Stop Emailing Documents!

July 24, 2020

There are a lot of downsides to emailing documents. What are some modern solutions to this age-old problem, and how would someone start making this shift?

An Overview

One of the most difficult behaviors to address in a company is governance over the way users create and share content. Though you can provide your team with new tools and avenues to collaborate with each other, it takes time to teach an old dog new tricks.

Here, we’ll talk about the benefits collaborative tools like Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, and SharePoint can offer and why it’s time to stop emailing files once and for all.

A Single Source of Truth

As a best practice, there should only be one instance of a working document in existence. When users send documents back and forth via email, it’s easy to muddy which copy is most up to date.

If you’re going to take email out of the picture, then what? Integrating a cloud-based system like OneDrive or SharePoint into your workflow eliminates the risk of there being multiple versions floating around. When working in a real-time collaboration space, you can easily track the changes made to your document and retain a historical record of your work.

You also might find the effort and formality of drafting an email becomes erased by simply granting document access to a user via a OneDrive or SharePoint link, or sending a chat message to a coworker over a collaborative tool like Microsoft Teams. Communicating in these ways helps promote better connectivity within your workplace.

Permissions & Accessibility

As a site administrator, it might seem intimidating to make sure that the right team members have the right access to a document at the right time. However, the collaborative tools available in your Office 365 license have now made it easier than ever to streamline accessibility to documents. 

In order to reduce time and effort spent, you can grant permissions to entire teams of collaborators in a designated space with the click of a button. Setting up these groups makes it less tedious to ensure that the correct users have the access they need to a shared space.

Storing your documents in a cloud-based environment also ensures that you always have access to the latest and greatest content (yes, even if you find yourself on a camping trip in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula UP). The system’s cache settings will load your content whenever you have internet access without any effort needed on your part, which reduces time spent trying to retrieve documents from email.

Control & Security

No matter what industry you’re in, it’s important to protect your company’s assets. Apart from the collaborative benefits that come with digital document storage solutions, they’re also overall more secure.

When you send a document via an email attachment, you’ve essentially cut yourself out of any changes made to your work and where the document has been subsequently shared. By storing your files in a cloud system and maintaining ownership, you have the ability to track changes and revoke access to anyone that no longer needs your company’s sensitive information.

If you want to take your security to the next level, you also have the ability to get granular about who has access to a file – to the point that you can control access by device type. There are several privacy features within SharePoint that allow you to put a stop to behavior you don’t want to happen within your document, such as downloading or making copies of your work.

Putting It into Action

If you’re looking to get out of your inbox once and for all, baby steps are key. It usually helps to select a group of “champions,” or key users, and encourage them to explore their personal OneDrive spaces. Real organizational change starts by empowering your teams to try out and learn these key features for themselves.

After your users become comfortable doing basic tasks like sharing files within their OneDrive space, you’re perfectly poised to take the next step to working in a SharePoint site. The beauty of Office 365 is that your license grants you the ability to explore these features at your leisure. 

Sometimes, it’s possible to find that even after upgrading to a digital solution, your team still finds themselves stuck in their go-to habit of emailing documents. Depending on the size of your organization and training governance you have in place, it might make sense to partner with a provider that has experience in rolling out digital solutions to a broader audience. Site administration is an often-overlooked role, but it’s an important one to ensure your users are making the most of their collaborative space.

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