HELP: Corporate Data Storage on SharePoint without hindering Collaboration

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Our organization has actively embraced Teams and been using SharePoint prior to Teams. We really dove head first and created Teams for various departments, functional areas, and one-off situations and the impact has been noticeable (positively). That said, we are engaging on a global corporate strategy to reign in our data to ensure we don't carry several copies, files are easy to find, and yet still secure. The leadership approach was to create a single Document Library and have all areas of the business dump files in this flat folder structure. This a nightmare for permission/access management, it removes the majority of collaboration available on the platform, and feels outdated. With a concurrent NetSuite implementation that would see SharePoint files available in NetSuite for record association this approach made sense but I am seeing a lot of negative effects of this approach and fear we are headed down a road that will make us worse not better.


I am seeking advice from anyone/everyone out there that has dealt with a similar situation as I know there is much better approaches that provide data security, ease of use, "less painful" permission management, and enabled collaboration. 


Ideally, I want to maintain an approach of Teams with SharePoint enabled sites for each functional area and department yet have this feel like it is in one-cohesive location enabling the requirements listed above. As additional context, I had dabbled with using a Hub but we ended up setting the communication site used as the Hub as our root site and that is now not possible (Hub site cannot be the Root site). Maybe the solution is around a Hub.


I look forward to any recommendations and dialog and thank you for your time!

4 Replies

Hi @JoeyWeems ,


One model I see quite often is using Teams during projects and while collaboratively creating content, but then having an agreed process that final, approved documents are moved to a more central repository. This can also avoid the situation where content gets trapped in a specific team and hidden from the rest of the organisation. I guess it depends on your content and business how it's appropriate to permission your content, but in my experience people do tend to over secure content, if someone asked would you share that content with them, in which case don't keep it to yourself.


Hub sites are really the next best option. Root sites are a pain in SharePoint, but are now largely unnecessary as you can declare any site as your Homesite, don't worry about the URL. See


With the hub model your content would remain in each departmental team, but become searchable from the homesite/hub. Remember that permissions are maintained, only members of each team would by default see the file content. It is possible to independently change the permissions on their SharePoint sites to give wider access to just the files.

@Steven Collier 


Thank you for the insight, I agree and this has been our approach. Unfortunately, the "centralized" portion of more permanent storage is still separated out into 8-12 SharePoint Sites mainly labeled by Department (Sales/Marketing, Accounting/Finance, IT, etc.).


As an example of our progression, at one point we had a Sales and Marketing Site as well as a Sales and Marketing Team (obviously with the associated SharePoint Site in the background). So we went ahead and collapsed the independent SharePoint site and adopted the SharePoint site associated with the Sales and Marketing Team. 


I had then joined all of the Teams SharePoint sites into a Hub and figured we were good.


Unfortunately, the request is to get the data as close together as possible and the specific request (from leadership) is in the same SharePoint Site. Therefore, I really see no way around a single document library in a single SharePoint Site hosting all the data for the entire company. I think it will be a nightmare managing 150+ named users (as well as guests and links) to over 1TB of data all stored in a single folder structure...


Tossing the idea of moving "published/final" documents from silo'ed/independent SharePoint Sites into a global repository also has been discarded because the business wants visibility into all files, not just final ones. If my leadership needs to hop from site to site for data it is seen as a burden and a risk to data management. I naturally see it as data management in the hands of my department owners versus IT managing all data exchanges. 


I'm in a tough spot because I feel we are negating all the benefit of this collaborative platform in seeking a single "view" of all unstructured data within our organization. Even if I am allowed to keep Teams going it will be with little to no data stored within them, so I figure we are going to be using Teams for Chat and Meetings only!


Thanks again for the feedback. 





What if you had just one Team, with channels for each department? I've used this model before for companies of your size. It would match the broad brief of your leadership to have a simple and open structure to find both files and conversations. The issue is permissions, this approach would be fine if everyone is happy to access more or less everything.





My advice here if you need flexibility in regards of permissions applied to information stored and a flexible information architecture is go to model where you just use SharePoint without having a Microsoft 365 Group managing the membership what also means not use Teams...of course you can link later your SPO site as tabs in your teams