OneDrive

New mass file deletion notifications in OneDrive for Business & SharePoint Online

In August 2018, Microsoft announced a new email notification feature for large file deletions that take place in SharePoint Online or OneDrive for Business. The feature proactively alerts users when an unusually large number of files are deleted in SharePoint Online or OneDrive for Business and outlines steps for restoring the files. Mass file deletion notifications is the latest in a series of features (including the recent SharePoint Online and OneDrive document library versioning changes) designed to reduce accidental data loss.

If a large number of files are deleted from a user’s OneDrive for Business account, the user will receive an email notification with instructions on how to restore their files from the recycle bin. Users that delete a large number of files from a SharePoint Online site will also receive an email notification with instructions on restoring those files.

The tricky part is determining how many files must be deleted before these automated notifications take place. According to Microsoft, “Notifications are sent to users when a higher than usual number of files are deleted per hour.” No additional information has been provided on how the ratio of file deletions is measured or what percentage increase in file deletions is enough to meet the notification threshold. As Microsoft calls out, “This is not to be considered a fail-safe file recovery solution – it is a continuation of best efforts we are making to protect your files from accidental loss.”

No configuration changes are required for enablement of this change–it will automatically deploy in your Office 365 tenant. Rollout of the mass delete notification feature has already begun for Targeted Release customers; standard release customers will start receiving the feature in late September. Government Community Cloud (GCC) Office 365 subscribers will not receive the feature.

 

OneDrive for Business organic adoption metrics: What does good look like?

I’ve had several conversations recently about measuring organic adoption of OneDrive for Business. In an organic model, users are licensed for OneDrive but choose whether or not to adopt the platform. Since adoption is entirely voluntary, education campaigns and tracking of user analytics is vital. These analytics determine how widespread OneDrive usage has become, including its overall saturation in the organization. Companies with a directive OneDrive model have no need to measure saturation. In a directive model, usage of OneDrive is forced through the automated migration of shared drive content to OneDrive accounts or via the disablement of alternate storage locations. In either case, user saturation is at or near 100%.

So if you’re working with an organic OneDrive model, how do you determine when you’ve achieved successful adoption? A quick review of Microsoft’s OneDrive user analytics gives us a starting point. Using the Office 365 Admin Portal and the Adoption content pack, you can find:

  • The percentage of enabled (aka licensed) users that are active in OneDrive. Users are considered active if they store, share, sync, or edit files in OneDrive for Business.
  • The percentage of active users that return to OneDrive month over month. This metric illustrates active user loyalty, showing who keeps coming back to OneDrive over time.
  • The number of users that are active in OneDrive on a daily basis. Pay particular attention to your daily user trend line; it predicts whether you’re still on a path of growth.
  • The breakdown of new vs. returning OneDrive users. A useful statistic for measuring new engagement. In an organic rollout, you need a healthy percentage of both new and returning OneDrive users each month.

Organizations can easily track this information month-over-month, monitoring growth rates, studying trend lines, and building projections for future use. But how do you determine what “good” looks like? And how do you know if your organic OneDrive growth is slower than the rate of adoption at other organizations?

Let’s look at the percentage of licensed users that are active in OneDrive as an example. If only 10% of your enabled OneDrive users are active 6 months into your OneDrive rollout, are you failing to see appropriate adoption? Unfortunately, there aren’t good baseline stats to measure against. Many organizations choose to roll out OneDrive for Business using the directive model, so we can’t measure against their active user percentage. And while Microsoft has many suggestions for driving OneDrive adoption and usage, they don’t provide comparison stats on active user percentages for Office 365 customers.

It would be helpful if we could define thresholds for growth in active user percentages over time. For example, a great organic OneDrive rollout may see an active user percentage of 40-65% within the first 12 months. A slower-than-average rollout rate may have a much lower active user percentage rate (e.g. 10-20%).

To help build a comparison, I’m proposing a set of thresholds to depict poor, fair, good and excellent OneDrive organic adoption rates (in terms of active user percentage) over time. Each of these thresholds assume OneDrive has been available to users for 12 months:

  • Poor organic adoption  – 5-15%
  • Fair organic adoption – 15-25%
  • Good organic adoption – 25-50%
  • Excellent organic adoption – 50%+

Different types of organizations may have differences in their thresholds for measuring organic OneDrive adoption. I’m interested to know what others think of these thresholds. Are they too low? Or too high?

Disclaimers:

  • All opinions stated in this post are my own. My views do not reflect those of Microsoft or any other organization.
  • The focus for this post is solely on OneDrive user engagement. I purposely avoided mention of file storage statistics (e.g. number of files stores, number of files shared, overall storage space consumed, etc.) as these are not indicators of voluntary OneDrive adoption. Analysis of storage and file engagement can come later.
  • This post focuses on OneDrive for Business adoption (e.g. the physical act of storing, accessing and editing files), not business value. A study of the business benefits that are realized from adoption of OneDrive should be completed and quantified.

 

Document library versioning changes coming soon for OneDrive for Business and team sites in SharePoint Online

UPDATE: On July 18, 2018, Microsoft announced an update to this SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business versioning change:

“Since this announcement, we have received feedback from our customers on this functionality and timing. First off, thank you for your valuable feedback. We hear you and are making changes to accommodate different customer needs. With that said, we will be providing an option to opt out of the site versioning requirements.”

As I mentioned in my original post, enforcing a minimum of 100 document versions in all SharePoint Online and OneDrive document libraries may significantly impact document retention policies for many organizations. The delayed implementation of this versioning increase (and the ability to opt out of it entirely) is a great outcome for companies with strong legal and compliance policy risks or concerns.

Companies wishing to opt out of the versioning setting update will need to execute a SharePoint Online Management Shell cmdlet. This cmdlet will need to be executed by the end of September 2018. Without the cmdlet, your tenant will be updated to the new versioning settings in October 2018. For details on executing the cmdlet, see Microsoft’s updated versioning announcement.


On May 16, 2018, Microsoft announced a big change to the default versioning settings for document libraries in OneDrive and SharePoint Online team sites. Versioning will now be enabled by default in document libraries and a minimum of 100 major versions of each document will be retained. This change will impact OneDrive for Business and all SharePoint Online team sites, regardless of whether the sites are connected to an Office 365 group or not. The change will not impact any on-premises SharePoint document libraries.

Targeted Release customers will start receiving this update in early June, and all tenants will receive the change by the end of July. As part of the change, any document library that does not have versioning enabled will be updated to retain 100 major document versions. Document libraries that have versioning enabled with a limit of less than 100 versions will have the version limit increased to 100. Document libraries that already have a version limit of 100 or more will be left as-is. Once this change is rolled out to your tenant, site owners and administrators will no longer be able to disable document library versioning or set a versioning limit of less than 100.

This is a big shift for SharePoint practitioners and evangelists. Many of us have advocated for strong version limits in our legacy SharePoint document libraries due to storage concerns. Unlimited versioning (or a high versioning limit) drove up site sizes, which in turn created site collection storage allocation limit issues. With the advent of Office 365, our ever-increasing amounts of storage in SharePoint Online, and our evolved approach to keeping site collections small and flat, storage concerns are no longer a primary driver for setting low versioning limits. Microsoft is also relying on versioning data to support an array of new features (e.g. file auto-save and OneDrive file restores).

It’s vital that SharePoint Online administrators and site owners understand these versioning changes and discuss the new minimum storage requirements with their business users. Compliance and legal teams should also be notified, as the required minimum versions may necessitate stronger eDiscovery controls or updates to your organization’s retention policies.

Welcoming the magic of Flow to OneDrive

In November 2017, Microsoft released its integration between Flow and OneDrive. Users can now create flows in OneDrive that will perform actions on OneDrive documents or folders. There are a wide variety of flows you can create, including:

  • Saving a copy of email attachments to a specified OneDrive folder
  • Routing OneDrive file(s) for approval
  • Sending OneDrive file(s) to other users
  • Sending links to OneDrive file(s)
  • Requesting feedback on OneDrive file(s)
  • Sending OneDrive file(s) to Microsoft Teams
  • Setting up alerts when new document(s) are uploaded
  • Searching for files in a given OneDrive folder
  • Copying OneDrive files
  • Converting OneDrive files to PDF
  • And more….

Because I present at multiple conferences/events per year, I wanted to test the capability of using Flow to convert my PowerPoint files to PDFs for easy sharing with conference attendees. I set up a flow in OneDrive to perform a PDF conversion on whichever files I select. I was able to use one of Microsoft’s standardized templates for the flow, with only a couple of minor tweaks.

Here are the steps to re-create this PDF conversion flow:

  1. Open OneDrive.
  2. Click on the Flow link in the OneDrive ribbon and select Create a flow.
    Flow_OneDrive_01
  3. When the window of flow templates appears, select the Convert selected file to PDF option.
    Flow_OneDrive_02If this is your first time using Flow, you’ll be asked to choose your country and click on the Get started button.
  4. You’ll be taken to a detail page that has information on the Convert selected file to PDF template. If this is your first time using Flow, you may be prompted to sign in and authenticate to OneDrive so the flow can be built. Simply click the Sign in button to log in. Once you’re logged in successfully, the Sign in button will be replaced with a Continue button. Click Continue to start working on your flow.
    Flow_OneDrive_03
  5. The template will populate, showing you all the preconfigured options for your flow. The flow is designed to save the selected file in PDF format and upload it to the root of your OneDrive folder structure. These default options are good, but I opted to make two changes to my flow:
    1. I clicked into the Flow name field and re-named my flow to PDF converter flow. This is the name that will show up in my menu of flows to run in OneDrive.
    2. I wanted all my converted PDF files to be stored in my OneDrive Presentations folder. To configure this option, I opened the Create file step and specified the creation folder path of /Presentations. (Note: If you choose to use a custom folder to store your PDFs, you must create the folder in OneDrive before you can specify the folder name in your flow.)
    3. Once these changes were made, I clicked on the Create flow option to create my new flow:
    4. Flow_OneDrive_04.png
  6. Once my flow is created, I’m taken to the complete screen. All I need to do is click Done to exit.
    Flow_OneDrive_05
  7. Now I’m taken to the overview page for my new flow. I can see that this flow is turned on and is set up to run on my OneDrive account. I also see a run history box. An audit record for each run of this flow will be recorded in the run history.
    Flow_OneDrive_06
  8. Now I’m ready to return to OneDrive and test my new flow. To do this, I navigated back to OneDrive, selected the file I wanted to convert to PDF, clicked on the Flow dropdown menu and selected my new PDF converter flow.
    Flow_OneDrive_07
  9. After waiting 5-10 seconds, I refreshed my page and there’s my new PDF!
    Flow_OneDrive_08

A few lessons I learned during the process of setting up this new flow:

  • Neither the free version of Flow nor the E1 tenant license supports PDF document conversions. While the free version of Flow and my E1 tenant could be used to create other flows, the PDF converter required at least an E3 Flow license.
  • The PDF conversion flow can’t be run against multiple files at once. I had to start the PDF converter flow for each file individually.
  • PDF conversion speeds are variable based on file size. A 51MB PowerPoint file took almost a minute to convert. Small PowerPoint files converted in under 8 seconds.

If you’d like more information on the integration between Flow and OneDrive, read the blog post announcement from the Flow team.