Currently SharePoint is still king of the Intranet for many enterprises and mid-sized companies. However, making the move from on-premise deployment to one of the new cloud based alternatives is going slower than expected. In a recent report by Forester entitled ” SharePoint: Solid In The Enterprise, But Missing The Mobile Shift” surveys conducted earlier this year show a distinct lag in online adoption. It indicates that part of it is the perception of SharePoint as on-premise solution, part because of security and privacy concerns as well as worry that customization in the cloud is too restrictive.
One interesting aspect of the report was the fact that 79% of the respondents were running SharePoint 2010. The survey also indicated that only 28% stated that moving to some form of cloud-based SharePoint was “never a consideration” which is down from 38% in a similar survey set in 2012. The survey also indicated that 66% of those surveyed were planning on moving to SharePoint Server 2013 within the next 12 months.
Yet a recent Redmond Magazine survey indicated that the delay in cloud adoption may in part be companies trying to decide which Microsoft cloud platform to use. They for the most part know that a large part of their end-user base is going to want to be mobile and currently SharePoint’s mobile performance is lackluster at best. Of the two options, Office 365 or Azure, Office 365 has the majority of adopters with 14% using Azure. 15% of end-users had SharePoint cloud deployments housed in a variety of other cloud providers.
Although in this particular survey 55% percent indicated that they will opt for Office 365, a respectable 29% said they were eyeing Azure. As one of the authors of the Forrester report, analyst John Rymer notes “People don’t do customization of SharePoint Online using the old method because the product limits what they can do. Integration, for example, is pretty limited, and Microsoft will not accept ‘just any random code’ and the rules indistinct.”
As some companies already have built custom apps and desire continued access to management capabilities or specific types of integration with other internal systems, they are likely to take a pass on 365 in favor of Azure. As Jeffrey Schwartz points out in his article, “While smaller organizations are the most obvious candidates to go to SharePoint Online Office 365, especially if they don’t have a collaboration solution, larger shops have more complicated decisions to make. Whether or not larger shops are using Office 365, Windows Azure or third-party infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) or managed services providers (or any combination of those), the largest trend is toward hybrid implementations where they are adding capacity to existing SharePoint infrastructure incrementally.”
Making the choice requires a high level of expertise and a methodology focused on evaluating the business needs that drive the use of SharePoint. For some there will never be a need for a cloud deployment and for others it will be the only way to go. These same experts are likely needed to make the move from SharePoint 2010 to 2013 as there are a number of changes, many of which are aimed at getting SharePoint more mobile, that must be considered and dealt with during the upgrade.
Taking advantage of both the expertise and lower cost that an offshore development company focused on SharePoint is something that the 66% planning on making the move should consider. These companies have well trained development teams, U.S. based project managers and can supplement your existing developers at extremely low hourly rates. These companies have diversified over the last few years to offer highly educated staff and well developed methodologies for planning, deploying and supporting users when moving to the new platform.
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