woman typing on a PC
Microsoft has been working to pull together the OneDrive for Business and SharePoint experience. PHOTO: Breakingpic

Microsoft is making it easier to sync files between SharePoint Team Sites files and OneDrive for Business. Today's upgrade also includes a standalone Mac client.

While this looks on the surface like most other monthly Office 365 upgrades, this one is different. Think of it as the glue that holds together all the apps together in Office 365, enabling users to sync any file between OneDrive, SharePoint Team Sites and other Office 365 apps.

SharePoint Online Plus OneDrive For Business

Jeff Teper, Corporate Vice President for OneDrive and SharePoint at Microsoft, told CMSWire this upgrade goes a long way to advancing Microsoft's collaboration vision for Office 365.

Microsoft has been working to pull together the OneDrive for Business and SharePoint experience. The objective is to provide a full content management lifecycle for data that starts in SharePoint Team Site files and ends with the transfer of those files to the OneDrive for Business repository. 

Team Sites is one of the most popular collaborative elements of SharePoint, enabling communication and collaboration among workers in teams.

It provides collaborative functionality to teams involved in projects that can span multiple locations and time zones by providing an internal website for chat, updates and real-time collaborative work on documents from the SharePoint document library feature.

Teper said Microsoft articulated the vision for OneDrive and SharePoint last May. "As part of that we really are making a big bet, as a company, on OneDrive,” Teper told CMSWire. “As of today, we are giving users anywhere access to all their files, personal or work, individual or team on any device. This is a major upgrade to the sync client so that on any device so users can access to not only their personal files, but also all their files in SharePoint files in Team Sites.”

OneDrive For Business Upgrades

The new OneDrive for Business capabilities, released in beta during Microsoft Ignite last September, are now available to everyone. Today’s announcement offers three things:

  1. Enhanced collaboration for workers, many of whom are already using the OneDrive client to sync their OneDrive files to their PCs and Macs. This upgrade will enable SharePoint Online team site users to work on files both within those sites and in shared OneDrive folders. The result: Users can now work with Office 365 files just as they would files stored on their PC or Mac.
  2. Users will also be able to sync a OneDrive for Business shared folder.
  3. IT admins will be able to deploy and manage the OneDrive Mac client outside of the App Store. This latest client also has built-in multi-language support.

SharePoint Content Management

The general availability of the new syncing capabilities is part of Microsoft’s ongoing push to simplify SharePoint. Teper reiterated Microsoft's commitment last year to a simpler experience for navigation all your SharePoint sites and Team sites. "We introduced a mobile app. We have shifted all that. So really, the one last piece that we announced in May was to give users the possibility of browsing any Team Sites files from PC or Mac. We think this completes the picture,” Teper said.

The connection between OneDrive for Business and SharePoint is a key element for customers looking to manage their content, Teper explained.

In each of Team Site you can have up to 25 terabytes of data. Now OneDrive for Business has access to this data as well as the ability to transfer it across the enterprise and even beyond the firewall.

Sharing outside the enterprise has been secured through the IT admin center, which gives administrations the ability to control how and with whom users are sharing information.

Teper cited the ongoing development of additional security measures as one of the reasons for the growth of SharePoint Online and Office 365 generally.

Microsoft has doubled the usage and tripled the content in SharePoint Online in the past 12 months, he said. "It's growing dramatically, and we think that this sync client is going to continue that growth rate,” he said.

Microsoft now claims 85 million commercial monthly active users, many of whom it said are moving to OneDrive for Business from on-premises files shares and other cloud based solutions.

What's next? Teper said to watch for more news about artificial intelligence in SharePoint Online and Office 365. It's already under development.