Replace Folders with Metadata when storing conversation files in SharePoint

Occasional Contributor

Anyone know the rationale behind Microsoft's decision to rely on folders instead of metadata to organize conversation files in SharePoint? For years MS (and information-architecture world) discouraged the use of folders for file organization, and rightly so. With Teams, MS re-introduced a 19-century (or earlier?) technology and made it, with the prominence of the Files tab within all channels, the primary means of storing files within modern SharePoint team sites. It would have been natural to organize all of this using metata instead. Anyone at MS envisioning a reversal on this? 

2 Replies

@Tom Braman 


I'm by no means a Microsoft employer but can let you knwo what I Believe.


The bigger purpose of Teams is simplicity and having a workspace app to make users workdays easier and more efficient. When we talk about metadata, that's something bigger than Teams. That needs planning on a advanced document management level. Instead Teams tries to simplify by using channels (folders) as a first level and let user feel at home. Sure it's a step back maybe but keep in mind that you can still apply metadata to Teams or keep working with files and metadata in SharePoint. The newer files tab experience supports metadata better now aswell. 


This lays on every organisation on how to approach this. But now there's both an easy way for users to start using Teams straight up without the need for more extensive user training and many hours of finding out how to use metadata in the organisation. To start using SharePoint for files is also the 1 step towards using metadata I guess :)



@adam deltinger 


Thanks so much for your reply. You make a good argument for reducing the burden on end users for knowing how to apply metadata, but in this instance it seems Microsoft missed an opportunity to automatically tag a piece of uploaded content with the channel name, as opposed to automatically upload the content into a specific folder named after the channel. And it should have been fairly straightforward to show channel-tagged content in the content's respective channel (or even multiple channels, if files applied to topics--ah, the value of metadata!). End users would not have had to learn anything. I totally agree with you about minimizing the burden on end users at the point of upload, but I'm also sensitive to end users' need to find content that's been posted, and columns/metadata make lighten that burden considerably more than folders (you don't see Amazon or Best Buy storing their products in folders, am I right?).