Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint are similar programs that share certain features. It’s not always intuitive as to what makes them different or how to utilize each. Both are critical to your business’ streamlined workflow, but let’s explore the features of each. By understanding what makes each program unique, your team will be able to maximize their productivity.


What is SharePoint?

Is SharePoint part of Office 365? Yes, it is included as a core service within many Office 365 subscription plans. SharePoint is a cloud-based platform for sharing files. Digital documents can be created, stored, and synced across various devices, making them easy to distribute inside a company. It is an unseen backbone that offers content services for all your Microsoft files, including those used in Teams, Yammer, and Outlook.

You can access SharePoint from Outlook. SharePoint organizes and secures your information, while facilitating seamless content collaboration across all of Microsoft 365. We recommend signing up for a SharePoint online training course to take full advantage of all its functionalities.


What Is OneDrive?

When you sign up for Microsoft 365, you can access OneDrive. OneDrive stores your work files and any files others in your team or organization share with you. Files are accessible from your browser, mobile device, or desktop version of OneDrive.


Comparing SharePoint and OneDrive

There are several differences between SharePoint and OneDrive’s capabilities and functionalities. Below are significant examples of these differences.


Document Administration

SharePoint facilitates storing, managing, and sharing documents inside an organization. It enables users to access documents from any location at any time, improving collaboration and document management. 

SharePoint is intended for managing large groups of documents and files within an organization, including capabilities such as:

  • Version control
  • Check-in/checkout
  • Document approval workflows

OneDrive is primarily designed for personal file storage and sharing and lacks document management functions.


Cooperation Within a Team

SharePoint offers numerous features for optimizing team collaboration and communication. OneDrive has very limited options for collaboration beyond file sharing.

OneDrive provides a streamlined sharing experience that allows users to easily share files with singular employees or groups within the business. SharePoint also has sharing capabilities, although they require greater administrative oversight.


Automation of Business Processes

SharePoint has robust workflow capabilities that automate business processes such as approval workflows, document review procedures, and other repetitive operations. These are features that OneDrive doesn’t have automatically.


Building an Intranet and a Portal

SharePoint can build corporate intranets, team portals, and other customized solutions that interface with other Microsoft products, such as Teams and Office 365. OneDrive does not have these capabilities.


Microsoft Product Integration

SharePoint interfaces with various other Microsoft products and services, simplifying capitalization on current investments in these technologies. OneDrive interfaces with other Microsoft products, but with fewer customization options than SharePoint.


Storage and Synchronization of Personal Files

OneDrive is primarily designed for personal file storage and syncing. This allows users to store, sync, and view their files from any location and on any device. 

While SharePoint can be used for document storage and sharing, it works best for team collaboration rather than personal file storage and syncing.


Configuration and Administration

Because it requires less configuration and customization, OneDrive is easier to set up and operate than SharePoint. Anyone can use OneDrive without information-technology (IT) assistance, whereas SharePoint often requires administrative support.


Compliance with Regulations and Data Security

Both OneDrive and SharePoint use encryption to safeguard data at rest and in transit. OneDrive only offers encryption at the file level, whereas SharePoint allows businesses to encrypt data at the document library level and individual columns within a library. 

SharePoint has more sophisticated compliance capabilities, including built-in support for HIPAA and GDPR compliance standards. SharePoint also has retention policies that can be used to erase or preserve data depending on defined rules and deadlines.


Intelligence in Business

SharePoint operates with a broader set of data sources, such as external databases, web services, and other systems. It has built-in connectors for common data sources like SQL Server, Oracle, and SAP and third-party connector compatibility.

SharePoint enables users to create interactive dashboards and reports using tools such as Power BI, which can generate visualizations such as charts, graphs, and maps. OneDrive does not include any data visualization tools.


Preparing Your Team for Both

Mastering Microsoft Office can help your team improve productivity and increase profitability. When it comes to your team understanding and maximizing the tools you’ve equipped them with, let us help. ONLC is a business-to-business training provider, with credentials in delivering technical training courses for Microsoft programs. With our guidance, your team will be ready for whatever project comes their way.

About The Author

Microsoft Certified Trainer and Consultant specializing in Office 365, Microsoft SharePoint, Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Visio, Microsoft Office Development, and Crystal Reports. In Glenn's career as an independent consultant, he provided network design, implementation and administration, database development, support services and training for several firms in the greater Philadelphia area.

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