You’ll have likely heard the expression “the devil is in the detail” – which underscores the importance of attention to detail. By missing out small but essential steps (in anything from baking a cake to building a castle), the end result will be far from perfect. While this is no doubt true, from my experience I have a slightly different take: the trouble with details is that they’re so, well, detailed. And in terms of SharePoint and OneDrive for Business limits, this is enough to drive one slightly mad.
Allow me to elaborate. If someone tells you, “I saw a great action film last week” there’s a pretty good chance you’ll know the general plot before it’s been explained to you: burly, gravelly-voiced male protagonist(s) must [insert: seek revenge/pull off daring escape/fight oppression/commit mass assassination] in order to [insert: find redemption/get ‘the girl’/save the city/save the world] … and roll end credits
But if someone tells you, “Oh, I installed some new software last week” your response would likely take the form of a question: “What does it do?”; “How does it work?” etc. Then let’s say they tell you this software takes care of storing your files; “What kind of files?”; “Where does it store them?” and the cycle continues because there are a number of details that beget more and more questions.
And it’s a similar scenario with SharePoint. Microsoft initially invented a platform on which you could store your files, but doing so is now a much more complex process. Fast-forward to the present and thousands of users are making use of the full power of SharePoint. The problem is, OneDrive for Business – Microsoft’s sync-and-share platform – has lost many of the features it once had, and working with the platform now requires you to know ‘all the details’. In the remainder of this post, I’ll explain some of the most important ones.
Three’s a crowd
With Microsoft’s iterations of the platform, there are a few core OneDrive for Business limits. These can considerably slow down a user’s productivity – regardless of which version of the platform they are using – and make their day-to-day all that more cumbersome. The following are three of the OneDrive for business limits and issues users may experience when working with the platform:
- Users can only sync entire team sites, or not sync at all.
- The removal of local offline files subsequently deletes SharePoint files.
- No metadata support for files means there is no support for views.
All or nothing
Here, the phrase the devil’s in the details is actually quite appropriate. If you’re not careful, you can easily get caught out when syncing your files. Giant file repositories with hundreds or thousands of documents are common in most organisations. So, being able to sync entire team sites can be very useful… if you want the entirety of the content that was in there. But, what if you only wanted to sync one, two or ten documents. In these scenarios – which I would argue are equally as common as the need to sync an entire team site – you end up with far more content than you need, and it takes longer to access as a result. And that’s if you even wanted to sync down X-hundred files.
For the sake of an argument, however, let’s say you have got all your files on your laptop and you want to remove a few of them to free up some space. When you remove them, did you really want to remove those files from SharePoint as well? After encountering the issues of our first problem, one now has to deal with this separate issue, and it can quickly snowball to the point where you’re syncing and deleting documents en masse when all you wanted to do was get the company lunch rota on your laptop.
And then we have issues with metadata. Large organisations in particular will stress the importance of metadata – without it, it becomes extremely difficult to find what you’re looking for among walls of files. It’s all about selecting – just like how you can select file libraries, you select what you want to look at based on the metadata of files.
Let’s say, for example, you’re going to your local vinyl store on the hunt for your next purchase. But you’re never going to find Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd if it’s been put in the 80s euro trance genre – unless your recollection of that album was very different to mine.
And of course, the same can be applied to metadata. Supposing you had a metadata field that said ‘contracts’ and a column marked ‘customer name’; you can’t filter the documents so only those customers are displayed as there’s no metadata to do so. Which begs the question: what’s the point of adding metadata to your documents if you can’t use views? It’s a waste of time.
There’s an Easier solution
So, when you’re working with files in OneDrive for Business, making sure you’re paying extra attention to detail becomes quite important. But we can’t – or rather, shouldn’t – be expected to carry that burden. We are only human – and we’re busy humans focusing our efforts on more pressing matters than whether you’re going to lose all your files when you delete just one off your phone.
Easier365, from Digilink, can help take that load off your shoulders and overcome the OneDrive for business limits. Obtain full metadata support, support for Views and display file properties offline; delete local files without losing the same files in SharePoint; use file-level sync and switch sync to determine which files you want to sync and nothing else. All inside a user interface that’s clear, direct and easy to use.
To try out Easier365 for yourself, download your free, fully-featured trial software and see how it can save you from those OneDrive for Business limits and syncing woes.