Lately, I have really put a lot of thought into this concept I think of as Personal Governance. I am trying to set an informal policy for myself on where I put my documents. This includes all types of documents such as things I am working on at work as well as personal things like receipts and photos. Microsoft offers both SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro (at least that’s what they are currently called) to help us with these tasks but there are decisions to be made. When it comes to where a file should be stored, the answers to some of these questions is simple. Business documents go in SkyDrive Pro and things like photos go in SkyDrive. This is basically how Microsoft describes it. However, I see a case where there is an interim period for some of my documents that start in SkyDrive and get moved over to SkyDrive Pro or perhaps a team site. Largely this depends on whether I need to share the file with others in my organization. As I am trying to set up a policy for myself, I ask myself these types of questions. Admittedly, I don’t plan on drafting up a sixty page document on self-governance, but I still want to solidify a plan in my head.
I have become heavily addicted to SkyDrive and not a day goes by that I am not connected to it in some way whether that’s my PC, my Surface RT, or my Windows Phone. I was grandfathered into the service back when it offered 25 GB for free and I have had to purchase additional storage because I store so much out there. This is largely because I have every photo I have ever taken on my SkyDrive since I got my first digital camera back in 2000. I figure SkyDrive is a pretty safe place to store things like this and things are accessible on any of my devices. However, since my organization is not fully on SharePoint 2013 yet, I find myself storing a lot of work documents on my SkyDrive because I want to be able to access them on my Surface RT (running 8.1) when I am offline. The nice thing about Office is it can pull files from SharePoint or SkyDrive and it is seamless. That makes things convenient. However, this leads me to having two copies of the same file and that drives me nuts because then I have to think about where the latest version of the document is.
If you haven’t noticed yet SkyDrive and SharePoint have a lot of similar features. They both have things like sharing, Office Web Apps, and version history. I rue the day if they ever add content types and site columns to SkyDrive because I know the compulsive nature in me would be forced to sit down and classify every single document I have. :) Since there are so many similarities I tend to apply similar practices to SkyDrive that I do in SharePoint. I regularly waste time reorganizing things needlessly.
You might be guessing that I have a lot of junk in my SkyDrive and I would say that’s probably correct. I have receipts from expense reports more than seven years old. This brings me to a future topic in how do you enforce a Personal Retention Policy? For companies, this is more about compliance and avoiding legal issues. For an individual, this is more about cleaning up your junk. SkyDrive lets me query by recent documents through the web interface, but figuring out which documents are old and need to go away is a bit trickier. Your best bet is likely by syncing everything and then using traditional file system or PowerShell commands. That’s not exactly ideal especially for an end user. I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft adds tools to the interface some day to help you identify old files. Admittedly if there was a disposition job that ran on my files in SkyDrive like in SharePoint, I would be a fan. :) After all it’s in their best interest to have you clean up your files as well, right? What do you think, should individuals enforce a retention policy on themselves? How do you handle it with the files you have? Am I just a big nerd for thinking of this kind of stuff? Probably. :) Leave your comments below.