With Microsoft’s latest 2013 update, business IT managers now face the decision whether to deploy their SharePoint system on an in-house server, or to use the new and improved cloud updates through Office 365 that make remote collaboration more comprehensive than every before.
The debate over which SharePoint system format (server or cloud) will win out and become the future of collaboration is a heated one. Supporters of the on-site server point to a Forrester research survey of IT decision makers which indicate that 62% of the businesses who took part plan to upgrade and deploy on-site SharePoint servers – however, only 8% will use a cloud-based and 26% will implement some kind of hybrid.
Another study, conducted by Metalogix Software Corp., reported similar results, finding that 64% of companies plan to upgrade to SharePoint 2013 within a year, while just 10% are making the full jump to the Cloud.
Even still, embracers of the Cloud and industry analysts predict that this large gap between on-site and cloud SharePoint users is gradually closing, and may even shift in favor of the Cloud in the coming years.
At the end of their report, Forrester analysts Rob Koplowitz and John Rymer paint a bright outlook for Office 365, saying, “Despite the current slow adoption of Microsoft’s SharePoint Online, we expect that customers will begin to adopt it in greater numbers as they eventually start seeing the service’s advantages.”
Of course, doubts often surface about whether the cloud is “mature” enough to deal with large organizations. For instance, businesses with 1,000 plus users remain somewhat skeptical about the security of dumping all their data in online databases.
While it’s fairly obvious that Microsoft’s end goal is to get as many customers onto the Cloud as possible, there are a number of organizations that may never fully switch to SharePoint Online because of compliance, data governance and other regulatory requirements. (Government institutions, in particular)
But even if widespread cloud migration is an unlikely dream, the future of hybrid collaboration servers looks very bright. Undoubtedly, many organizations with hesitancies toward exclusive on-site or online servers will develop their own union of the two. In fact, many already have.
According to Koplowitz and Rymer, whatever you decide in the end—whether it’s to upgrade to SharePoint Online, stick with an on-site collaboration server, or somewhere in between—your IT strategy should contain these 6 elements:
- Make implementing an IT strategy a primary focus
- Determine if the “bonus” features provide a sufficient return on the investment
- Create your customization strategy
- Have realistic migration expectations—and plan for it
- Carefully review threats to application response time and come up with viable solutions
- Break down your integration requirements accordingly
For more seasoned advice on upgrading to SharePoint 2013 and migrating to SharePoint Online seamlessly, give one of our Microsoft-certified SharePoint consultants a call today.