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Common mistake – Not releasing OneDrive to users

One of the most important components of Office 365 is OneDrive. Unfortunately, most customers do not understand and promote all the benefits of OneDrive to all the end users. Due to this, the product is underutilized as well as misused. In this article, I discuss this problem in detail and provide a simple and practical approach.

OneDrive for Business

Photo credit: blavandmaster / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

The problem

OneDrive provides UNLIMITED storage to every user of Office 365. But apart from the storage space, there are many things it does very well. These benefits are neither known to IT nor to Learning and Development. Unfortunately, most partners who are involved in implementation of Office 365 are also unaware of the benefits and usage scenarios.

In most cases, OneDrive is NOT the first component of O365 made available to users. Most companies initially focus on email migration. There is nothing wrong with providing email but it should not be done in isolation.

Unimaginably big mailbox

Most users have never dreamt that their corporate mailbox will ever be 50 GB in size. In the pre-Office365 days, people got very small mailbox quotas. I have seen these ranging from as little as 100 MB to 2 GB (for senior management only).

Now with 50 GB mailbox they no longer have to worry about it getting full and stopping their access to their communication. Usually this results in excessive and injudicious usage of the mailbox. People tend to dump unwanted mails, some even upload their old PSTs to the mailbox. They send larger mails (25 MB is the size limit per email message at the time of writing this article), attach more and more files and create large subfolders containing old archives.

OneDrive arrives too late – if at all it arrives

I have interacted with hundreds of customer IT teams. While they plan the rollout of Office 365, OneDrive is not on their priority list at all.

Most people think that after the email migration phase is over, we will think of “deploying” OneDrive few months down the line.

By the time OneDrive is made available, users are already so happy with their large mailbox that they just do not get impressed with the unlimited OneDrive storage.

OneDrive does NOT need deploying

When you install the Office 365 edition of Office, OneDrive is already visible in the File – Save menus of all Office products. Users just have to notice it and use it.

There is absolutely NOTHING to deploy at all. As soon as a user account is created, the OneDrive storage is automatically provisioned. The customer IT team or the implementation partner does not have to do any additional work to make it available.

All that IT has to do is to inform the users about its availability and show them the benefits. If this is done properly, there is no convincing required for users to latch on to it in the right way.

Corporate data should not be stored on OneDrive

This is another misconception. If you have already purchased Office 365, it was already accepted that data will be stored on Microsoft datacenters. Everyone knows this.

Unfortunately, many companies suddenly come up with unreasonable and unfounded worries about corporate data storage on MS servers. They forget two important things.

Firstly, in older days, they must have used some data center provider to put up their servers. It was not called cloud. But it was stilled infrastructure provided by an external partner where corporate data was stored. So what is the big deal about OneDrive?

Secondly, they completely forget the fact that all the corporate documents are rampantly being attached to emails every day! This data also sits on Microsoft datacenters. But they don’t seem to mind it at all.

There is no logical reasoning to justify this skewed thought process. But the problem is that there is nobody to counter this discrimination against OneDrive. IT decides and IT implements. Nobody questions the decision.

Users do not even know what they are missing and therefore never DEMAND OneDrive immediately.

The right approach

  1. Email and OneDrive should be given together to all users as early as possible
  2. Uses should be told proactively about the benefits of using OneDrive
  3. People should be actively discouraged from storing documents on local desktop PC or laptops as the primary storage.
  4. Users tend to confuse between OneDrive Personal and OneDrive for Business.
    They should be explicitly told about the key differences.
  5. All users must know when to use email with attachments and when to use OneDrive with sharing.
  6. People have lot of concerns about their control over files stored on the cloud. These concerns about ownership, control, security, confidentiality, etc. must be proactively addressed.
  7. As the first step in effective usage of OneDrive, Sync must be established immediately. Sync can be done even if OneDrive is empty. This way, documents stored on OneDrive are automatically available on all devices – thus eliminating the concern about working offline.
  8. Uploading all documents from My Documents to OneDrive is not a good idea. It requires a lot of time and bandwidth. Moreover, it is not necessarily worth it. Most of the documents we have are not in use for years. It is a good idea to transfer ACTIVE documents to OneDrive. New documents should be created on OneDrive directly.

Security and Auditing

There are many concerns about what to do if an employee leaves, how to audit access and so on. All that is possible because OneDrive is just a document library in a site. I am not going to show the detailed steps to do so. But rest assured that it is an easy process. Concerns like this should not come in the way of efficient collaboration.


8 Responses

  1. Thanks for your excellent articles. Just a comment on your numbering, this is the second article numbered as “Worst Practices – Part 4”!

  2. We have not advertised OneDrive for Business because of the current sync engine. We are waiting for a number of improvements that have been promised for improving the sync engine. One of those is the ability to choose what folders are to be synced.

  3. How to map resigned employee one drive to his/her replacement?
    As the OneDrive is mapped user ID as soon as we remove resigned employee’s user ID what will happened to their data in OneDrive. How can we use it ?

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