Everyone has an opinion about SharePoint. They think it’s horrible. They love it. They think Office 365 (and SharePoint Online) are the future of SharePoint. They think most organizations can’t move off the on premises version. They think the on premises version is headed for the deal pool. I wonder if we’ll ever see consensus on SharePoint’s future?
Forrester Says SharePoint Online is Going Nowhere
We know that Microsoft has made a huge pitch for cloud technologies, saying that cloud is the future. Microsoft isn’t the only one. But it’s demonstrating its view by putting more time and effort into Office 365 than we see it putting into on premises SharePoint. Yet, according to research from Forrester, 28% of enterprises aren’t even looking at the online version of SharePoint, many noting security, compliance, privacy and other concerns.
However, of the 158 IT decision maker responding to the survey, 15% are using Office 365. Of those, over half had good experiences deploying SharePoint. Finally 28% are planning on moving to Office 365 over the next twelve months.
It’s a small sample size, and it is confirmed by recent AIIM research as well. But what does it really mean?
Gartner’s Take Isn’t So Clear
Gartner seems to have a slightly different take on SharePoint’s future, noting the efforts Microsoft is putting on the cloud. Jeffrey Mann, research vice president at Gartner, says that SharePoint Online and SharePoint on premises are going to diverge greatly. He sees SharePoint Online being more tightly integrated with Yammer, Lync and Exchange Online to the point that you might not be able to tell the difference between them (although he does note they will all still be available separately). This will mean faster updates to features and functionality. In an interview he states:
“SharePoint needs to go to the cloud, but some customers can’t or won’t —Microsoft needs to move SharePoint to the cloud for its own interests, as well as the interests of its customers.”
Of course Mann also points out that for many organizations a move the cloud isn’t really possible for a variety of reasons including security, compliance and privacy noted above, but also because of the extensive customizations made to the on premises version that can’t be replicated in Office 365.
As for SharePoint on premises, he notes slower updates and much resistance to upgrading to newer versions due to complexity. But he does say that Microsoft will continue to update its on premises version.
“While Microsoft will not walk away from this product line, there are strong arguments that the changes coming will split the on-premises and online versions of SharePoint sufficiently, and that Microsoft should acknowledge that they cannot remain as one product, and help customers plan accordingly.”