Microsoft Stack Part 6: File Storage & Collaboration

Microsoft: File storage and collaboration

Microsoft has a several different file storage and collaboration solutions which can be deployed within organisations to allow sharing, interaction and collaboration between employees.

SharePoint Online

Image result for sharepoint online logo

SharePoint Online is Microsoft’s cloud-based tool which is designed to foster an environment of sharing and collaboration within organisations. One of the primary ways organisations use SharePoint is to manage and share resources within organisations by storing them on the cloud. Rather than storing documents in a single location, storing resources on the cloud allows users to access documents from any device, and interact and collaborate with others across the organisation.

Organisations can also use SharePoint as an enterprise content management system, in that it can be useful as a means to efficiently store and organising data and information on a system that can be accessed by the internet. However, there are also many other ways in which organisations can deploy and use SharePoint, such as the creation and management of websites, customer relationship management, networking facilitation, business intelligence and workflow management.

Organisations wishing to maintain control over their data and have a greater ability to customise SharePoint to meet their needs can deploy SharePoint Server, which is installed on premise. This may be preferable for organisations that hold sensitive and classified data.

Some uses of Sharepoint are:

  • Intranet Portals,
  • Document & File Management,
  • Social Networks,
  • Websites,
  • Extranets,
  • Advanced Search Functionality
  • Increased Business Intelligence solutions

Collaboration abilities allow more than one team member to access, edit, and annotate a document simultaneously. Team members can collaborate to formulate the document by breaking down tasks or sections, and SharePoint will cohesively stitch together a complete document on the fly as they work.

It’s also possible to use Sharepoint as a document storage repository when using other Microsoft applications, such as Dynamics365. There is seamless integration between these products, and implementations of this can have major benefits in terms of storage pricing (Sharepoint storage is somewhat of a fraction of the cost of Dynamics storage – the benefits of this are seen when implementing solutions that will need to scale up over time). It can be used for attachments, emails, etc

OneDrive for Business

Image result for logo onedrive for business

OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage service that allows users to store files and access them from anywhere on any device. Due to its integration with Office 365, OneDrive enables users create and edit documents on the cloud, and share these documents to collaborate with others. Local copies of documents can be downloaded from the cloud to view and edit offline (with then synchronising back online when re-connected). The service can be used for both personal and business/school use, but the latter service is managed internally in the organisation and is referred to as OneDrive for Business.

Following on from the information for Sharepoint above, OneDrive for Business with Dynamics 365 is a great way to expand on SharePoint integration by allowing users to associate documents to SharePoint-enabled entities from their own OneDrive for Business folders. This does need Sharepoint to already be in place and integrated with Dynamics365 in order to work

Delve

Image result for logo microsoft delve

Microsoft Delve is a cloud-based solution powered by Office Graph, which is a repository of user content and activity, and the inter-relationships between them. Essentially, Delve provides users with up to date information on what they are currently working on and who they are working with, and helps increase interaction and collaboration between employees within organisations.

The purpose of Delve is generally to be able to present in front of us what we need before we even ask for it. An example of this could be an upcoming meeting – Delve should be able to show you the related documents for the meeting (subject to security controls – if you don’t have security access to view the files, they won’t be displayed)

On Delve, all users can create and update their Office 365 profile with their professional interests, current projects, skills and certifications. Users also receive a personalised home page, which enables them to discover important information from across the Office 365 Suite, such as emails, events, contacts and documents. The home page provides users with links to their recently accessed documents, other user’s profiles and a content feed. This content feed uses machine learning and artificial intelligence which tracks user activity and interaction to present content that may be of interest to the user.

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