There are many who are debating the move to Office 365, and one of the biggest reasons in your consideration should be SkyDrive Pro for your users. In my experience SDP is one of the first reasons to use the Microsoft cloud. It’s going to be less unusual for people to do the My Sites in the cloud and keep the Intranet on premises. Welcome to the world of cloud and hybrid cloud.
1. Size – Size matters when it comes to storage. In my last 5 conferences, I’ve polled the audience… Out of 1000 attendees the largest on premises deployment of SkyDrive Pro was 2GB. I was in the process of building a 5GB quota deployment of SkyDrive to attempt to match what users had with Dropbox when Microsoft announced the support for 25GB SkyDrive Pro in Office 365. It was at that point, I gave up. I was NOT going to try to compete with that size that would only work with an airline booking system to support data growth that had a TON of storage for flexibility. In addition to that you can even get up to 100GB SkyDrive Pro if you so desire. You should also compare your individual max size. Microsoft is now supporting much much larger files than you. They support a 2GB individual max file size. Here’s a good reference on the SharePoint Online limits you can compare yours with my SharePoint 2013 outer limits post where I compare online with the defaults and maximums and recommendations.
2. Mobile Apps work – The SkyDrive Pro app from Microsoft on iOS and Android ONLY works if you have an account with the Office 365 and in fact only exclusively works with SkyDrive Pro in Office365. (In addition the sharing features mentioned in #3 are exposed in the app.) That’s also the case with needing an account for Office365 for Android and iOS to get Office Mobile working. It should work with On Premises data once you’ve authenticated with Office 365, but I know some users who have had a challenge with anything but Office 365 due to firewall, auth, or who knows what. Since Office 365 is consistent, all of the third party solutions also work much better with Office 365 SkyDrive Pro including Colligo briefcase, harmon.ie mobile, SharePlus, etc… This means the security, offline, sync, search, yammer integration and social features that you want work the first time.
3. External Sharing – A feature NOT yet available in the Intranet on premises flavor of SharePoint is sharing. It’s built right into the Office 365 SkyDrive Pro. It enables scenarios that aren’t yet available on premises. The sharing allows you to share a document to an email. They don’t need to be part of the Office 365 network to receive the document. This is really important if you’re trying to convince your users to stop using dropbox for work documents.
4. Remote Access – While some companies may setup remote access to SharePoint, there are others that may require VPN or require many additional hops to gain access. Office365 provides a straight forward way to access the documents. There are single sign on solutions based on what the company has setup.
5. Yammer integration – The new ability to share from SkyDrive Pro directly to Yammer with the Office single sign on is pretty awesome. The integration is tighter without a LOT of work. I see the yammer integration as being a good reason to use Office 365 for SkyDrive.
Just because you agree doesn’t mean you have to put it all up there. There’s some great ways of doing just Yammer and MySites/SkyDrive Pro in Office 365 and integrating that with your on premises deployment, but that’s for another blog. You can point your my site host at Office 365 and in fact that’s how Microsoft IT (Microsoft’s own internal deployment) is doing it. They exclusively are using the SDP as the way to better handle individuals sharing files with external folks.