Where do I share my files (OneDrive, SharePoint, or Microsoft Teams)?

We love all the collaboration options provided in Microsoft 365…but our end-users are still asking the same old question:

How do I know where to share?

The answer can be confusing (particularly for end-users that don’t live and breathe Microsoft 365 every day). They have Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, and a multitude of SharePoint sites. How do they decide where to save their documents and where to share files with others? In Episode 34 of the Microsoft 365 Voice, we discuss a formula for knowing where to share.

Here’s our simple guidance

OneDrive is your personal collaboration space (used for drafts, early versions of documents, etc.). You can do light sharing from OneDrive with a small number of people, but when you’re ready to share more broadly you should move the file to SharePoint or Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams and SharePoint provide stronger file collaboration capabilities, including document metadata and the ability to have conversations on files.

As we discuss in the episode, we’re seeing organizations define Microsoft Teams as the “go-forward solution” for team collaboration and SharePoint as the location for organizational news and other intelligent intranet needs. This recommendation is very helpful for end users. It simplifies the story, making it easier for them to navigate when to use Microsoft Teams and SharePoint.

Pragmatic governance

I take a pragmatic approach to governance. A pragmatic approach is simple, practical, and easy to summarize. Your organizational governance strategy should answer the “Where to share” question for your end-users. Perhaps you create a SharePoint news article titled Where to share in Microsoft 365 and include high-level examples of when and where to store and share your work files. Incorporating visuals or video clips in this news article is a great idea; a picture is easy to remember and can help users decide whether to share a file in OneDrive or Microsoft Teams.

Bottom line: If you haven’t answered the “Where to share” question for your organization, you should. And you need to share the answer as simply as you can.

An ongoing challenge

One of the biggest misunderstandings we see is users mistakenly believing that Microsoft Teams stores documents. Microsoft Teams provides a collaboration experience, but documents uploaded or shared via Teams are actually stored in SharePoint or OneDrive. Listen to the full episode for a more detailed explanation of where your documents get stored.

Have a Microsoft 365 question? Submit it online! Your question may be featured in a future podcast episode.

SharePoint Home site updates with DC Padur

We’re thrilled to welcome DC Padur, Principal Program Manager at Microsoft, to Episode 33 of the Microsoft 365 Voice! We asked DC questions about all the new Home site capabilities announced at Microsoft Ignite 2020.

This year’s #MSIgnite was full of amazing announcements for SharePoint news, Home sites, Hubs, and the world of the intelligent intranet. If you haven’t had a chance to watch the sessions yet, here’s a short list of sessions to get you started:

Home site news to love

Home site “superpowers” are growing! When you elevate a SharePoint Communications site to be your Home site, your site gets superpowers like tenant-wide search, integration with the home icon in the SharePoint mobile app, and designation as an organizational news site. But now your Home site will give you the ability to configure Global Navigation in the new SharePoint App Bar and enable the new Home site app in Microsoft Teams!

Global Navigation and the new SharePoint App Bar (coming Q4 2020)

The SharePoint App Bar is a built-in navigation and way-finding experience for all users in your organization. The app bar has 4 tiles: Global Navigation, Frequent & followed sites, Recommended news, and Recent files. The Global Navigation tile is configured by your Home site administrator and will support up to 3 levels of navigation links with audience targeting capabilities.

Ability to configure & enable the new Home site app in Microsoft Teams (coming Q1 2021)

The Home site app seamlessly integrates your SharePoint intranet with Microsoft Teams. The home site app provides Teams users with a full intranet experience, global navigation, tenant-wide search, a personalized news feed, and quick access to their recently-used sites.

So much more to learn

Our conversation with DC Padur dives into these announcements and other key Home site features in much more detail. Listen in to learn how Home sites are changing the information architecture possibilities for your organization.

Have a Microsoft 365 question? Submit it online! Your question may be featured in a future podcast episode.

Diving into Project Cortex and SharePoint Syntex

I went into Microsoft Ignite 2020 looking for information on Project Cortex. With a background in Library & Information Science and years of experience building knowledge bases and hierarchical taxonomies, I was fascinated to learn how Project Cortex is using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to connect people, ideas, and topics. In this blog post, I’m sharing links to some of my favorite Ignite session videos and initial thoughts on Project Cortex.

#MS Ignite sessions

My thoughts…

Knowledge in your organization is like stars in the sky. I LOVED Naomi Moneypenny’s analogy that people, ideas, and resources in our organizations connect together like stars in constellations. Project Cortex helps draw lines and connect all the people and disparate knowledge in our organizations, exposing ideas, data, and content in new and interesting ways.

Microsoft SharePoint Syntex is the first product from Project Cortex. Syntex uses a SharePoint Content Center site to create, manage, and deploy understanding models. These models teach Microsoft’s AI how to review your content and make connections to build knowledge. You can teach the model to understand data the way you do. As different subject matter experts across your organization teach the model what they know, the model is able to look at data from multiple perspectives and deliver the right content to the right user.

Building a model is easier (and faster) than you’d think. I was impressed to learn you need a relatively small set of content to build and train your model. You can build a model with as few as 5 sample documents. And it’s brilliant that they require you to provide the model with both “good examples” and at least one “bad example.” If you’re trying to teach a model how to review organizational purchase orders, for example, you should upload one document that is clearly not a purchase order so it learns how to recognize anomalies.

Training your model is a straightforward 4-step process:

  1. Add example files (minimum of 5)
  2. Classify files & run training (label your positive and negative sample files & train the model on keywords and phrases that are important to you in each file)
  3. Create and train extractors
  4. Apply the new model to document library(s)

Information architecture is vital. Knowledge and information is meaningless without context. And a solid information architecture is a foundational part of having strong AI experiences. As Naomi Moneypenny shared in her session, “Any investment that you make in information architecture will pay dividends in AI, helping to give it structure, helping to give it seeding, and actually promoting a much better experience.”

If you’d like to hear more about Project Cortex and SharePoint Syntex, check out the REgarding 365 analysis Owen Allen, Simon Denton, and I recorded last week.

Are hubs the new SharePoint site collection?

I deliver presentations on SharePoint hubs frequently, and one of the questions I get asked in every session is:

Are hubs the new SharePoint site collections?

This question comes from SharePoint administrators, end-users, and site owners alike. Many of us have been working for more than a decade to build hierarchies of SharePoint sites. In the SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010 days, we prided ourselves in building and effectively managing deep webs of sites to combat the urban sprawl of site collections.

Now the SharePoint world is flat and we build each of our modern SharePoint sites in their own site collections. This affords a multitude of benefits, including: configuring site collection settings to meet our site’s exact needs, keeping our site URLs short, and avoiding the constant struggle to migrate sites from one site collection to another based on organizational changes. But we still need to figure out how to connect our flat SharePoint sites together in a meaningful way. This is where SharePoint hubs come in.

Hubs provide a familial, logical tie between SharePoint sites. With hubs, you can unify SharePoint site branding, provide a common navigation experience, and roll up news and events in a centralized display. Hubs enhance content discovery by tying sites together for easy browsing. Hubs are also flexible and support your organization as it evolves. Simply assign your site to a new hub and your site’s branding is automatically updated.

But we still have a challenge. We need our end-users and SharePoint site owners to understand 2 key things:

  • Site collections no longer contain hierarchies of sites; they’re now “flat” and contain only one site.
  • SharePoint hubs are not a new type of site collection. Site collections were physical constructs that created hierarchical site structures (aka parent and child sites). Hubs provide a logical tie between SharePoint sites, but this logical tie has nothing to do with physical storage. Each flat site associated with a hub exists in its own independent site collection.

Episode 32 of the Microsoft 365 Voice dives deeper into this topic. We explore the definition of classic and modern SharePoint sites, share tips on how you can start transitioning your classic sites, and explain why hubs are not site collections. We hope you enjoy this episode!

Have a Microsoft 365 question? Submit it online! Your question may be featured in a future podcast episode.

Staying on top of Microsoft 365 changes (an organizational perspective)

Organizations implementing Microsoft 365 need to prepare for a long-term investment that includes weekly or monthly deep-dives into new features and communication models for sharing updates with their employees.

Bottom line: Your M365 governance plans must include an ongoing investment of time and resources to:

  1. Determine how feature changes impact your users and the governance of your tenant
  2. Define effective methods for sharing M365 changes with your employees
  3. Continuously update and evolve your communications strategy to ensure your messages are being seen & heard

Microsoft gives you a variety of resources for staying on top of feature changes, including the Microsoft 365 Roadmap and the Message Center (with a new Planner integration feature). In this episode of the M365 Voice, we share organization-level tips and tricks for staying on top of these changes and sharing them with your employees.

Have a Microsoft 365 question? Submit it online! Your question may be featured in a future podcast episode.


Immediate steps to take if you experience a Microsoft 365 data breach

In this critical episode of the Microsoft 365 Voice, we discuss the steps you need to take if you suspect you’ve had a M365 security breach:

Step 1 – Don’t panic!

Step 2 – Stop the bleeding. Take immediate steps to triage and determine at what level the security breach occurred.

Step 3 – Take corrective action.

Step 4 – Inform key partners, leaders, stakeholders, etc.

Step 5  – Protect yourself in the future.

Don’t miss the end of the episode, where we discuss pivotal steps you should take to prepare for a data breach before one occurs. Whether you’re part of an extensive M365 administrative team or a one-person department, there are steps you should take now to give yourself a playbook for handling any future security breaches.

Have a Microsoft 365 question? Submit it online! Your question may be featured in a future podcast episode.


Helping your users understand Microsoft 365 terminology

As Microsoft 365 practitioners, it’s our job to help information workers and end-users understand how to work with Microsoft Teams, Planner, SharePoint, OneDrive, etc. Having a common set of defined terms helps your users stay on top of M365 feature changes and capabilities. If your organization hasn’t done so already, I recommend coming up with a M365 “style guide.” The style guide should define the way in which you refer to M365 products and features. For example:

  • How will you refer to a Microsoft Teams team? And how will you distinguish that team from the Teams product or from a SharePoint team site?
  • Will you double-up on descriptive terms like “Planner plan” and “Teams team” when you refer to specific M365 groups?
  • Will you use capitalization alone to denote an individual plan from the Planner product?

In this episode of M365 Voice, we discuss the challenge of building our enterprise Microsoft vocabulary. Listen in for ideas on how you can consistently refer to your M365 features and products. Enjoy!

Have a Microsoft 365 question? Submit it online! Your question may be featured in a future podcast episode.


Which Microsoft 365 mobile applications do you use most? And which apps are your favorite?

We went mobile for this episode of the Microsoft 365 Voice, discussing which mobile apps we use most and why. Our top 10 list of apps include:

  • Outlook
  • Microsoft Teams
  • OneDrive
  • OneNote
  • Microsoft 365 Admin
  • Power Automate
  • SharePoint
  • Office
  • Power Apps
  • To-Do

We discussed trends we’ve seen in organizational adoption of the M365 mobile apps, along with differences in our work vs. personal use. (Hint: The OneDrive and OneNote mobile apps win for most-used personal apps…)


Have a Microsoft 365 question? Submit it online! Your question may be featured in a future podcast episode.


Determining if you should enable Microsoft Self-Service


To drive effective utilization of Microsoft 365, we have to create new Microsoft Teams, Planner plans, Yammer communities, and SharePoint Online sites on a timely basis. But many organizations have gatekeeping reviews or regulatory requirements that require reviews and/or approvals prior to creating new teams, plans, communities, and sites. The tension between quick creation and required governance leads to difficult decisions:

  • What (if any) approvals should be required in order to get a new team, plan, community, or site?
  • How quickly should the new team, plan, community, or site be provided? Is 2 hours quick enough? How about 2 days? 2 weeks?
  • Who should be able to request a new team, plan, community, or site? And should they have to declare a business purpose or specify the type of data (e.g. company confidential, personal information, highly classified, etc.) included?
  • Who will approve the creation of teams, plans, communities, and sites?

You also need to decide what type of self-service model you’d like to leverage. A request and fulfillment model begins with an employee completing an intake request for a team, plan, community, or site. This intake would then be processed on an automated or manual basis. If the request was found to be valid (within appropriate parameters), the new team, plan, community, or site request would be fulfilled. A create and certify model enables employees to create and use their new teams, plans, communities, and sites immediately. Creators would then receive required attestation or registration forms that must be completed within an allotted time period or their new team, plan, community, or site will be deleted. Some companies use a certify and create model where employees complete a required registration process and are then provided a new team, plan, community, or site.

Your organizational culture, regulatory requirements, and governance/auditing needs should drive your decisions on enabling Microsoft 365 self-service. There is no one-size-fits-most model for success. In Episode 24 of the Microsoft 365 Voice, we share ideas for choosing a self-service model, provide examples of what we’ve seen work well, and give some getting-started ideas. We hope you enjoy the episode!

Have a Microsoft 365 question? Submit it online! Your question may be featured in a future podcast episode.


#MVPbuzzChat episode 54

I sat down with Christian Buckley (@buckleyplanet) recently to record an episode of #MVPbuzzChat. We had a great conversation about enterprise Office 365 and SharePoint adoption and governance. Topics covered include:

  • Growth in end-user adoption content and sessions in the SharePoint & Office 365 space
  • History of SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities
  • Impact and growth of female-led technology sessions
  • Metrics analysis trends for SharePoint and Office 365, including the challenge in defining what strong adoption in organic OneDrive implementations looks like
  • The challenge justifying technology’s value to the organization (and how technology utilization and value differ)
  • How to connect with your end-users to drive interest and engagement
  • How innovation games can help you gather requirements, build consensus, and drive strategic discussions with your end-users and decision makers
  • Why companies should adopt a practical model for SharePoint and Office 365 governance that reflects your organizational culture and industry you’re working in
  • The great content we have available on REgarding 365, including The Coffee Chat on 365 Adoption podcast miniseries that Daniel Glenn and I recently recorded

Enjoy the #MVPbuzzChat!