SharePoint Description
I’d like to call SharePoint the ‘mother of all file storage’, but that might technically be Azure – we won’t go there. Within SharePoint are hidden document libraries that we know as our personal OneDrive repositories, primarily for ‘works in progress’ by individuals within the organization. But the files kept in SharePoint have been published by individuals from their OneDrive location, and now reside within the shared SharePoint space as commonly available to all members of that particular SharePoint team site.

 

What is a ‘team site’?: A ‘team site’ can be created as opposed to a ‘communications site’ in SharePoint. A ‘communication site’ would be where a company might post news or relevant information for the greater good. A ‘team site’ is more of a collaborative workspace with many features, one of which is a ‘document library’, which is the common document library that we might have synced to our computers for published items.

 

When you create a team in Microsoft Teams, a SharePoint team site is automatically created for members of the team to share their files. So now you would have another team site in SharePoint named after the Team’s name. You can jump to that SharePoint team site while within Teams by going to the Files tab in Teams and clicking on Open in SharePoint.

 


For many years, we’ve learned to save files to folders. And within folders, we’ve created subfolders as yet another location to store files. And then you might create a folder within 
that subfolder… The result can lead to a complicated collection of nested folders with files stored in disparate locations.

 

Then along came SharePoint where we learned a new way to sort documents – with metadata. Metadata hasn’t gone away at all, but I only see its best value when considering larger document libraries.

 

 

Now we have Microsoft Teams and its filing system! Because each channel within Teams has an associated folder in the Team’s SharePoint document library, we’re starting to consider yet another way of looking at file management. Perhaps we can think of a Teams channel as a folder?

 


 

The General folder for the General channel is seen from the RIT Finance SharePoint team site.

 

 

If we were to add a new channel to a team, then a new folder by that name would appear in addition to the General folder.

 

But now we have to talk about sharing files within Teams.

 

When a file is shared with a colleague while in a private chat, then the file is stored within the OneDrive repository belonging to the person who shared the file. In truth, OneDrive is actually a hidden SharePoint library, but that’s fodder for another conversation.

 

But when you share a file while in a channel’s group conversation, then the file becomes stored within the respective channel’s Files tab, or rather, the channel’s folder within the Team’s SharePoint document library.

 

If you’ve forgotten which channel’s folder contains the file you’re looking for, then you can go to the Files button in the left-hand rail to view and scroll through the collective list of files belonging to all teams and channels. Or you can search all files across all Teams’ channels from the Command bar at the top-center. This search tool is available at all times wherever you are within the Teams app. You can also sort using metadata within the Files view by clicking the column labels, such as Type, Name, Modified, and Location.


 

 

Microsoft Teams Collaboration
The Non-Flat Earth

During periods in our human history, some believed that the Earth was flat. And evidently, some still do! But as Pythagoras and others have proved otherwise, we have experienced a paradigm shift in how we perceive our world. We’ve reluctantly let go of long-held myths and adopted a new mode of thought.

In 1992, a group of about 100 scientists sent the first email attachment. Some were aghast, exclaiming what an obscene waste of bandwidth it was. Twenty-six years later, we think nothing of sending a massive file attached to an Outlook message.

But aside from file size and bandwidth concerns, we should consider other worries today. As we’ve adopted email as the primary collaboration vehicle, we continue to swap versions of files back and forth creating dozens, perhaps hundreds, of versions of the file with most iterations slightly different than the other. And of course, we have to find the corresponding message buried within our Inbox and then open that attached file to know how they differ, which is a blatant waste of time and productivity.

 

Now comes along came SharePoint. And OneDrive, too, which is actually a hidden SharePoint library. We can now share a link to a file as it remains in its place. The single file resides in its single location, yet it lives a dynamically unique life. When a link is used to access that file, we will open and view the most current version, sometimes so current that we are viewing a colleague co-author that document in real time right there on the computer screen.

This real-time scenario and unique document sharing is never more evident than when collaborating within Microsoft Teams. If we’ve shared a file while in a 1-to-1 Teams chat, then that file resides within the OneDrive document library of the person that shared the file. If we share a file to a Team or rather to a Teams’ Channel, then the file resides within the SharePoint document library and the sub-folder that corresponds to that particular Channel.

But when an Office document is opened while in Microsoft Teams, the document appears right there within the Teams environment. We can chat with co-workers in the right-hand rail alongside the document. And we can create an impromptu meeting to discuss edits without ever leaving the Teams interface.

Aside from the mechanics of what goes where within SharePoint, files need to remain in their designated online location and not be copied as disparate versions within various emails as attachments. Also, when a file is stored in this manner, then a history of the file remains available – if needs must, then you can revert to a previous iteration.

We have to step outside of our box and look at collaboration from a new perspective. Just because we did it one way for so many years does not make it right today.

Scott Abbotts | https://resolute-it.com | https://office365techguy.com