do you use the other? And how do you prevent losing the overview of the storage location of files? The answer is simple: by combining all services in one Documents App. We explain why and how.

Why still a file server?

Even though more and more work is taking place online, many companies are still tied to their file server. This is understandable - and in many cases simply necessary, because applications are still linked to the file server and integrations are built on current technologies. Besides, sometimes they've built such a large archive that they don't dare to fully migrate to SharePoint yet.

Why companies consider Office 365

Within companies, the IT department is already considering Office 365 to replace the Exchange servers. This makes the term Office 365 known in the organisation and gives people knowledge of strong technologies. Unfortunately, they often don't know that Office 365 is a collection of more than 30 different tools, which won't all be used.

For many customers, Office 365 is chosen by the IT department to set up as a digital workspace. However, they soon discover that SharePoint and OneDrive (parts of Office 365) are very strong, but only fit a small group. It often contains too many differences for employees who have worked in the same way for 10 to 25 years.

Some people still have to work in the file server, but now also get SharePoint and OneDrive, giving them three different places to store documents (two different site pages and the file server).

For that reason, companies often choose to combine the complete document management system (all three solutions) into one document app within Workspace 365.

SharePoint versus OneDrive for Business: the difference

One of the biggest differences between SharePoint and OneDrive for Business is the purpose of its use. Although they are both used as online document storage, one is more suitable for personal documents, while the other is more suitable for shared files and collaboration.

With both SharePoint and OneDrive for Business, you can save and synchronise documents online or locally to all your devices. However, OneDrive for Business is set as your personal document storage by default, therefore documents are not shared as standard.

SharePoint, on the other hand, is very suitable for collaboration. In addition to document storage, you are able to create intranet pages and link flows to files. Files that are saved in SharePoint are made available by default to the people who have access to the shared SharePoint Site. With this, you can easily (and simultaneously) collaborate in documents.

Why would you bring SharePoint, OneDrive and the file server together?

A big difference between both SharePoint, OneDrive for Business and the file server is the visual representation. Most people are used to Windows Explorer (the folder in their taskbar). This is exactly the representation of the file server. If you open SharePoint and OneDrive for Business online, they have a completely different view that varies a lot from the file server. In many cases, this makes the switch too complicated, because it differs too much from what people are used to.

Besides, the use of different solutions is confusing for many people. Every solution has a different location, meaning that files are quickly lost or stored in the wrong location. This means that you become a document detective who has to search in three places and then having to find the right version, because things are stored twice.

A consistent document experience in Workspace 365

In the Workspace 365 documents app, you can easily work with SharePoint, OneDrive for Business and file server documents. The display of the documents app resembles the Windows Explorer, which ensures that users get used to it and are able to search faster. The display is independent of the underlying technology, so if this would change, the user experience remains the same.

Workspace 365 allows you to not only access your SharePoint and OneDrive for Business files from any device, anytime, anywhere, but even your file server files. In addition, files can easily be moved from one location to another. That way you can always continue working where you left off and you always have a consistent experience and data.

Office Online in the file server and reduction of Office license costs

From the documents app, you open all your Office documents with one click in Office Online or in your local Office apps - you can set your preference for this yourself. Previously, it was only possible to open file server files with Office Online, if you had an Office Pro Plus license. For many employees, this was not a logical choice, because they don't work intensively with Office programs. However, they did need the license to open their file server files in Office Online, which was an expensive choice for this type of employee.

Workspace 365 has been validated by Microsoft and therefore it's possible to open file server documents in Office Online with any type of Office license that includes Office Online. Examples are Business Essentials, F1 or E1 licenses. This saves some customers up to 10 euro per user, per month and it becomes a more logical choice to switch to a modern way of working.

To use the Office Online editors with the file server, you must first contact us to check whether this is permitted within your Workspace 365 license.

Subscribe to our blog

Get the latest tips, resources and updates to help work better!

Related articles