Governance is always important

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There are many times I’m called in to help people design their Microsoft 365 compliance environment. In other words, help with SharePoint, Teams, etc. I generally use my trusty framework that I have spoken about here before:

A framework for file migrations to Microsoft 365

Most of the time I find that people have already ‘given it a go’ themselves but generally ‘mucked it up’ and that’s the reason I’m now there.

I have no issues if someone has in fact ‘mucked it up’ because at least they have tried and it is generally easy to rectify. What I do seriously wonder about is the response to the first question I ask them – ‘Why did you do it that way?’.

The answer to this question I receive is generally a blank stare or silence, even a shoulder shrug. I point out that this is largely why things has been ‘mucked up’ in the first place,  because there was no governance.

In short, what I really want to see with collaboration in Microsoft 365 is the fact that thought has been invested beforehand. Why? Simple. A collaboration system in Microsoft 365 is something you build, not something you buy or magically appears. Microsoft 365 gives you the tools to create the best system, in the world for you. Tailored exactly to your business. Uniquely flexible for your business. Able to adapt to your needs, unlike any off the shelf system. However, it can never achieve that if it doesn’t know who you are what you want. You have to tell it (via governance) what you want it to be. In short, it is clay that you need to mould and governance tells you the shape into which you want to mould it.

Like any good project, the secret is to stop and think before acting. Planning before diving in makes a world of difference to the outcome. But most importantly, write down what you want to achieve! The one common thing about EVERY ‘mucked up’ Microsoft 365 collaboration project I see is simply the lack of documentation prior to commencement.

This documentation doesn’t have to be complex or involved and should be at the very minimum a single page that defines the ‘need’ for a collaboration system. What business pain point does it need to solve? What are the expected benefits? Why will it be used? Think of this document like a specification for the project, the plans if you like. You’d never build a house without foundations and plumbing before you put the walls up now would you? A plan helps make sure that you know what the desired outcome is, helps you understand how to get there and how avoid problems along the way. Without that, you are building something effectively blindfolded.

That one page governance document should hopefully be born before the Microsoft 365 collaboration project even starts. However it is by no means a static document. It is a living breathing entity. It should be added to, edited, enhanced, expanded constantly. But above all else, it should become the single point of truth for why we have this thing. Having such a document is both a guide and a reference. As you move through the various stages of development, which occur over a period of time, you can reference this document and understand the reasons for doing things the way you did. As the system grows it again becomes the reasons for what you are looking to achieve and how you approached that. If you don’t already have a governance document for your Microsoft 365 collaboration environment, then now is always the best time to start one.

The importance of this is that at some stage, maybe, the people initially charged to build the collaboration system move on or there is a decision to out source or change builders. If you have a document that sets out your manifesto for the Microsoft 365collaboration system it is so much easier for everyone involved. Everyone is on the same page and knows where to go to get answers if needed. That’s what I want to see if I become involved as a ‘collaboration consultant’. It means I can quickly understand what you want Microsoft 365 to achieve for your business. It is the platform on which your future solution is built. Remember, collaboration in Microsoft 365 is not a product you buy it is a solution you build.

Sadly, even the most generally organised business overlooks the need to have governance in any Microsoft 365 collaboration system. Governance at the very least should be everyone’s understanding of what is project is and what the aim is. The best way to achieve that, is to write it down beforehand! Without it then, there is no a single reference point that be used to guide the outcome and things unsurprisingly get ‘mucked up’.

As they say – ‘failing to plan, is planning to fail’. Governance is important for Microsoft 365 collaboration, if for nothing else because it is succeeding through planning!

Need to Know podcast–Episode 215

In this episode I speak with Alex Fields about the power of conditional access. You’ll learn what it is, how to implement it as well as many best practices recommended by Alex based in his experience and knowledge. The great new is conditional access is part of Microsoft 365 Business, so listen in for the way to make it work to protect your information.

Brenton and I also bring you up to speed with all the latest Microsoft Cloud news, so listen in for the latest as always. We hope you enjoy this episode and don’t forget to send us your feedback.

This episode was recorded using Microsoft Teams and produced with Camtasia 2019

Take a listen and let us know what you think – feedback@needtoknow.cloud

You can listen directly to this episode at:

https://ciaops.podbean.com/e/episode-215-alex-fields/

Subscribe via iTunes at:

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/ciaops-need-to-know-podcasts/id406891445?mt=2

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/ciaops/need-to-know-podcast?refid=stpr

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send us any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.

Resources

@vanvfields

@contactbrenton

@directorcia

CIAOPS Patron Community

ITProMentor

ITProMentor – Best parctices

Attacker Kill Chain described

ITProMentor – Free Microsoft 365 Business eBook

ITProMentor – Licensing Guide

Telstra Purple

New version of To-Do

Authenticator backup on Android now available

Prepare for iPadiOS Launch

New webparts coming to SharePoint

Azure QuickStart Center

Top 5 advantages of syncing with OneDrive

Modernize your root site

Need to Know podcast–Episode 212

In this episode I speak with Darrell Webster about what happens behind the scenes with the Regarding365 community. A really good discussion around community and the process of regularly creating content. Of course there is also the latest Microsoft Cloud news and yes, Brenton is back to explain where he has been. Tune in for all the details.

This episode was recorded using Microsoft Teams and produced with Camtasia 2019

Take a listen and let us know what you think – feedback@needtoknow.cloud

You can listen directly to this episode at:

https://ciaops.podbean.com/e/episode-212-darrell-webster/

Subscribe via iTunes at:

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/ciaops-need-to-know-podcasts/id406891445?mt=2

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/ciaops/need-to-know-podcast?refid=stpr

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send us any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.

Resources

@darrellaas

@regarding365

@contactbrenton

@directorcia

What’s new in Teams – July 2019

New to Microsoft 365 in July

OneDrive round up – July 2019

New Flow and PowerApps licensing

An Office 365 Guide to PowerApps and Flow licensing

Microsoft Defender ATP evaluation lab is now available

Without enrollment and Outlook for iOS and Android general app configuration

What’s new with Microsoft 365 – July [VIDEO]

Ring Central Teams

Teams in the Classroom [VIDEO]

https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/g3iqgy/ep212.m4a

Need to Know podcast–Episode 207

We have an interview with Senior product Marketing Manager for Microsoft 365 Business, Ashanka Iddya. There is of course an update on everything from the Microsoft Cloud with a special focus on the recent SharePoint 2019 Conference. Delta synced files, full Document Library fidelity in Teams and more are covered in this episode.

This episode was recorded using Microsoft Teams and produced with Camtasia

Take a listen and let us know what you think – feedback@needtoknow.cloud

You can listen directly to this episode at:

https://ciaops.podbean.com/e/episode-207-ashanka-iddya/

Subscribe via iTunes at:

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/ciaops-need-to-know-podcasts/id406891445?mt=2

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/ciaops/need-to-know-podcast?refid=stpr

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send us any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.

Resources

@aiddya

@contactbrenton

@directorcia

Small and Medium Business on the Microsoft Tech Community

SharePoint home sites

New mobile features, interactivity and more announced at SharePoint Conference 2019

OneDrive announcements – SharePoint Conference 2019

Turbocharging Microsoft 365 cloud user experiences

Framework for file migrations to Microsoft 365

Processes for File migrations to Microsoft 365

CIAOPS Patron Program

Processes for file migrations to Microsoft 365

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Recently, I wrote about

A framework for file migrations to Microsoft 365

In essence, this helps you understand where to put what when it comes to moving file data to Microsoft 365. However, collaboration in Microsoft 365 is more than just moving data. To really get value from that data you need to ‘process’ it or ‘transform’ it. How do you do that?

When you go through the process of migrating data there are four major process steps you should be focus on:

1. Structure

2. Permissions

3. Metadata

4. Automation

and do so in that order.

1. Structure

Before you move any data you need to think about the structure of the destination. Is it going to be the same as the source? What data moves into Teams versus SharePoint? How many Document Libraries are there going to be? How many folders inside each Document Library will there be? And so on.

Best practice when it comes to designing structure is not to go beyond three levels deep (Robert’s rule of three applies). Thus, Team = Level 1, Document Library or Channel = Level 2 and Folder within that = Level 3. Moving into this new collaboration world means you should be aiming to have a structure that is as flat and wide as possible rather than narrow and deep. Why? Because the tools provided in Microsoft 365 make it easy for users to filter and sort data that was previously not available to them. Deep structures hide information away and users waste time and effort navigating up and down trees looking for the things they need. It is better to have lots of unique Document Libraries in SharePoint than a single Document Library containing a very deep folder structure.

Every time you create a level in your collaboration structure you ask the question “Will this be by function or location?”. For example:

Q: “Will this Microsoft Team be by function or location?”

A: Function, since it is for Finance

Q: “ Will this Channel inside the Finance Team be by function or location?”

A: Location, since we want a unique channel for each of our state branches

Q: “Will the folder inside the State channel be by function or location?”

A: Function, since we want it to hold our policies

and so on. In most cases, your structure will typically be by function, however you should continue to ask the question at every point during the design or your structure.

Like building a house, your structure is the foundation that your new information system is built on. Build so it has the right structure for you. Build it so it can support your business as it grows. Build it so you have the flexibility to change as required. However, above all else, build it for your users to get the most from!

2. Permissions

Now that you have established the structure, you need to determine who has access to what. If you use the previous framework that I provided it is generally pretty easy to achieve this.

OneDrive for Business = each user is the only one that has access to their own area. This is already configured by default.

Teams = simply add the desired people into the Team and they will receive contribute rights (read/write).

SharePoint Team site = typically everyone one will only need read rights here, a select group will need read/write.

Intranet = all users will typically need to be able to read the whole site while selected groups of people will typically need read/write inside the structure to provide updates.

Yammer = all users will have contribute (read/write) rights.

Best practice with permissions, is to approach it from a top down perspective. That is, apply permissions to the largest containers first and work your way down. Who needs access to this location? Then, who needs access to this Document Library? Then who needs access to this folder? Then who needs access to this file?

Best practice again, is not to apply unique permissions too deep inside the structure. If you are applying unique permissions more than three layers down you should break that item out into its own container. For example, if you have a folder, two levels deep, inside a Document Library that requires unique permissions that differ from the parent folder, I’d be creating a new Document Library for that data and applying permissions on that. Again, ‘Robert’s rule of three applies’, unique permissions beyond three levels calls for a new container.

Aim to keep permissions as simple and top level as possible. Yes, you can more granular and complex but that makes administration and management much harder, especially to those following behind you.

3. Metadata

This is all the material that helps describe the data inside the structure. This is therefore the additional columns you add to your Document Libraries, the graphics, look and feel used in SharePoint, the descriptions you use for your sites and locations. Metadata is really, really important because it helps optimise search which is the major tool people will use inside your new environment.

Unfortunately, I will say that in most cases, I don’t see people investing in adding appropriate metadata. They create the structure, set permissions and do little more. Metadata is really about polishing your data so that it shines. Metadata is also a way to help you flatten your structure. Metadata is about applying consistency across your environment. Will you have an document naming convention? What are common items assigned as? For example, is a state location going to be NSW, N.S.W., nsw, New South Wales, etc, etc. Having consistent metadata adds so much value to search and is therefore worth the investment to define up front and apply as a standard.

When you look at existing data, for example, you’d probably see something like:

F:\Finance\Customer\2018

F:\Finance\Customer\2017

F:\Finance\Customer\2016

F:\Finance\Customer\2015

and so on

When you transform this, you’d create it as say a Team called Finance, a Team’s Channel called Customer and instead of folders below that for each year, you’d have an additional column called “Year” with the values “2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, etc” and you’d “tag” each file with the appropriate year. Once tagged, people can easily filter and sort to find what they need. They can quickly filter by year to find everything from 2018 say rather than having to navigate deeper into the structure. This means they can find what they want faster and now each item is ‘tagged’ for additional value rather than just living inside a container. Thus, when you now search, you can do so by that tag. Metadata adds ‘signals’ around your data rather than just a boundary.

In most cases, the metadata required is already in place in the source structure and most don’t even appreciate that. Many of the subfolders within the existing structure have been used in an attempt to apply metadata. It demonstrates that most people are already using ‘metadata’ today but they are using a tool (old style files and folders) that doesn’t lend itself to appropriate ‘metadata’ usage. Using the collaboration tool in Microsoft 365 allows you now to take full advantage of ‘metadata’ and reap the benefits thanks to search.

Using this guidance around file metadata it becomes easier to collapse deep structure and organisation information in a flatter and more open way. Doing so makes it easier for users to find and work with, thus improving productivity.

Another important thing to point out here is that metadata is the third step in the process not the first! What I typically see is people wanting a ‘pretty’ Intranet first without considering the functionality first. Thus, functionality always trumps form, because you users will be using the environment to get work done, not spending their time ‘ooohhing’ and ‘aaahhing’ about what it looks like, because ‘ooohhhs’ and ‘aaahhsss’ don’t last long. Yes form, look and feel, is important but how your environment operates and is structured is far more important to the productivity and effectiveness of the business. Best practice is also to stick with the tools Microsoft provides. Yes, you can go nuts with customisation on this platform but don’t! And certainly don’t go berserk with it first out of blocks. If you are tempted, as many are, read this article I wrote a while back:

SharePoint customisation code will bite you

and listen to what Tracey Haun, Director, IT Collaboration and Privacy from Dupont says:

When we set up SharePoint we were so proud of ourselves for only customizing less than 5% of the environment and that less than 5% customization has come back to bite us time and time again. Every time we upgrade, every time we migrate we have to deal with these customizations. I just want to say that we were so rigid in the way that we in way we wanted to — and this is specifically around our records management and the way we classify the security classification of our sites, we were so rigid and so set in our ways on how we wanted to do that. So I highly recommend, if you are just getting started, go with the industry standard. Don’t force your business model into SharePoint. Let the it adapt to the Microsoft way.

This is why metadata is the third NOT the first process you should focus on. Remember, your collaboration environment in Microsoft 365 is there to provide business benefit (i.e. generate more profit) primarily, NOT be focused on being pretty above all else. Save pretty and customised for your website that everyone in the wide world can see (and remember of course, how much you paid for a ‘pretty’ web site which hopefully you do get ROI from). Make your collaboration environment something your employees love to use because it makes their job easier to use! Function over form, always!

4. Automation

Now everything else in place you can, and should, turn you attention to automation. How can you use tools like Microsoft Flow and PowerApps to remove repetitive processes. How can you design systems that get things done faster and in more consistent ways? Optimise, optimise, optimise should be your mantra here.

You can’t automate until you have your structure so you know where stuff is. You can’t automate until you know what people can access. You can’t automate until you have metadata around your data to help provide additional signals around that data that automation can then take advantage of.

Automation is truly the domain of businesses who will be successful into the future.

Summary

The idea is to focus on the right processes in the right order. Doing so makes life much easier and becomes something that you can repeat over and over again. Like the framework I provided, these four simple processes give you a path to success with collaboration in Microsoft 365. Chances are, whatever the system you are coming from, there was never a framework or a system in place. That is why the current data is in such a mess and in many ways hampering the productivity of the business. Simply ‘moving’ data to Microsoft 365, transfers those inefficiencies and frustrations as well. Why would you pay all that money and invest all that time and effectively end up in the same place with the same inefficiencies? Strangely, many do exactly that. They lift and shift, failing to appreciate that they not only bring across their data but also their antiquated and inefficient ways of working with data. Success in the Microsoft 365 collaboration space is defined by TRANSFORMING data. Such transformation means cleaning, structuring, adding value with metadata and so on. Every transformation requires work but the investments pay huge dividends down the track. They allow your business to work faster, be more efficient and agile. In the end they allow the business to be more competitive because they are taking maximum advantage of the tools that they have.

Can you use a screwdriver with nails? Yup, sure can. However, it is a much better idea to use the right tool for that job such as a hammer. Is there a best practice method to using a hammer? Yes, there sure is. Is it better to learn that process before or after you start work? Effectiveness dictates before, of course! Start using the Microsoft 365 collaboration environment in a way that it will be most effective instead of using it as a screwdriver to hammer nails. Staring thinking about “transforming” your data and processes to take full advantage of what Microsoft 365 provides. Follow frameworks and processes as I have outlined here to help you on this transformational journey and you may even enjoy the ride!

A framework for file migrations to Microsoft 365

One of the major points of confusion and poor execution I still see today is the approach that many take to migrating files to Microsoft 365 and Office 365.

Many years ago I wrote a number of articles about this:

The classic SharePoint migration mistake

SharePoint Online – Pilers and Filers

SharePoint Online migration – Start up is key

and all of that is still valid and I recommend you read it, however the technology has moved on somewhat and it is now perhaps time for an update.

What I’ll cover here is a framework for migrating on premises data, typically on file servers in network shares, into the collaboration tools in Microsoft 365. And that’s the first point. You need to look at this across all the services Microsoft 365 provides you today. Not just SharePoint. Not just OneDrive. And not just Teams. Microsoft provides a range of services that you should consider in this file migration process.

Now many claim that because of all these options it is too complex and therefore you should just dump your data in one place. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve see exactly this, everything from a file server F: drive dumped into a single Document Library in SharePoint. Oh the pain.

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The secret of success is to have a “system” and not do things randomly without thought. Thus, my framework is shown above. Now let me break down the pieces for you.

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You firstly start with the source (on the left i.e. a file server drive) and the destinations (on the right, i.e. collaboration services in Microsoft 365).

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The first step is to filter the source information and remove (yes I said DELETE) stuff that doesn’t make sense to move. Old and duplicate files are example but I have highlighted this in more depth in a previous article:

Data discovery done right

Thus, you should now have less data to move because you have thrown some away. If you haven’t then you are not being serious about this. You should also have a better idea about what data to archive, what is user data, what is common data and so on.

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With the remaining good data you move (yes, I said move NOT copy) users personal data to their OneDrive. You actually get them to do that so firstly they get familiar with the new environment, they move only what they want to keep and you crowd source this task reducing the workload. We all know that some people will never ‘get around’ to moving their data, so after a suitable time period has elapsed you move it for them. The typically data that is moved in this process is anything on the desktop, home drive or in user profiles.

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Next, is to identify the common data by function or location and move it to a Microsoft Team. In a typical on premises file server the existing shares you will find data stored in folders like F:\Finance and F:\Administration and so on. These top level shares are most likely going to be the name of the Team and the next level down folders to be the channels inside that Team. In many cases, users may also wish to ‘clean up’ the existing or ‘start fresh’, which is also fine. However, it is relatively easy to find the data that should go into a Microsoft Team and move it there.

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The next data to move is common data that makes sense living in it’s own dedicated SharePoint Team site. Data that goes into stand alone SharePoint is data that does not require chat and conversations around it, Teams is where that data would live.

The best example here is probably Archive data. This is data the business want to keep ‘just in case’ but won’t be updated by users. Thus, you move the archive data as is, into it’s own designated SharePoint Team site, mark it as read only for everyone so they can use it as a starting point if they need to. The major advantage of moving the archive data to SharePoint is that it is now searchable using the tools in Microsoft 365.

Another good example of a stand alone SharePoint Team site would be an Extranet from which you want external parties to come and download data. Having a stand alone SharePoint Team site makes managing securities much easier.

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The data that is now left is typically company wide data like policies, procedures, manuals, etc. This is then moved into the traditional ‘Intranet’ using a nice pretty SharePoint Communications Site. This Intranet is available to all and typically used to consume data i.e. get something, read something. New data for this Intranet comes from the output of the individual Microsoft Teams created earlier. For example, imagine the Finance team produces an annual budget. They do this creation inside their own Team and publish the finished result into the Intranet for everyone in the business to consume. I’ve covered this concept in greater detail in a previous article:

The layers of Office 365 collaboration

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Now you have data all over the place inside Microsoft 365 as many will point out correctly. What’s missing is a consistent method of navigation between all these sources to make it easy for users to navigate. This is where SharePoint Hub Sites come in. You uses this to provide a consistent navigation over the top of all your data. To users this makes it all appear very logical and structured (even perhaps like their old file server) and yet provides the flexibility to be reconfigured at any stage and have those changes automatically applied across the whole structure thanks to SharePoint Hub sites.

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The final layer is Yammer. This is for company wide communications such as water cooler chat (birthdays, sports, holidays), information on how to better use Microsoft 365, questions about the business, messages from CEO, suggestion boxes, what’s happening with the business or competition, sales, wins and so on.

Like the Intranet, Yammer is designed for corporate wide chat that doesn’t fit into any specific Team (which are arranged by function or location). I have detailed the importance of Yammer in a previous article:

Why Yammer is still relevant

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Now that you have a linear framework that builds on top of itself, hopefully you have a better picture of where you can put data from a file server into Microsoft 365. Having a framework is great but more importantly is how to get users to also adapt to working in this way. My approach is to start with Yammer and OneDrive first as I have detailed previously:

Focus on the ‘Me’ services first

In short, if users get used to working with just files using OneDrive and then with just chat in Yammer, they will find it much easier to then move to Teams which is effectively files and chat combined. This thinking stems from:

The rule of three

I advocate to not over load people. This is because you need to:

Stop making your users feel stupid

You can have the greatest technology in the world but if no one uses it then it is pretty much wasted. that’s what I see with Microsoft 365. Not enough through and time is devoted to adoption and transformation. Most migrations are done as fast as possible to ‘close the ticket’ and move onto the next. The fallacy of that rushed approach is evident in failed adoption and user frustration.

So there you have it, a framework for migration of file data into the world of Microsoft 365. You can use this framework in whatever way makes sense to you. You can use all of it, none of it or as a basis for your own approach. However, the key message is to HAVE a process rather than something random. Remember, moving to a world of collaboration from a world of storage requires transformation not just migration!

Once you have the top level framework or process, you can then start developing individual frameworks and adoption processes for each piece. That is, one for OneDrive, one for Teams, One for Yammer and so on. Once you have these processes, next you can start automating them to improve reliability and allow you to scale. Without a system you can’t automate. Without automation your effectiveness and profitability continue to fall, so investing the time in a collaborate system is definitely worthwhile. It makes users happier and it makes IT more profitable! A win – win. That is what a move to Microsoft 365 should be all about!

Unable to save attachments to SharePoint Online

One of the most important things when you implement adoption is to have a positive initial experience. This typically means ‘easing’ a user’s transition during the adoption process. If too many things are different, then there is much more likely to be a negative impression of the new processes. This slows adoption and at worst, can actually halt it in its tracks.

When moving to Microsoft 365, one of the most common things that a user needs to accomplish to be able to save and add attachments to emails. They have been performing this seamlessly using on premises file servers for years. They simply select to attach and then navigate to the file, attach it, then send. Easy.

Unfortunately, as I have documented before:

Saving attachments to SharePoint

it isn’t easily done with SharePoint Online. This is really strange, given that SharePoint Online is the place where users should save and access common files in the Microsoft Cloud. Let’s take a look at the issues I’m taking about.

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So an email arrives in my inbox on Outlook on the desktop, as shown above.

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I want to upload this directly into an existing SharePoint stand alone Team Site, but as you can see the only option I have is my own personal OneDrive for Business or a range of Office 365 Groups and Teams that already exist.

Just to make sure I haven’t missed anything, I’ll select the More option at the bottom of the list.

image

Now I only have the option to save to a Group (which includes Microsoft Teams). So, let’s say I select the Sales Group (which is actually a Microsoft Team).

I’m now returned to Outlook. Where did that attachment actually go?

image

So, if I call up my Sales Team and rifle through all the file locations in Teams interface, I can’t find the file as you see above!

image

Turns out that the attachment I saved is placed into the root of the default Document Library in the Microsoft Team as you see above. But guess what? There is no way to actually see that unless I navigate to that location via SharePoint. I actually can’t see that attachment I just saved if I’m using the Microsoft Teams app! They all end up in the root of the Documents location, which isn’t accessible in the Teams app!

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This means, that the only REAL solution for users to save the document to other locations in various SharePoint Document Libraries, is to firstly sync those destination locations to their desktop and then save the attachments the old fashioned way to the sync location so they will end up in SharePoint.

That means, to save or add attachments I firstly have to sync EVERY location I might want to save a file too!

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Outlook Web Access is actually worse than the desktop client as the only options you have are to download or save to OneDrive for Business as seen above.

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Interestingly, if I want to attach a file from a SharePoint site I can navigate to Browse Web Locations, select the Team Site I want

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and I see a Windows Explorer pane where I can navigate to locate the file I wish to attach, just like on premises days. However, the look and feel here is pretty dated and requires Windows Explorer to be working and may pop up warning dialogs which will freak most users out.

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When I use Outlook Web Access I can Browse cloud locations for an attachment

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I effectively only see my OneDrive for Business as shown above.

These experiences leave a bad taste in the mouth for users, especially first time users grasping with the ‘modern’ way of working. They need to have an experience which is pretty much identical to the one they had on premises. Why can’t we simply save and add attachments directly from SharePoint Online Team Sites like we have always been able to do from on premises network file shares?

I’m seeing this end user frustration more and more in the field and was prompted to write the article to hopefully rally the masses to get a change enacted. So the best thing you can do is visit this UserVoice request:

https://office365.uservoice.com/forums/264636-general/suggestions/18553747-please-enable-the-attachment-of-sharepoint-files-w

and vote it up.

Next, tweet about getting this enabled to the following accounts:

https://twitter.com/Outlook

https://twitter.com/SharePoint

https://twitter.com/Microsoft365

and

https://twitter.com/jeffteper

I will be!

Perhaps I’m missing something obvious here and if I am please let me know but I don’t think I am. Help me raise awareness and improve Outlook so it is easier for users to adopt Microsoft 365!