Migrating Outlook content to SharePoint

By - August 18, 2016

Organizations have begun to explore the option of migrating some of the Outlook content they share to SharePoint, due to the limitations they have experienced with file sharing over and over again.

Recently, we engaged with a client where many of their employees were using Outlook to access more and more content (specifically email and attachments). These employees use Outlook as their primary communication tool which has led them to generate a lot of their content here.

One of the employees shared his Outlook which had 95,000 emails, with attachments, stored in various folders which were categorized by years and various functions within the organization. He did not seem concerned about sharing the content in Outlook because he believes they have:

  1. Complete security control
  2. Private and public folders for quick metadata
  3. Emails (with attachments) being easily saved into folders for future reference
  4. No switching required from Outlook to another application to access the content

During the information architecture sessions for their new SharePoint portal, it became apparent that we needed to convince them that Outlook is a great communication and collaboration tool but not the best tool to store content.

There are numerous disadvantages to their organization if content isn’t migrated from Outlook to SharePoint. These include:

  1. Inability to share the content with others without resending the email
  2. Multiple clicks required to navigate to the right folder for the required content (similar to file shares)
  3. Unnecessary pressure on the human memory to remember the folder structure in order to navigate to the correct content
  4. Limited search capabilities in Outlook, due to lack of metadata
  5. Performance impact due to growing size of Outlook storage file
  6. Risk of losing all data, if the laptop with the Outlook gets lost or stolen

There are a variety of tools available in Outlook which can help organizations save emails and attachments as documents in SharePoint with minimal clicks. These tools populate index panels within Outlook to help users index the email and attachment with appropriate metadata depending on the SharePoint target location from where other team members can access this content for their day-to-day job. To find out more about this or other ways that RSM can assist you with your SharePoint needs, contact RSM’s technology consulting professionals at 800.274.3978 or email us.


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