SharePoint 2013 Mysites and Document Management

Mysites are a selling feature for SharePoint but a requirement that always comes up with the Mysite functionality is to remove the ability to store documents in users’ mysites. In my opinion, the presence of document library features in mysites defeats the point of collaboration as users will be saving documents onto their own personal mysite space and not onto a shared collaborative space. Most companies do not want employees saving company documents in their personal space, and when showing demos for clients the question always comes up: Is there any way of removing the document library feature of the mysites? Also there is a worry over the amount of time employees will spend updating their mysites instead of performing work relates tasks.

Before I answer, we need to understand the structure of the features available in Mysites, as in SharePoint 2010 we could restrict functionality using permissions but the social capabilities of SharePoint 2010 make this difficult as some of these features depend on document libraries.

The Microsoft Site http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/cc262500.aspx shows how My Sites can be configured and what functionality comes with the different configurations. An organisation can configure to switch on a combination of options 1, 2 and 3, or select only one option. There is also the option to enable different user options for different user types. For example, permanent staff may have all the options whereas contract staff have only one.

There are 3 options:

  1. Create Personal Site This permission enables users to create a personal site to store their documents, newsfeed, and followed content
  2. Follow People and Edit Profile This permission enables users to follow people from their My Site and to edit their personal profile
  3. Use Tags and Notes This permission enables users to use the Tags and Notes feature from SharePoint Server 2010. The Tags and Notes feature is provided primarily for upgrade purposes so users can continue to access the tags and notes they created in the earlier version of SharePoint Server. However, you might also use this permission to enable users to leave notes on documents in SharePoint Server 2013 Preview.

The table of configuration options is as follows:

Table: Combination of permissions in My Sites

Option combination

Personal site creation

Edit profile

Newsfeed

Document library

Document following

People following

Site following

Social Tags and Note Board

1, 2, 3

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

1,2

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

1

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

1,3

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

2

No

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

No

No

2, 3

No

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

3

No

No

No

No

No

No

No

Yes

So when they ask if the saving of documents in mysites can be removed, the easy answer is no. You have the ability to turn off option 1 which controls the ability to create a personal site, but this will remove the ability to follow sites, documents and people as well remove the newsfeed as all these depend on the presence of a document library dedicated to storing these items for display in the feeds. So if they can live without the social mysites aspects then they can remove the document management capabilities in Mysites. But then again, this will defeat the purpose of making SharePoint 2013 more social?? I wonder why Microsoft didn’t think of separating out the functionality of document management from the social aspects, it would have saved me a lot of questions and confusion

The only way around I see for the moment is to create your own custom site definition for Mysites, and remove the document library from the definition, although keep the newsfeed document library. Editing the current site definition is possible but not supported by Microsoft. Strict permission policies on mysites and reducing storage quota should limit the users form being able to create further document libraries once their site is provisioned. I welcome suggestions for a solution for this and if I find one I will definitely be writing about it as there is definitely a need for the solution.

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3 thoughts on “SharePoint 2013 Mysites and Document Management

  1. Aren’t documents in the My Sites Shared Folders visible to the search engine in Sharepoint? If so, then there is no need to remove the document library, because the documents are available to everyone who searches for them, thereby preventing “silos” of hidden information..

  2. I like what you guys tend to be up too. This
    kind of clever work and coverage! Keep up the terrific works guys I’ve added you guys to our blogroll.

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