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SharePoint vs. OneDrive: Best Practices for Businesses

Yann News 11 minutes

In today’s digital world, collaboration is key.

To power real-time collaboration, using a platform that allows you to share files and edit documents can help your business become more productive and better utilise your team’s strengths

Microsoft SharePoint and OneDrive can do this, but they excel in different ways.

Choosing which one to use in your business and for what purpose is an important decision, as both OneDrive and SharePoint exist for different purposes and — when used correctly — can immensely boost your organisation’s productivity.

In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between Microsoft SharePoint and OneDrive, the ins and outs of both platforms, and how you can use both within your organisation. We’ll also examine some best practices so you can hit the ground running.

What is SharePoint?

Microsoft SharePoint is Microsoft’s collaboration platform. It is a hub for your organisation to store, organise, share, and access information and documents securely, allowing collaboration to thrive freely within your organisation.

A digital workspace displayed on multiple devices, demonstrating a collaborative platform with various business applications and communications.

A digital workspace displayed on multiple devices, demonstrating a collaborative platform with various business applications and communications.

SharePoint aims to make your organisation more productive while also letting you streamline your organisation’s business processes due to its comprehensive feature set, with unique features such as —

  • Document Versioning: Using Microsoft SharePoint, you can maintain multiple versions of documents. This lets you keep track of changes and revert to previous iterations if need be while also preventing conflicts in editing.
  • Enterprise Search: SharePoint lets you search your organisation. Its robust search functionality extensively indexes your organisation to find what you need. The search feature supports advanced filtering, metadata-based search, and customisable search scopes, making it incredibly powerful.
  • Customisable Workflows: SharePoint makes it easy to automate and customise your workflows, streamlining them and taking advantage of Power Automate and SharePoint Designer.
  • Content Management: SharePoint lets you enforce content management policies to ensure that you’re compliant with regulatory requirements as well as keeping internal governance standards up. You can define policies for retention, expiration, and disposal — meaning that the content lifecycle is more streamlined than ever.
  • Business Intelligence: SharePoint works with Microsoft Power BI to enable organisations to take advantage of business intelligence, letting them easily analyse and visualise data.
  • Social Collaboration: SharePoint fosters a more unified workplace by using blogs, wikis, and other social collaboration tools and features.

What is OneDrive?

Microsoft OneDrive is a cloud-based file storage and synchronisation platform that lets you store files and data in the cloud, letting any device with an internet connection access them. OneDrive is built to slot into the Microsoft 365 platform, seamlessly integrating with other 365 tools and enabling convenient collaboration on files.

A variety of devices displaying the interface of a cloud storage service with files and folders.

A variety of devices displaying the interface of a cloud storage service with files and folders.

OneDrive is built to allow users to store their own files, enabling them to use the cloud to access those files anywhere and enable collaboration within the 365 ecosystem. Some of its key features include —

  • Files On-Demand: OneDrive lets you access all of your files on-demand without having to download them, letting you save storage space while ensuring you have easy access to them.
  • Personal Vault: Your OneDrive Personal Vault is an area within your OneDrive where you can store files that require extra security considerations.
  • Automatic Photo and Video Backup: OneDrive automatically backs up photos and videos from users’ mobile devices, meaning you can ensure those files are safe in the cloud.
  • Collaborative Editing in 365: OneDrive integrates seamlessly into the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, allowing you to collaborate within Microsoft 365 files with coworkers — all in real time.

Comparing SharePoint and OneDrive

SharePoint and OneDrive are not competitors. They exist for different use cases and are often used together to serve different purposes within your organisation.

SharePoint is geared towards team collaboration and enterprise-level document management, whereas OneDrive is for personal file storage and individual productivity. Where SharePoint has tools to improve organisational workflow, OneDrive increases personal productivity and security — and works with the end user.

Because of these differences, the two solutions work together and seamlessly integrate to allow you to use OneDrive with SharePoint integration — meaning your employees can take advantage of the benefits of both applications.

Best Practices

Here are some of the best practices and ways you can utilise both of these applications in your organisation together.

  • Established Clear Governance Policies: First and foremost, establishing clear governance policies on how both tools should be used and guidelines for content management, permissions, sharing settings, and compliance will let you take control of your organisation’s file management with ease.
  • Define Use Cases: Identifying specific use cases for both platforms will let you be more clear on how to use both within your organisation — for example, personal file storage and individual productivity are suitable for OneDrive, whereas team collaboration and other holistic management are where SharePoint shines.
  • Integrate Seamlessly: Ensuring seamless integration between OneDrive and SharePoint will let you facilitate smooth workflows and collaboration. You can do this by using SharePoint for the backend file management while utilising OneDrive to let users access and sync files.
  • Educate Users: There’s no point in implementing new systems into your organisation if people don’t know how to utilise them. Educating your employees and ensuring that everyone knows what they’re doing will help the implementation of SharePoint and OneDrive together go more smoothly.

How We Can Help

SharePoint and OneDrive are two powerful tools that your organisation can use for file management and collaboration.

These two tools co-exist and work together, and aren’t competing tools — meaning that you can utilise both within your organisation simultaneously, using SharePoint for holistic enterprise file management and OneDrive for personal file management.

If you’re looking to get started with OneDrive and SharePoint but don’t know where to start, contact us today. Our experts are here to help you hit the ground running and will ensure that you’re ready to go with file management within your organisation — letting you boost your organisation’s productivity to the next level.

Get in touch with us now and see how we can help.

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