Microsoft’s enterprise sync and share tool, OneDrive for Business, has grown enormously in recent times. In a recently published post on the OneDrive Blog, Seth Patton revealed the product had seen a huge “179% growth in active usage”.
Tech companies are pretty elusive when it comes to revealing data on user numbers. However, the most recent estimates show Microsoft’s cloud storage service is second only to Dropbox, the market leader in the sync-and-share market.
Whatever the actual number of companies that use OneDrive for Business, Microsoft is aiming to cut out a large segment of the market. They are constantly improving the platform in order to iron out issues, and improve the overall user experience.
If you use OneDrive for Business in your day-to-day activities, it can be tempting to view it simply as a secure place to easily save your documents. On a fundamental level, this is what the platform is all about. However, there’s so much more you could get from the platform.
The Cloud and Your Dinner
While it’s true that enterprise sync and share tools are fundamentally about backing up documents, seeing them this way means you only ever get the most basic features. Why is that a problem? Let’s find out through a little analogy:
If you viewed your dinner simply as an activity focused on sustaining your general health, you’d probably live on a routine diet of meat, carbs, and vegetables. Some people might like that, but you can get a heck of a lot more from your dinner if you add some additional ingredients and cooking techniques (and the occasional take-out!)
The same goes for OneDrive for Business. By getting to know all of the platform’s rich and varied features, you get a lot more from your experience working on the cloud. OneDrive for Business has a lot of impressive features around syncing and sharing documents which you probably already know about. But what about the more advanced possibilities the platform offers?
1. You Get Great Mobile Experiences
Microsoft has released new updates that let you work more productively from your mobile device. Android users will now be able to flag documents and get offline access to them, wherever they are. Meanwhile, iOS users will be able to interact more powerfully with documents. By simply holding your finger on a specific file you’ll now get a series of commands to share, move, delete and view details pop up. Neat!
2. Annotate PDFs from Your Smartphone
Another new feature here. From your mobile device, you're now able to make inline annotations to PDF documents. You’ll be able to draw, highlight, and add comments to PDFs. Excellent when reviewing big documents on the move.
3. Advanced Sharing outside Your Organization
OneDrive for Business is all about sharing, but the latest updates give you greater control of how this is done. While it has always been possible to share documents straight from OneDrive for Business to external parties, there’s now even more flexibility. You can now set expiry dates on a shared link, and can add permissions to who that link can be shared with.
4. External Sharing Governance
It’s great that you can now share more easily with external partners, but IT administrators will value the ability to control how data is shared more closely. New features mean IT teams will be able to audit external sharing invitations, limit external sharing for specific users, and manage external sharing domains.
5. Selective Sync
If you’re using a device with a small hard drive, you won’t have space for all those enormous files stored in your personal OneDrive for Business folder. Avoid filling your local disk up by choosing which files and folders get synced to that specific device.
6. Use Delve
Delve is Microsoft’s powerful machine-learning tool that tracks relationships between documents and users, across an organization’s Office 365 environment. Delve takes signals from OneDrive for Business too, and surfaces these in the Delve area within Office 365. The more you use Delve, the more precise it becomes.
7. Save Email Attachments Straight to OneDrive for Business
A major User Experience frustration of Outlook, in the past, was that saving attachments from emails into SharePoint involved too many steps. This is no longer the case with OneDrive for Business; you can simply right click on an email attachment, in the Outlook Web App, and save it straight into your chosen folder.
8. Find out How Much Storage You Have Left
OneDrive for Business gives business users up to 1 terabyte (TB) of space each. That’s about the equivalent of 200 high definition movies. If you’re approaching anywhere near filling that quota, we suggest you go on a document purge!
Nonetheless, if you want to find out how much space you have left, sign into Office 365 as an admin and look at the storage metrics page. You’ll see who’s close to maxing out their available space. Now’s a good time to tell them to start deleting unnecessary files!
9. Stay up to Date with Version Controls
OneDrive for Business is great for collaboration. Versions let you see who has made changes, when, and what they did. Enable (or remove) version controls as an admin, and set version caps and other limits when it’s required.
10. Write and Host an Excel Survey
Surveys are a great way of finding out what your colleagues think. You can now create a survey with Excel Online, and save the live results into your OneDrive for Business library!
There you go! 10 lesser-known features of OneDrive for Business you should start using right now to leverage the tool's full potential. If you didn't adopt it yet, it's never too late, and Sharegate can help you make the move to OneDrive for Business!
Tell me, what's your favorite OneDrive for Business feature?