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Your business relies on files and documents the way our body relies on nutrients. Your day to day is filled with documents you need to work on, reports that have to be filed, invoices sent out, receipts documented, proposals edited, spreadsheets updated, etc. Without files and documents like these as well as other content and data, your business would fail to build on its foundations, just like our muscles, bones and nervous system would begin to deteriorate without the right nutrition.

Your business building blocks

Since your files and documents are so essential to the health and growth of your business, your focus should be on best practice for storing, accessing and collaborating on your content. That’s where a storage platform like SharePoint and a sync and share solution like OneDrive for Business comes in. Both give you the tools to store your data securely, access it from anywhere on any device, and offer great collaboration abilities so your colleagues can easily work together across the business, allowing your organisation to be more productive and ultimately grow bigger.

The question is, however, if these are both great solutions (and included in your Office 365 plan) how do you decide which one to use and for what kind of information? Today’s post will look at five key differences between SharePoint and OneDrive for Business so that you might choose how and where to house your all-important content.

SharePoint and OneDrive for Business: Same but different

In many ways, SharePoint and OneDrive for Business are similar in their functions and abilities; both are excellent components in your information management infrastructure. But when it comes to baseline storage and collaboration online, just like in so many avenues in life, ‘the devil is in the details’. Both options come with additional nuances that will allow you to work more efficiently depending on the content situation – so your best strategy is likely going to be using both solutions. But when and how?

OneDrive for Business is designed for personal file storage for work files that you have primary ownership over. For documents that only you, or mainly you, use, OneDrive for Business provides a place to store content in the cloud, as opposed to a device-specific place like a desktop C:\ drive.

SharePoint is more inclined toward the wider ownership, storing files that need to be accessed by a team or a department or even the entire business.

Here’s a great training video from Microsoft on how to move documents from OneDrive for business to SharePoint Team Sites.


So in a general sense, we can understand that OneDrive for Business is for the individual while SharePoint is for the group. Both can:

  • Store and Sync files
  • Share and collaborate
  • Meet security requirements
  • Be accessed anywhere

Five key differences


1.     Branded pages and dashboards

SharePoint is undoubtedly an overall richer and more powerful experience than OneDrive for Business. Within your SharePoint environment, you can customise and brand your sites and create functions that support your users’ productivity. Along with the document library, you can also create custom links on the team sites, use the newsfeed on the site to broadcast messages to your colleagues, access your CRM tool, as well as broadcast company announcements and events.

2.     Workflows and automation

Our day to day work is often an accumulation of small, essential tasks that tend to build toward larger goals. The ability to create workflows surrounding these tasks is a huge benefit. Certain jobs (usually simple tasks that have to be completed over and over) can be automated to reduce errors and tedium. This is easily achieved in SharePoint, but cannot be done in OneDrive for Business.

3.     Task management and tracking

Speaking of tasks and automated workflows, any project or tasks that crop up in the workday or during the week need to be assigned to the right teams and individuals – and set to a schedule – which are completed or re-assigned to colleagues. Task management is a major part of how a business runs itself; good task management leads to higher levels of productivity, higher employee morale, and boosts the bottom line. While important files can be shared in OneDrive for Business, in SharePoint there is a built-in and very capable task management solution giving you the means to run your projects most effectively.

4.     Lists

While you can share files and documents with your colleagues in OneDrive for Business, the difference in SharePoint is that by creating lists you are sharing a lot more information to your team. This data can then be used as a focal point for team collaboration or as part of a larger business solution. Essentially, you have more scope for organising, analysing and using your data to draw insights and business best practice than you might from your content in OneDrive for Business.

5.     Permissions

In OneDrive for Business, you can share your files with individuals and grant them different levels of access – whether that be read-only or the ability to edit a document – as well as easily removing that access when needed. This can also be done in SharePoint along with more nuanced actions. In SharePoint, you can create restricted links that allow specific people internally (or even externally via a link) to access that document and also limit how long they have access to it.

When it comes down to it, both SharePoint and OneDrive for Business are more than capable of carrying out what you need them to do. The important thing is knowing what tasks work best with which solution and ultimately if used together properly, they can provide a very efficient document and information management platform.


SharePoint and OneDrive for Business