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What Are the Key Differences Between OneDrive & SharePoint?

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Microsoft OneDrive for Business and SharePoint are both components from Office 365 with overlapping architecture and functions. The question often arises where exactly the differences lie, which platform is suitable for which purpose and where the documents should be saved better. More details are explained in this blog entry.

Understanding OneDrive & SharePoint

Please note that OneDrive has a version for private users and a version for companies. The business version differs greatly from the version for private users. If you have an existing Microsoft account, OneDrive is automatically available. Anyone can register for a Microsoft account with any email address (whether from Microsoft or from another provider) and thus get free storage space. If this storage space is not sufficient, you can buy additional storage at a reasonable price. As soon as you have your OneDrive account, you can access it online or synchronize it with your devices.

Once you’re using an Office 365 plan for commercial purposes, use OneDrive for Business. Despite the same name and logo, this tool has little to do with the private OneDrive. This version is usually used by individual persons or company teams as a central file storage. OneDrive for Business enables versioning and sharing of documents for both internal and external purposes. Furthermore, it can be synchronized with your devices and thus you can edit your documents locally, whereby changes online are always up to date.

Just like in OneDrive for Business, you can share, version and synchronize files and documents with colleagues in SharePoint. However, much more is possible with SharePoint development. This way, entire team websites can be created with, for example, discussion groups, blogs, wikis, calendars, task lists and much more – while OneDrive is limited to document storage. Since entire websites can also be built with SharePoint, SharePoint is often used for project management, as an intranet portal and for much more. SharePoint is therefore particularly suitable for companies with several individual teams, whose members want to work on several documents at the same time and still need advanced features.

Specifically speaking, the difference between OneDrive for Business and SharePoint is: Documents that are set in OneDrive for Business are automatically private and cannot be viewed by anyone else. In the meantime, documents published in SharePoint are automatically visible to the entire team and can also be edited depending on the authorization. SharePoint can also work together on documents in real time. Both platforms have the same technological origin, but they were developed for different purposes. For a SharePoint, the OneDrive for Business library belongs to the my-site.sharepoint.com website collection, while the SharePoint libraries belong to the corresponding domain.sharepoint.com website collections.

Here are a few SharePoint features explained in more detail

Dashboards:

Employees can log in to their own Office 365 company environment and read news, notes, announcements, etc.

Workflows:

Automatic and programmable actions that are carried out, for example, when a document is uploaded. An example would be sending an email when uploading a document.

Lists:

These are customizable tables. Data can be entered here, columns of different data types can be added, and relationships between entities can be established.

Newsfeed:

Newsfeeds are similar to a public blog or microblog. This allows you to start a conversation with people and stay up to date with other people’s posts and releases.

Add-Ins:

Thanks to SharePoint add-ins, your SharePoint can be expanded with functions. These can be obtained from a Microsoft store or developed in-house. It is modularly possible to adapt a SharePoint to your own wishes. Comparison of OneDrive and SharePoint briefly summarized

OneDrive for Business

SharePoint Online

Included in the Office 365 Business Plan.Included in the Office 365 Business Plan
Also often referred to as a ‘storage location’.Also often called ‘team side’.
An extra version for private individuals is available.Only available in the ‘Business’ or Enterprise versions.
Core architecture based on SharePoint.Core architecture based on SharePoint.
Access via the browser, local folder or via app possible.Access is usually via the browser, but is also possible as a local folder or via an app.
By default, all uploads are private unless they are shared.Uploads take over the permissions of the folder in which they are located.
Best place to store private working documents.Best place to store team files and documents on which to work together.
Only as file storage.Offers the possibility to create team pages, blogs, intranet portals and much more.
No extension possibleExpansion through workflows and add-ins possible. Add-ins can be developed in-house or obtained from the Microsoft store.

 

OneDrive for Business is used when;

  • The document may only be viewed by me personally. Since documents are automatically only released for me here, this is the ideal place to save, for example, raw drafts or blog posts that are not needed by other people.
  • Only a restricted group of people should have access to the document. For example, if a document can only be viewed by a few people, possibly also from different teams, OneDrive for Business is suitable as file storage.

SharePoint is used when;

  • In addition to the document filing, further tools for collaboration are required. SharePoint offers calendars, task lists and much more.
  • Documents are relevant for an entire team and a central platform for document collaboration is required.

Conclusion

The functions of SharePoint Online and OneDrive actually overlap in the function of file storage and functions for sharing. However, the OneDrive for Business is only created for these functions. If you want to use other teamwork functions, you should choose an Office subscription that also includes SharePoint.