In a previous article you could read why e-mail and fileshares are not suitable for smarter collaboration on files. It happens because fileshares and folder structures give a tunnel vision, have no options for version management, and there is often a swamp of files where no one can find anything anymore. In the traditional way of working there are two separate systems: one for files (fileshare), and one for conversations (email).
We need smarter collaboration on files. How can Office 365 support that? Where do you save your file? How does smart co-creation work? And how do you deal with files from, for example, your team?
This article is one of a series:
1. What does not work with fileshares and e-mail?
2. Smarter collaboration on files with Office 365
3. Thinking about fileshares with the Silverside Collaboration Framework
What we need is a way to work together flexibly. Flexible with which tools, when, and with whom you work. Sometimes we want to work separately from each other, and sometimes to work at the same time, so that we can immediately fine-tune matters. Possibly using Skype for Business, so that we can also see and hear each other. We also want to have one place for collaboration, where the file, planning, tasks and the conversation come together.
Smarter collaboration on files with Office 365
With Office 365 you can easily share files with colleagues, and discuss them via for example a team site, a Team or Planner. File management is easy. Whether you use a SharePoint team site, a Team, or a Plan, does not matter. They all have all the features of a SharePoint document library. Office 365 automatically keeps track of versioning, and you can always view who changed the file, or restore an earlier version.
The process of collaborating on a file comprises a number of steps:
- Create the file.
- Share the file in the right place in Office 365 (for example, OneDrive, a SharePoint Teamsite or a Team), where those with whom you collaborate can join.
- Edit the file (create versions).
- Discuss and communicate about the content, progress and process in the team site, group, or team.
As written before, we tend to use – even if we already have Office 365 – fileshares and e-mail for all these steps. And then we end up with huge e-mail trees and multiple copies with different contents of the file. With Office 365 we can make this process easier. The result is less mess.
Where do I save my file?
If you want to share files, you can do that with Office 365 in different ways. There are several tools that you can use for this, but you can also save your file in different places.
Every time you have a file to share, you can ask yourself where you have to start, and where it should eventually end up. Is it my concept, so am I not ready to share it with my colleagues? Or do I want to have a specific colleague look at it? Or is it something that I want to share with a permanent team or group? It’s possible your file runs through all these stages. But without ever copying the file elsewhere! Instead of physically moving the file, you only change who gets access to it.
Smarter collaboration on files: work as a group
When you work together with a fixed group on a regular basis, the question arises: ‘Where do I put the file? There are so many choices with Office 365! Usually, you see that the majority is done in OneDrive. But OneDrive is your personal place. In addition, you can share with colleagues from there, but it remains your personal piece. But this is not suitable for groups such as departments and divisions, or project groups.
Depending on the choices within your organization for ‘turning on’ applications within Office 365, you have the following options to share a file:
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