OneDrive Move-To — a blessing and a curse

When coaching on collaboration and some of the habits that build confusion or bleed time, one small feature I push that can have a big impact is the ‘move to’ feature in OneDrive. This feature allows people to move a document between libraries shifting the source of truth to a different area. It helps try to stamp out the other option — creating a duplicate.

Ask yourself, or a user in your organisation, one question. If you have a document in OneDrive and you want it in a Team library, how do you get it there?

I think over 90% of people will upload another copy. Download to desktop and uploading into another library is deeply embedded behaviour.

Not many people use ‘move to’.

So, it’s a great feature, but what is the big bucket of confusion that can be experienced when using it?

Deciding which library to click on when choosing the new location for your document can bring things to a halt.

The start of the process is easy. Click on the document in the library and click on ‘move to’.

Then on the right hand side of the screen a list of common libraries will appear for a user to select the new location.

This is where is can get tricky.

Consider this example:

  • IT has created SharePoint sites for Business Units and the person uses the Finance site
  • Someone else at some stage created an Office 365 Group called Finance
  • Not long ago someone (through Service Desk request or having the ability to do so themselves) created a Team called Finance

Its easy to understand how this situation occurred over time and the end result is a person can have 3 locations called Finance. I experienced this with a customer last week where there were 3 libraries with either identical or very similar names and they had no idea which was the one used currently.

See the image below, this is from my own tenant. What appears is 3 Teams and its pretty clear cut. My experience with the customer was they had a mix of Groups, Sites and Teams libraries (yes I know they are also sites, don’t get pedantic!), with very similar names.

What follows this is the moment of confusion, then the feeling that its all too hard, then they reverse out of this and decide to fall back to the download/ duplicate/ upload process. New behaviour lost.

What can we do?

The simple quick fix is to use icons in your Teams. That was our short term solution. If you give your Team an icon, when the above step comes up, they can pick the library name with the icon and it save MUCH confusion.

As for a longer term solution, well decisions have to be made, naming conventions reviewed and a bigger picture discussion. If you have some other amazing fix feel free to share with me.

Driving awareness of the differences between these libraries across sites, Groups, Teams etc is a tough one. It hurts peoples brains. So the quick icon on the square for a Teams library helps them know what to do in an instant and reduces the chance of them falling back to bad habits. Just another way I try to kill off behaviours in the workplace that create duplicates and then lead to a headache for colleagues.

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