SharePoint is NOT Your Fileshare

It seems most companies around the world get SharePoint to replace their fileshares.  It’s the entry point for many businesses.  The classic mistake most make however, is treating SharePoint like a fileshare.

The worst thing you can do is just upload your fileshares into SharePoint without any kind of analysis or clean up.  It’s junk in, junk out.  If you can’t find anything on your fileshares now, what makes you think it will be any better in SharePoint if you don’t classify things properly first?

The following at minimum needs to be addressed first :

  1. You need to decide what data you’re going to keep and for how long.
  2. What types of files can be migrated over?  Are PST’s, videos, sound files and photos allowed?
  3. Where it will be stored and who will be responsible for maintaining it?
  4. How will it be categorized and who will determine the taxonomy?
  5. Who will have access to what and at what permissions level?
  6. If you’re going to SharePoint 2013, do you allow the external sharing of your documents?  And if so to whom and by whom?
  7. Are you bound by legislation that requires records management and has this been built in?
  8. Will things all still be in Word or Excel format; or can they be converted to site pages and lists instead?
  9. Do you know what libraries need versioning and which ones don’t?
  10. If you’re going to migrate them regardless, do you have special software installed that can extract metadata for you?
  11. What about naming standards – what date standard do you employ as it affects how you sort your documents after bulk uploading them.
  12. Have documents with special characters been addressed?  The “&” symbol is in many Excel doc names and SharePoint doesn’t like those.
  13. What size are the documents?  Is the default upload limit of 50MB going to suffice?

If you’re migrating your fileshares onto SharePoint without asking at least these basic questions, you’re just performing a tickbox exercise and the platform is highly unlikely to be successful.

Telling your users you will be switching off the fileshares by X date and they better have moved their stuff to SharePoint by then, is the perfect way to ensure a failed implementation if you have not empowered them and planned the environment properly first.





  1. The other classic mistake is to implement the tool without training and/or whithout repeatable training. If people aren’t aware of some of the power of Sharepoint or even simple things like not reposting a document 12 times, but rather storing it once and putting links in the other 11 spots…then the tool will slip into a file server replacement.


  2. Great considerations listed in your article. SharePoint can easily become a glorified fileshare for organizations that do not plan and follow the guidelines that you’ve listed.


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