SharePoint Online – In a world of its own

Why there currently are no real alternatives

Published by Rob Chambers on April 20, 2018

SharePoint connection Diagram

In this modern information-driven world, business needs are very different even to those of 5 years ago. This has been true for many years but business evolution seems to have sped up in recent years and the cloud has been changing with it. SharePoint Online Aims to change the game…

Why use anything else?

The number of cloud-based file systems now available for both personal and business use has been growing and whilst these services are getting better, they generally offer few additional file-based features, if any.
Dropbox arguably considered the best of these platforms offers a lot to its customers, large storage plans, retention and possibly the best sync client out there. But it lacks in real teamwork features, which I will try to cover in a bit.

Google Drive is starting to mature and like Dropbox offers some nice enough features in the retail space, a solid sync client, and fair storage space. Although Google Drive is really designed for Google’s Office suite and is constantly trying to get users to use that. Again, teamwork and processes are currently lacking.

SharePoint Online and OneDrive

So, what?

For most businesses, teamwork has been key and whilst there are many tasks for the individual, communication is vital for excellent service. If sales close a big deal and neglect to communicate the correct information to production and on time, the order could fall through. There are many examples here, but I want to get to my point!

SharePoint was created and launched by Microsoft in 2001. It has grown up substantially in recent years and thankfully, Microsoft made the decision to include SharePoint online with an Office 365 subscription.

With this came significant gains and a change in thinking when consuming company data.

SharePoint is not just a file sharing tool, I have done plenty of SharePoint Migrations and development where the customer just thought of SharePoint like this, and are always disappointed that it is just a slow NAS drive!

It couldn’t be further from the truth, in fact comparing SharePoint to a file server / NAS is like comparing a car to an airplane. Just look at the cool stuff it does!

  • Document Libraries for Document storage
  • Lists for tabulated / database data – we have created some very sophisticated applications using lists!
  • SharePoint Workflows to automate business data flow and processes
  • Microsoft Flow to automate processes between applications like Outlook, twitter, facebook and hundreds more!
  • Microsoft PowerApps to create Mobile apps that interact with SharePoint
  • OneDrive for Business – up to 5tb (Yes, I said 5Tb) of storage per user for individual use
  • Gorgeous new intranet pages using the modern page, making creating interactive and dynamic intranet a pleasure
  • Sharepoint comes with all this and is protected by some of the most complex and reliable security and retention technologies available today.

Where?

So in terms of features and security, SharePoint has you covered, but there is also one additional benefit to Office 365 and SharePoint online that I don’t think Microsoft quite shout loudly enough about. Most of the other cloud providers keep their data centers in the country of the business, normally in the USA, this means that your data will end up in an undisclosed location, probably in a country foreign to your own. This can have legal ramifications depending on your business.
Office 365 can be set to guarantee where your data is stored at rest. If you are in the UK like me, no problem I can set it so that my data is stored in London, or Ireland. This I think gives Office 365 a significant advantage over other cloud providers. It gives business peace of mind that foreign influence will not play a part in their cloud strategy.

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