SharePoint vs. The File Server – 13 Reasons why SharePoint Kicks your File Server’s butt!

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I wrote this about 5 or 6 years ago.  But when I switched blog platforms, I lost the content and realized the content has fallen off the Google cache for the most part too.  Tonight I found it (on my mother in laws computer of all places) so I figured I’d just steal from myself and post it again… Apologies if you’ve been here or done that.  That said, I’ll take a moment to update this information with some relevant 2010 information as well.

13 Reasons why SharePoint Kicks your File Server’s butt!

My favourite number is 42.  That would be a tall order (but I imagine I could come up with 42 reasons why SharePoint is better than a file server).  So, I went with my second favourite number – Number 13 – it’s a lonely number and also the digits on the back of the sweater of my favourite hockey player, Mats Sundin, the current captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs – Go Leafs!! – Update: wow it has been a long time since I wrote this… Sundin and any Leafs Playoff success is just so long ago now… <sad face>

Thus, I present to you, 13 reasons why SharePoint Document Libraries tear the pants off of your File Server (and dropbox,, for that matter).

SharePoint dethrones your file server because it provides…

  1. Web based access to your files from anywhere (work, home, the airport) and from anything (PC, MAC, Tablet, mobile devices, whatever) – in a Web browser or familiar Explorer view
  2. SharePoint offers a “Two Stage” recycle bin – if you delete a file in SharePoint, you can restore it from the site’s recycle bin, if you delete it from the site, the administrator can still restore it for you, with the click of a button
  3. SharePoint provides Check-In/Check-Out abilities – when a file is checked out, others that try to edit the file will be informed that you have it, and it will prevent them from overwriting your work
  4. SharePoint provides Version History (and backups).  If you edit a document and don’t like the changes since the last time you saved, simply revert to a  previously saved version.  You can employ simple Major Versions or enjoy Major/Minor Versioning (where you “publish a Major Version” when you are satisfied)
  5. SharePoint saves money (and storage space/backups) by storing only one copy of your document.  If you want others to edit or review a document, you simply send them a link to the document, instead of the document itself. This means you always know where the original document is (We call it “one version of the truth”), and this prevents the common scenario of the document being spread around and stored on PC’s and in users’ inboxes (and ultimately, backed up repeatedly as well)
  6. SharePoint allows you to view and find your documents in whatever manner you wish – RSS feeds, customized views, Metadata/sorting filtering, whatever. And users can define their own individual preferences for finding their data
  7. SharePoint provides Workflow capabilities – your documents are the Payload and the workflow defines what happens next.  SharePoint provides the following workflows *out of the box* (with more that can be programmed) to manage them; Three State, Approval, Collect Feedback, Collect Signatures and Records Management Disposition Approval.  And of course you can roll your own using SharePoint Designer or if you haven’t explored Nintex yet, you should…
  8. You can email directly to a SharePoint document library (just imagine, being able to ‘CC’ your file server to store copies of documents (or better yet scanned receipts that are searchable!)
  9. SharePoint document libraries can be moderated.  Designate someone to manage the documents in each library, to ensure only the documents that have been approved, are available for viewing
  10. SharePoint libraries can be RSS enabled – Cool.  Not sure what RSS is?  Click here to find out
  11. SharePoint can notify you (by email) when a document has been added, modified or deleted.  You can be alerted whenever you prefer; Immediately, or via a daily or weekly summary (digest)
  12. When using Outlook or SharePoint Workspace 2010 you can take a SharePoint document *offline* (such as at 10,000 feet in Business Class) and it will synchronize it for you once you reconnect
  13. Okay, this could have easily been #1.  SharePoint Search – find your data whether it be the name of the document or the text inside the document, in less than a second – ‘Nuff Said!  Word, Excel or even PDF’s (and many more) can be indexed by SharePoint

Take that file server! Go back to 1986!   And tell Mr. T we said “We Pity the File Server”


Not enough? Well, I promised to stop at 13 but here’s some more things to think about, many of which are new to 2010 (some are old classics that didn’t make the short list last time):

  • Records Management
  • Content Types (employ templates and process documents through a lifecycle by type)
  • Document Sets
  • Office Web Apps
  • Document Workspaces
  • Dashboards and List View Web Parts to surface important and timely data with views
  • Ratings
  • Tagging
  • Presence
  • Scanning directly into libraries using applications like

If you have any questions about SharePoint or want to see SharePoint Document Libraries in action, visit us online at or just give us a ring at 250.220.4575.

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