For many organizations I have spoken with over the past few years, I have noticed 2 specific trends when it comes to SharePoint:
1). “We’re really into the idea of the cloud, how do we do it?”
2). “The cloud is Evil, we’re never doing it, quit bringing it up”
And actually, the more I think about it, #2 probably cam from me as well about 5 years ago. But the fact of the matter is, especially when it concerns Web based applications, that the cloud is really where you’re going to get the most value for your organization for these applications. I’m a big believer that this goes double for SharePoint.
Why is the cloud so good for SharePoint?
About a year ago, Microsoft got themselves in a bit of hot water for essentially saying that they didn’t see any future in the on-premise edition of SharePoint and there was some indication that they would make SharePoint 2016 the last version that would be deployed for On-Premises. This caused many virtual riots, some Admins tore up their autographed Bill Gates photographs, and there were many tears shed by Ninjacat’s riding Unicorns*.
Fast forward a year, and Microsoft completely reversed that course and has wholeheartedly committed to continuing supporting new versions of On-Premise SharePoint in perpetuity. But as I have seen so far with what they have shown for SharePoint 2016, “wholeheartedly” may be a bit optimistic. I don’t want to say that On-Premise is underwhelming, but.. no actually, that’s exactly correct. It is.
But, if you look at the development of SharePoint on Office 365, it is a completely different story. Microsoft has truly committed themselves to expanding and refining the functionality of SharePoint in Office 365. But they are doing this by building new and exciting products on top of SharePoint. Delve, Next-Gen Portals, Power BI, and even Yammer, are all products that can be woven into SharePoint quickly and easily through Office 365.
Can’t we just do Hybrid if we want all that functionality?
Sure you can, and that has really been the one big feature that has really been promoted with SharePoint 2016. But, does it really make sense to create a fully redundant, high performance, SharePoint 2016 farm and then add on an entire Office 365 tenant? For very large organizations which have established 2013 Farms, and Petabytes of content, I would say yes. But what if you’re a small to mid-size organization, with very limited support resources?
SharePoint is a very powerful platform, that can perform a LOT of different functions. I have seen many large organizations struggle to support the platform with decent sized IT staffs. Saddling your company with 2 SharePoint environments may be a terrible choice if you want to see real value from SharePoint over the long term.
Ok, but what if I don’t care about all that extra functionality, and still just want to do On-Prem?
This is just my opinion, but I think one of the big reasons Microsoft really pushed away from wanting to continue SharePoint on-premises, is due to the bad rap the platform has gotten over the years. And I’ve seen my fair share of bad SharePoint implementations. In my earlier years, I probably helped contribute to some of those bad implementations as well. And I think what Office 365 can help your organization with, is saving your SharePoint from bad practices, bad implementations, and horribly bad upgrade activities.
Let’s face it, there is one absolute with having an On-Prem SharePoint environment, and it’s the fact that you WILL have to upgrade it eventually, and it most likely WILL be a painful process the longer between versions you wait. Right now, companies who are still on SharePoint 2003 are nodding their heads in agreement. I see Microsoft making a very good effort at trying to take as much of the pain away as possible, and just letting the users keep collaborating.
But what about Security? What about the Hackers?
Microsoft spends millions on Intrusion detection, has large teams of people monitoring real-time connections, and uses advanced Machine Learning models to detect possible threats.
*NOTE: None of these things “may” have happened