Yet another SharePoint thread



  • I'm looking at introducing SharePoint at work and moving the majority of our file server to SharePoint Online. The main goals of this are:

    1. Outsourcing the pain and stress of downtime to Microsoft instead of internal IT.
    2. Easier access for remote workers. About half the workforce work remotely, and I find VPNing in to the file server a bit tedious compared with O365.
    3. Better integration of files with Microsoft Teams (which I'm also trying to introduce).
    4. Better search.
    5. Better Version control.
    6. Better concurrent working on single Office documents by multiple users.
    7. "Eating our own dog food" - we're a Microsoft ERP partner and clients ask us about SharePoint. I think we should embrace Microsoft technology more than we do.

    I don't have experience of using SharePoint with large numbers of files. I use ODfB (which basically is SharePoint) extensively for my personal files and find it pretty flaky, but that's just issues with the sync client rather than the SP site itself.

    I will definitely be using folders and not relying on metadata. I don't care what people say about Microsoft advising to not use folders, I've tried relying just on metadata and think it sucks. Folders for the win every time. We have a folder for each client, and sub-folders under that. About 50 clients, 400GB of data and about a million files (mostly Office files). The data is pretty static and archival - we don't have many concurrent projects (and so not many concurrent or new files). I will probably keep our mapped folders and just map them to SharePoint rather than file shares because that is what everyone is used to, although I'd like to think people will transition to Teams for everything in the long term.

    Reading through some old SharePoint threads on ML I see a lot of love in 2015 and a lot of hate in 2018, which puzzles me. To quote from 2015:

    @minion-queen said in Sharepoint:

    We use SharePoint for all our client data and our custom helpdesk right now. In 30 days we will be moving to Dynamics CRM so it will be even more important then.

    We have been using SharePoint for years and can't imagine a company of any size not wanting to use it.

    @scottalanmiller said in Sharepoint:

    My favourite features of SP are the easy ones: really powerful document library system, remote mappable drives, central database for metadata, easy to use searchable wiki, lists.

    @scottalanmiller said in Sharepoint - how do you use it?:

    We've been using SharePoint internally at NTG since the original 2003 release. We went 2003, 2007 and 2010 all hosted internally. Then we went to 2010 hosted with Rackspace and then 2013 with Office 365. So we've been using it a long time. We use it for everything, once you get used to it you will be addicted. It is really amazing once you start to leverage it as your central repository for everything.

    It sounds awesome. Then in 2018, the mood seems to change:

    @dbeato said in SharePoint Online as a File Server:

    @dashrender said in SharePoint Online as a File Server:

    Anyone here know of a company that completely ditched local fileshares and moved wholly to ODfB and Sharepoint?

    We had two customers that did that, and they regretted it. That's because I know it first hand. I have a lot of customers with Dropbox and NextCloud.

    @scottalanmiller said in SharePoint Online as a File Server:

    @dashrender said in SharePoint Online as a File Server:

    Anyone here know of a company that completely ditched local fileshares and moved wholly to ODfB and Sharepoint?

    We wanted to but it wasn't good. We went to Nextcloud instead, which is way more enterprise than ODfB.

    @scottalanmiller said in SharePoint Online as a File Server:

    @momurda said in SharePoint Online as a File Server:

    Is anybody in the world happy with Sharepoint Online or OneDrive for Business?
    I cant think of two worse 'solutions' for file storage/sharing.

    Not of which I am aware. I like SharePoint conceptually, but not in practice.

    I appreciate we could be talking about slightly different things - the sync client in ODfB and SharePoint itself, but I get the feeling @scottalanmiller has fallen out of love with SharePoint, is that fair?

    My bosses are reluctant to transition to SharePoint, so I'd be putting my neck on the line, and I'm not sure I want to do that.

    Give me some more of your experiences with SharePoint please. And where you've had issues, please give some details of what those issues were. I'm hoping that because we primarily work with Office files, and don't have any large Autodesk engineering drawings or Adobe graphics files (for example), the experience will be pretty good. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so I'm looking for feedback from out in the field.

    Thanks!



  • The biggest issues we've had with SharePoint is with permissions. You can't have your classic permissions scheme, it's waterfall or nothing.

    Meaning your most private data must be buried the furthest down vs what a lot of people do which is put that data at a readily available location.



  • We utilized it pretty heavily at a prior job in the early days of Office 365. It was decent. Most of our problems were with the client. One thing it does require is a bit more upfront thinking about structure. Since you are limited in the number of folders it will display, and there might be something about how far down in the folder path it will allow you to go before making your data inaccessible, you have to plan carefully especially if people love to folder everything in your current network shares.

    I'd recommend breaking your lowest consistent divider into a subsite. That may be client or department. Then you can work with it from there. This makes the permissions issues that @DustinB3403 mentioned much easier to handle. We did it by department, and then let each department dictate how they went from there. We did have the advantage of not needing much overlap between departments though.



  • We're a small company (about 20 employees), so don't have departments or any kind of hierarchy. Everyone has access to everything. If we use Teams to create a team for each client, then Teams will create a separate SharePoint site for each one, so yeah, we'd end up with each client having their own site, and sub-folders within that.



  • @carnival-boy said in Yet another SharePoint thread:

    We're a small company (about 20 employees), so don't have departments or any kind of hierarchy. Everyone has access to everything. If we use Teams to create a team for each client, then Teams will create a separate SharePoint site for each one, so yeah, we'd end up with each client having their own site, and sub-folders within that.

    You can also create separate Document Libraries to simplify permissions and structure. You really can't do anything with permissions below the level of a webpart very efficiently.



  • We use SharePoint extensively internally and support a number of clients that we put on to it (former SBS MVP here).

    The permissions structure is similar to Group Policy or CSS where the shirt closest to your back wins permissions wise. Traverse is not something that we can do in SharePoint unlike other file permissions/shares setups. That's something to keep in mind when it comes to folder permissions structures.

    We set up up dedicated subsites for our various needs.

    We set up split DNS for the Internet FQDN internally and externally to make things simple for folks in and out of the office. But then, we host our own.

    We set up WebDAV and use a shortcut \\sharepoint.domain.com@[email protected]\DavWWWRoot for folks accessing externally. In the case of O365 the simple way to grab that UNC is to open in IE, use the Open in File Explorer option for a library, and pull the icon down from the address bar in File Explorer to Quick Access/Favourites. Right click the shortcut and Properties to get the UNC.

    The simplest way to sell SP is to show folks the Check Out/In and Reviewer Approve/Disapprove and the Versions features. We enable mandatory check out/in and draft/final versioning on all libraries.

    All users add Check Out/Check In/Server to their Office app's Quick Access Toolbar:

    0_1531761352828_2018-07-16 MangoLassie - 01 Quick Access Toolbar.PNG

    Having those three buttons up there eliminates most support calls as folks get used to checking them for a file's status.



  • Sharegate blogs are a good place to understand more about migration, limitations of SP etc

    https://en.share-gate.com/blog/prepare-file-share-migration-to-sharepoint

    https://en.share-gate.com/blog?category=sharepoint_migration



  • Thanks. I've a pretty good understanding of SharePoint. My purpose for this thread is to try and get some examples of real-world experiences, both good and bad, when dealing with a large number of documents.

    I've used it for quite for a few years now, but not at large scale. As @scottalanmiller said, "I like SharePoint conceptually, but not in practice". Well, what are the issues in practice?



  • @carnival-boy said in Yet another SharePoint thread:

    As @scottalanmiller said, "I like SharePoint conceptually, but not in practice". Well, what are the issues in practice?

    Performance, cost, overhead of management, licensing, end user problems.



  • It's included in our O365 subscription so there is no cost or licensing issues. I'm not sure what you mean by overhead of management. What kind of performance and end user problems have you experienced?



  • @carnival-boy said in Yet another SharePoint thread:

    It's included in our O365 subscription so there is no cost or licensing issues. I'm not sure what you mean by overhead of management. What kind of performance and end user problems have you experienced?

    Cost and Licensing: Yes, you have paid for Sharepoint in a bundle, but you are still paying for it. In the E4 breakout, it's $4/mo of the $20/mo total. And you need to pay for that for everyone who uses it. Most organizations have lots of exceptions that would only need that one thing, but have to pay for more or whatever just for that one thing.

    Cost of Management: Sharepoint takes a bit of time and effort to maintain. Plus backups, if you want any protection from mistakes on the client end, isn't included so is both effort and money. Sharepoint requires training and work to keep working

    Performance: The system, especially through O365, is very slow and cumbersome to use. It's just not fast so people get frustrated with it.

    End User: We found our less technical end users unable to cope with basic data management concepts and would throw data all over Sharepoint because they couldn't understand basic things like tagging, filtering and metadata