Digital collaboration between a mobile workforce is one of the hallmarks of Microsoft’s Office 365 market strategy. Many of the features and application improvements implemented by the company over the past few years have been undertaken to satisfy the belief that a younger workforce is accustomed to performing in a cooperative, collaborative digital environment.
To this end, in May 2018, Microsoft announced that it was rolling out a subtle by significant change to the way document versioning will work for both OneDrive for Business and for SharePoint Online. By the end of July, all SharePoint and OneDrive document libraries will be set to retain a minimum of one hundred major versions of each document. Importantly, the announcement clearly states that «with these changes, the Document Library Settings page will no longer support the ability to disable versioning or configure it to retain fewer than one hundred versions.»
SEE: Microsoft SharePoint: A guide for business professionals (Tech Pro Research)
Maintaining several versions of a document so they can be retrieved when necessary is an important feature for collaborative situations where the creative process can get chaotic. Someone’s incomplete thought that was discarded 50 versions ago may be just the iinspiration needed to successfully complete the project. Without versioning that productive insight could be lost forever, and productivity could suffer.
However, keeping a minimum of 100 versions of every document residing in OneDrive or SharePoint could take up considerably more storage space than some admins have planned for. This change in storage behavior may have adverse effects in some situations.
Under the new set of rules, if you have versioning enabled for your OneDrive and SharePoint instances, you will no longer be able to limit the number of versions below the minimum of 100. That means existing limits will automatically be increased to 100 when the new versioning settings are rolled out. Admins should be prepared to adjust their storage allocations under these new settings.
To help in this regard, Microsoft is increasing the SharePoint Online per user license storage allocation to 1TB plus 10GB per user license purchased. The previous allocation was 1TB plus .5GB per user license. For most enterprises, the change in versioning coupled with the increase in storage capacity will have little to no impact on operations, but every enterprise is different and Office 365 admins should note this rollout and plan accordingly.
SEE: Five ways Microsoft SharePoint can help teams collaborate (TechRepublic)
Finding the versioned documents
For many users, gaining access to versioned documents stored on OneDrive and SharePoint may not be as straightforward of a task as they think. The versioned documents are not stored in the localized drive of their Windows 10 workstation—versioned documents are strictly an online feature.
To find a versioned document on SharePoint or OneDrive, start your web browser, navigate to Office 365 and login. Open the library where you versioned document is stored, which in this example (Figure A) is my SharePoint Online Team library.
Click the radio button next to the document, or right-click the document name, to get access to the advanced menu and navigate to the Version History link (Figure B).
When you click that link, you will be presented with a list of the available versions of that document (Figure C). Each version can be viewed, deleted, or restored to replace the current version (losing all the changes, keep in mind.)
Whether it is Windows 10, Office 365, or Azure, Microsoft is continuously monitoring, changing, updating, and upgrading its business productivity software. It is one of their primary business strategies for keeping customers happy. For most of those customers this is a good thing, but it also means IT admins must diligently follow Microsoft’s announced changes and adjust when necessary. Raising the minimum number of versioned documents for OneDrive and SharePoint is just the latest example.
Do you take advantage of document versioning? Did you even realize there was such a thing? Share your thoughts and opinions with your peers at TechRepublic in the discussion thread below.