Office 365 document management / user adoption challenges – Is this the right place to share?

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Hi, I have a few Office 365 document management and user adoption challenges that I would like to share and get some feedback on and I was wondering if this was the right place to share them.

These challenges are mostly related to how users are working with documents (Office and PDF) in SharePoint, Outlook and Teams.

We seem to run into these challenges over and over again, when moving from file shares / drives to Office 365.

They have more to do with the fact that the users require a specific usage / behavior that they currently are using and do not feel that moving to Office 365 is improving those scenarios. I some cases we agree but in others we disagree.

I just wanted to share those scenarios and get some feedback discussions on that.
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Sigurjón Hákonarson
CEO/Owner
Ozio ehf
http://www.ozio.is
http://www.linkedin.com/in/shakonarson
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What are the scenarios?

 

Aria

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Before I begin to mention those scenarios, it must be considered that several of those users/customers hold tight to the way they work today and are on different levels in adopting new ways of working with documents (as well as adopting to Document Management beyond File Share).

  • Comparing documents in Word
    This does not work as well with online documents unless you sync the folders. But in some cases that is not an option to users, so they have to download the documents to their computer /my documents and do the comparison
  • Sharing several documents in one
    I have a customer that does not want to use sync, and wants his employees to work online as much as possible. Then it is not possible to share several documents at once within a SharePoint document library
  • Teams not supporting metadata in SharePoint nor Document Templates
    I have heard that this is coming soon, but a customer is enforcing Teams usage, but it is very limited towards advanced document management
  • The usage of centralized templates on Team Sites
    It is not trivial (but possible) to use Document Templates that have been defined centrally and incorporate them on each new Team Site that is created. For instance you create a Team site within SharePoint that is of type Project Site. Then you want that Team site to automatically include all Templates that belong to Projects. This is possible and we have found a way to do this, but it needs a programming experience
  • Saving and sending documents in email
    This again is possible, just recently you can drag documents from Outlook into a browser window, but it is not easy to send several documents unless you are apart of the team site. For instance, lets say you have a communication site and want to share documents from that site, it does not appear in Outlook Web locations on inserting an attachment
  • Opening PDF documents and filling in data
    When you open a PDF document within SharePoint it opens it in Browser window. When it does it is not possible to fill in the PDF and save it. You have to download it, save it do your computer, open it in Acrobat, Foxit or like PDF reader, fill in the data and save it to the SharePoint location or upload it

These are just few of the scenarios that I like to share. They are first and foremost examples of usage and challenges. We have found ways to solve some of them programmatically but feel like they should be part of just configuring the solution/Environment.

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Sigurjón Hákonarson
CEO/Owner
Ozio ehf
http://www.ozio.is
http://www.linkedin.com/in/shakonarson
——————————


 

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Sigurjón,

This is just my 2 cents (literally):

  • Comparing documents in Word

This does not work as well with online documents unless you sync the folders. But in some cases that is not an option to users, so they have to download the documents to their computer /my documents and do the comparison

Not quite clear on what the issue/question is here?

  • Sharing several documents in one

I have a customer that does not want to use sync, and wants his employees to work online as much as possible. Then it is not possible to share several documents at once within a SharePoint document library

Well, it is actually possible, though it’s a clunky, pain in the **s process.  First, you have to click on the “return to classic” link in the library.  Sometimes twice for reasons I have no idea of.  When you’re back to the classic experience, click on the Library tab and then on the Shared With icon in the ribbon.  That will bring up a dialogue that you can click on Invite People in the left pane of and then select the people you want to invite to those files.

  • Teams not supporting metadata in SharePoint nor Document Templates

I have heard that this is coming soon, but a customer is enforcing Teams usage, but it is very limited towards advanced document management

This was announced at Ignite, so, pretty much just have to wait for the rollout.  OR connect to the library as a website in Teams rather than in the ‘files’ tab.

  • The usage of centralized templates on Team Sites

It is not trivial (but possible) to use Document Templates that have been defined centrally and incorporate them on each new Team Site that is created. For instance you create a Team site within SharePoint that is of type Project Site. Then you want that Team site to automatically include all Templates that belong to Projects. This is possible and we have found a way to do this, but it needs a programming experience

Well, yes and no.  Which, following the tradition absolutely laid down by SAP, is another way of saying “it depends”.  You can absolutely achieve this with PnP provisioning (which, I assume, is what you meant by programming).  It can also be done (even more painfully, in my opinion) via PowerShell.  OR, there are a variety of 3rd party solutions that have site templating (site designs for modern terminology) as part of them at a variety of price points depending on what other ‘governance’ aspects you want.

  • Saving and sending documents in email

This again is possible, just recently you can drag documents from Outlook into a browser window, but it is not easy to send several documents unless you are apart of the team site. For instance, lets say you have a communication site and want to share documents from that site, it does not appear in Outlook Web locations on inserting an attachment

This one was also addressed at Ignite, albeit the sharing will be through Teams.  I personally suspect that Outlook 2019 is likely the last version we will see and everything will get pushed to Teams.  Certainly seems to be MS’ direction, though predicting MS can still be…fraught with uncertainty! ��  If waiting for this in Teams, or using it in Teams at all, is not possible, there are, again, MANY 3rd party solutions that offer direct and rich interaction between SP/SPO (and OneDrive, of course) and Outlook.  A pioneer for this was Harmon.ie.

  • Opening PDF documents and filling in data

When you open a PDF document within SharePoint it opens it in Browser window. When it does it is not possible to fill in the PDF and save it. You have to download it, save it do your computer, open it in Acrobat, Foxit or like PDF reader, fill in the data and save it to the SharePoint location or upload it

Again, “it depends” (hey, if I say that often enough, do I become an honorary SAP consultant?).  There are actually a couple of answers for this one.  First:

You are able to edit the pdf in place with a few extra clicks. As long as you have an adobe version installed that has edit capabilities, try this

  • Make sure you are in Internet Explorer (yes, I know but it’s the only way to get to “explorer” view)
  • View your library in explorer
    • Classic Experience – Go to the library tab and select “Open with Explorer”
    • Modern Exp – Click the view drop down and select the “View in File Explorer” view
  • Double click on your pdf and adobe will launch
  • Follow the prompts…it will ask you to check out the file (even if you don’t have check in/out turned on)
  • Make your edits
  • Save and check in

Second option is dependant on what version of Adobe you have licensed.  It’s part of the ‘closer’ relationship Adobe and MS announced called “Adobe Document Cloud”.  More details here.

Hopefully that helps in some way.

 

Aria

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Sigurjón –

I’m replying quickly so please forgive my bluntness.

The problem is a problem of trust.  The CEO doesn’t trust that you can advise them on best practice and the users don’t trust that the organization is able to define ways of working that are easier.

OneDrive sync is essential to get the work process right.  It needs to be as similar to the way they’re used to working as possible.  (See Diffusion of Innovations for the basics, I’ll put a link below.)

Comparing in word is an option in the client… you can compare even web documents but it’s not easy.

Sharing several documents at once — this is a scenario where DocSets are appropriate.  If you’re sharing several documents you’re sharing a group and defining and sharing the group is appropriate.

Teams support for metadata – this is rolling out now.  It was announced at ignite.

Centralized templates – This really requires the use of the content type hub and content types.  Not impossible but you do need to know the way to do it.  No programming is required.  The only other bit is connecting the template to the library… this can be managed but it’s easier to keep this as a by-hand step unless volume is hi.

Sending email – See #1 😉

PDF/Documents – See #1.

My review of Diffusion of Innovations is at ​​https://www.thorprojects.com/blog/archive/2012/07/01/book-review-diffusion-of-innovations/

Good luck and I’m happy to respond more later.

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Robert Bogue
President
Thor Projects LLC
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