SharePoint Online project update – September 2020

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

Ahead of the launch, we wanted to give an overview of the change in roles in SharePoint Online and the guidance we will be providing:

New roles in SharePoint Online

Site Network Administrator

Site Network Administrators (SNAs) are similar to the current SCAs and are responsible for the structure and usage of their site network, a flatter structure which replaces the old on-premise hierarchy of sub-sites, as well as all the sites within it. They control their content and application creation, page layouts, navigation, libraries and folders. They can read, download, create and edit content and documentation. SNAs provide technical assistance to Site Owners.

Business Owner

The Business Owner is a completely new role that is being introduced to help manage the University’s SharePoint Online. They oversee and are accountable for the content and use of SharePoint Online in their college, department or division.

Ideally this person will be a senior administrator or Senior Management Team (SMT) member, but need not be a technical person, as they have no responsibilities within the system.

Their role is to ensure the business use of SharePoint Online in their part of the University is compliant, consistent, managed and supported, and to nominate a sufficiently skilled SNA.

Planning for SharePoint Online

Each part of the University will be responsible for deciding who is best placed to take on these roles.

Site owners will not be able to create any new sites in SharePoint Online until both a Business Owner and SNA are appointed in their part of the University. 

We therefore strongly urge everyone to begin the process of deciding who their Business Owner and SNA will be now, so that Site owners keen to move to SharePoint Online in November can do so.

Submitting the names of your Business Owner and SNA will be part of the provisioning process, so please wait to tell us who they will be until SharePoint Online has been launched, when we will provide full details and guidance on how to do this.

Guidance on website

SharePoint Online is being set up at Oxford University with very little customisation of the 'out-of-the-box' setup from Microsoft. This means that you should be able to use Microsoft’s support website, and other external help websites, without finding that bespoke changes have made their advice inapplicable. We are therefore focusing on general introductions to SharePoint Online and providing detailed guidance on the small number of things which are specific to Oxford University, such as the committee template.

We will also be providing e-learning packages on CoSy for SNAs, Site Owners and Site members.

Here is the project website and the frequently asked questions (FAQs) page.

Benefits of SharePoint Online

SharePoint Online has undergone a major redesign compared to SharePoint on-premise. The new 'modern experience', as Microsoft calls 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.

Committee template solution

This is the only bespoke development being produced for SharePoint Online, in conjunction with representatives from Conference of Colleges, Medical Sciences and College committees. We are planning to launch this in November 2020.

For more information about the SharePoint Online Project, please visit the project website.

If you have any questions about this, please email the SharePoint Online Project team.