Office 365 adoption routes. #1 Start with OneDrive

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By Linda Parkinson-Hardman on

Office 365 adoption. Which approach to take?

Office 365 adoption is something  I’ve spoken with any number of companies and organisations over the last few years. They have all had their own challenges around what approach to take. Some have gone ‘big bang’ and others have started ‘slow and small’. In this series of blog posts, I’ll explore the pro’s and cons of different methods because there’s no right way to do adoption and it isn’t a one-size fits all activity.

Office 365 adoption route #1. Start with OneDrive

Starting with OneDrive is often seen as the obvious next step following on from an Exchange Online migration exercise. The theory goes that it is relatively simple to deploy and that users will have an easier time getting their heads around a collaborative workspace without the distracting background noise you get in applications like Microsoft Teams.

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And OneDrive can address some of the fundamental file and document issues staff have, at least in the short term. At one company I’m working with we’ve been running a series of awareness sessions just about OneDrive and to get the room thinking I always start with a discussion about the most common issues people have with their files. Each session comes up with a pretty similar list that includes things like:

• Finding files and documents easily,
• Sharing large files internally and particularly externally,
• Saving files to the ‘right’ place – assuming they know what the ‘right’ place is to start with,
• Duplication of files and knowing which file is the most recent version,
• The time it takes to co-author documents when all you have is email or shared drives that lock the file when it’s in use,
• Accessing files, you know are there but don’t have permission to see,
• Using the latest templates of core documents,
• Version control,
• Local files that aren’t backed up and the risks of a laptop or PC breaking,
• Not being able to work on documents outside the corporate network, say from home,
• Corrupted files that have been used as too many templates,
• Data and document silos,
• Multiple documents on the same topic because the only option was to start again,
• Checked out documents, particularly if someone leaves unexpectedly or is away from the office.

All of these and more are the teeny tiny frustrations that can mount up to cause significant stress in individuals and teams throughout an organisation. And managing them is often a starting point in the adoption programme.

To some extent, OneDrive can help to address these and get staff started on the collaboration track. For example, it helps organisations bring their documents and data back into the company managed environment and away from the shadow IT staff revert to when they get so frustrated by the problems listed above.

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And to some extent the Governance in OneDrive is somewhat simpler than for the entire Office 365 suite, so it helps IT project teams get used to answering the technical questions they need to think about before they launch into areas like Office 365 Groups.

OneDrive also provides an immediate improvement in security and compliance out of the box as documents are stored in the Microsoft cloud and access is managed by a company that spends the GDP of a small country on data security. Adding some basic conditional access or retention policies to files stored in OneDrive and you’re well on the way to observing and understanding what is going to be needed when you implement Office 365 Groups.

Because of the 1Tb limit on each OneDrive for Business account it may be tempting to make this the application of choice for all file and document storage, after all very few employees are going to get anywhere near that limit!

But, it’s important to remember that OneDrive is part of the much bigger suite of tools that is Office 365 and whilst it might be great to get people started, the project team does need to remember that OneDrive has a specific use as a personal document store and is not suitable for the long-term storage of important corporate information. After all, unless you want to be over-licenced, whenever someone leaves you will remove their account and their documents and data will be removed.

What it is good for is sharing and storing documents that are meant for just one or two people, the annual personal development review springs to mind, or supervision notes between line managers and their staff. Personal meeting notes or OneNote notebook, photos I take or images I need to complete a task are also ideal for OneDrive because they only really relate to me as an individual and aren’t a necessary part of the corporate record.

Another short-term use might be for staff beginning a piece of work who just need to collaborate with a few other people initially, but it must be stressed that this is only on the proviso that when the document is ready to be released it is moved into the corporate document storage and doesn’t remain on the individual’s OneDrive account – after all this isn’t Joe Bloggs ABC Strategic Plan, it is the company’s strategic plan.

In this way you can begin to familiarise people with the knowledge and skills to make Microsoft Teams a ‘go-to’ solution when you deploy it and it makes the transition to other Office 365 workloads much easier as well.

One of the other advantages of OneDrive is that it’s (relatively) simple to get your head around and organisations can use show and tell, update sessions or even short videos to help staff get up to speed with how, why and when to use it as well as what their responsibilities are when it comes to working collaboratively.

How can we help?

If OneDrive is where you want your organisation to start Office 365 adoption why not get in touch via the form below and we can talk you through how to get started.

Silversands is a Microsoft Gold Partner of over 30 years standing,  which specialises in Microsoft 365 delivered across cloud (Azure) and hybrid IT infrastructures. We provide consultancy, support and user adoption services. The Covid-19 virus will make organisations seriously re-assess their business continuity plans and we are running a series of webinars over the next few months that will be relevant to your organisation.However, in the short-term your priority is more likely to be support to back up your IT team.

IT Support – Silversands provides pre-paid support which covers a wide range of needs including:

• Remote IT cover
• IT service desk calls / escalation
• End user support calls
• Setting up VPNs on firewalls
• Windows Virtual Desktop
• Microsoft Teams deployments
• Intune / BYOD management
• General Microsoft 365 advice & guidance

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If you need help and would like to have a chat about how Silversands might be able to help you with Office 365 adoption or any other Microsoft 365 challenge, please complete the form below:

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