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Working with OneDrive for Business is More Productive when SharePoint Online Users have Realistic Expectations

Microsoft has expanded user accessibility to Office Online to include not only smart phones and tablets powered by Microsoft operating systems, but also iOS and Android devices. Nevertheless, Office Online performance is not uniform across all of these devices. So SharePoint Online stakeholders, administrators and power users should set reasonable expectations for end users, to ensure adoption does not suffer as the result of deploying OneDrive for Business and Office Online apps.

This writer recently tested performance of Excel Online on:

  • a PC running Windows 7, Professional with 8 GBs of RAM
  • a PC running Windows 8.1, Professional with 12 GBs of RAM
  • a Surface 2 tablet running Windows 8.1 RT
  • a Samsung Galaxy Note 2.1 10.1 running Android Jelly Bean

A large spreadsheet depicting monthly cash activity for over 100 types of transactions, over 8 years, provided the content for the test.

We observed substantially different results from each of the devices included in our test. Even the 2 PCs were challenged to easily scroll through columns of data. We could manouver around the spreadsheet with our Surface 2 RT, but were very challenged to achieve satisfactory results with our Samsung Android Tablet. We should also note the latter device supports several different browsers: Samsung’s version of Google Chrome, Chrome, and Firefox. We were not able to successfully work with Excel Online with either the native Samsung browsers, nor with Firefox. But we did obtain satisfactory results with Google Chrome on this device.

Excel Online does not include an actual “GoTo” button. Documentation we found about Excel Online claimed the GoTo feature still exists. All one need do is “[t]ype in a cell reference and jump to that location in the spreadsheet”. But type in a cell reference where?? Unfortunately the documentation does not specify just where a user should look for the form box required for this process to work. A click on the Excel keyboard shortcuts did not produce a keystroke combination for the GoTo feature.

As we noted above, in our opinion, SharePoint Online stakeholders will do well to thoroughly test Office Online performance across as many of the devices in use at a specific organization as they can, before rolling out Office Online to end users. The objective ought to be to minimize any negative impact on SharePoint Online adoption by end users.

Ira Michael Blonder

©Rehmani Consulting, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder 2014 All Rights Reserved