SharePoint Online is coming soon

The launch of SharePoint Online is set for November. There will be a soft launch for early adopters in October and if that goes well, we anticipate a mid-November launch to make it available for all teams.

Benefits of SharePoint Online

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SharePoint Online has undergone a major redesign compared to SharePoint on-premise. The new 'modern experience', as Microsoft terms it, is simpler to use, mobile friendly, much better for collaboration, makes it easier to search and find documents, and integrates well with other Microsoft applications. You will also have considerably more storage available: each SharePoint Online site can be up to 1TB, compared to 25-100Gb for each site collection in SharePoint on-premise.

Moving to SharePoint Online

This redesign, however, also means that old SharePoint sites can't be automatically moved over to SharePoint Online. Setting up new SharePoint Online sites and moving content over will be the responsibility of Site Owners and administrators.

SharePoint on-premise will not be switched off until April 2023, which is the hard deadline when it goes out of support with Microsoft. Although this is a relatively long window of overlap, we strongly encourage you to move the content from your existing SharePoint on-premise sites to SharePoint Online well before this deadline.

Getting ready for SharePoint Online

The following advice applies to new sites, not site networks - if you are looking to move your entire department or college over to SharePoint Online, please see our guidance for developing a strategy for moving to SharePoint Online.

Before you make a new site in SharePoint Online, there are several things that you should consider:

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  1. Review the content of your current site and work out what needs to be moved to SharePoint Online, and what can be deleted or archived - here is some advice for reviewing and tidying up SharePoint on-premise sites (log in with SSO)
  2. Is SharePoint Online the right tool for all the sites you are planning? Consider whether Microsoft Teams or OneDrive might be more suitable for some sites - read our short guide on the differences between SharePoint, OneDrive and Teams
  3. There are two top-level roles in SharePoint Online: 
  • Business Owner, a new role, held by a senior manager, who is accountable for the content held on SharePoint Online, but has no technical remit
  • Site Network Administrator (SNA), which replaces the current Site Collection Administrator (SCA)

Both of these roles need to be assigned in your department, college or equivalent part of the University before you can start creating sites. This is so SharePoint Online sites are not 'orphaned', which could lead to issues with compliance and accountability. 

Site Owners should contact your SNA before requesting a new SharePoint Online site, to check how your site will fit into the new network. We will be providing further information at launch for finding out who your SNA and Business Owner are.

SharePoint Online 'out of the box'

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Oxford University's SharePoint Online will be 'out-of-the-box' from Microsoft, with very little customisation. This means that you can refer to Microsoft's support website, and other external help websites, without finding that bespoke changes make their advice inapplicable. This also means that we are not able to switch on customisable features that are outside of our Office 365 licence agreement, nor are we able to purchase additional third-party licences for products such as Nintex.

Guidance for using SharePoint Online

We are focusing guidance and training on general introductions to SharePoint Online, by providing e-learning packages on CoSy for SNAs, Site Owners and Site Members and some detailed guides on changes specific to the University, such as the committee solution.

Further information

For more information about the SharePoint Online Project, please visit the project website and the frequently asked questions(FAQ). If you have any questions, please email the SharePoint Online project team.