With Microsoft gradually offering users more and more software, the difficulty of choosing between apps with some overlap becomes an issue, especially for business owners trying to decide which app to invest in.
OneDrive and SharePoint are two such apps, both of which have a lot in common and are stocked with very similar features. This doesn’t make them the same and it is important for business owners to understand the key differences between apps to easily choose an application to invest in.
Microsoft’s view of OneDrive and SharePoint
In order to get a lay of the land, it’s helpful to try and understand the purpose of each application. While they do have some overlap, the applications were created separately and Microsoft defines the purpose and features of each application differently.
- OneDrive: Microsoft defines OneDrive as an online document/file storage hub. It’s most commonly used by both individuals and business teams looking for a centralized headquarters to access, save and store files. OneDrive is also configured to allow file-sharing and versioning, which allows it to serve as more than a digital filing cabinet. Additionally, Microsoft has two versions of the OneDrive app – one for individual consumers and one specifically designed for business optimization, adequately named OneDrive for Business. OneDrive is also built into the Office 365 online platform.
- SharePoint: Microsoft defines SharePoint as a collaboration tool for businesses that helps team members work better together. SharePoint allows business teams to open, share and access files and allows team members to work on the same document, together, in real-time. SharePoint also allows for process streamlining and has data and app management tools. Microsoft has an on-premise version of SharePoint as well as a version that’s built into Office 365 for the Cloud.
Key Categories of Difference
Simply reading the definitions isn’t enough to fully wrap our brains around the differences between OneDrive and SharePoint and the benefits of each for business owners. By looking at the key areas where OneDrive and SharePoint are different, business owners will have an easier time making decisions about software investments. It’s true that both OneDrive and SharePoint come with Office 365, but unlike OneDrive, which is solely a cloud-based app, SharePoint offers users a standalone feature – SharePoint Server. This allows for more control and security because of the locally installed software. On-premise SharePoint deployments on company servers allow administrators to control the look and feel of the platform. For users who value document safety, SharePoint offers an additional layer of security provided by a standalone server, unlike Office 365 and OneDrive, who both use encryption to keep documents safe. However, OneDrive in Office 365 does offer granular access control as well, so administrators can designate access and assign user permissions. OneDrive for Business has all of the original document offerings as SharePoint. This includes workflows, auditing, templates and version control. However, OneDrive does not include business marketing tools like a website and social media connections – features that are built into the SharePoint infrastructure. Companies also rely on SharePoint’s business intelligence and internal analytics features to develop custom applications for both internal and external use. Companies can build customer-facing websites, FAQ & Help applications or employee portals directly from the SharePoint infrastructure. While documents can be made available to your team with OneDrive, a full Office 365 subscription or another CMS/website platform – like SharePoint – is required to publish work straight to the web. One Drive offers companies the ability to control team access to documents for storage and sharing and it tracks versions. However, when it comes down to it, OneDrive is essentially a digital-file storage and optimization system and does not include the dynamic extra features available in SharePoint Server or through a full out Office 365 subscription. SharePoint offers business teams a dynamically collaborative workspace that includes dashboards, calendars, tasks, notifications, and updates. SharePoint keeps these features located centrally, in a company portal that is linked directly to company websites and external applications. Additionally, SharePoint sites can be created and customized for each team member with different levels of security, so access and information are well-organized and easy to manage. Finally, companies can set up a larger corporate portal where company-wide file libraries can be searched and business notifications can be delivered in real-time.
There is no clear winner
So, when it comes down to it, it becomes clear that OneDrive for Business and SharePoint are not exactly the same, yet not entirely different. For organizations looking for a company portal that offers project management, human resources tools, and web optimization, SharePoint is the clear winner. OneDrive is more suited for companies looking to implement a basic solution for storage and occasional file-sharing capabilities. Since OneDrive is fully integrated with the Cloud through Office 365, business teams have the ability to sync files to any given device, which make any time, anywhere access incredibly easy.
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