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Microsoft Focuses on SharePoint Online, but are Enterprise Organizations Ready for the Cloud?

The biggest impediment, for most enterprise businesses considering Office 365, can be found in public discussions about online security. Office 365 is a suite of computer applications delivered as Software as a Service (SaaS). Ostensibly the same well-publicized vulnerabilities endemic to an ever growing set of SaaS offers (including Amazon.com, and even Apple’s iCloud, albeit several years back) should be true for Office 365. So enterprise business has been slow to embrace pure cloud offers, opting, instead, for either pure, on premise computing, or a hybrid combination of both.

Indeed, a survey published by AIIM in December, 2013 showed a high level of ambivalence on the part of respondents from larger organizations (500 – 5000 employees) on the question of whether or not it makes sense to “move all of their SharePoint content to the [Office] 365 cloud” (quoted from SharePoint 2013 – clouding the issues).

The survey results point to just 3% of respondents from enterprise businesses attesting to having made this decision. An additional 29% of respondents expressed an interest in a hybrid cloud, on premise SharePoint solution. But 24% of the remaining respondents reported no interest in a cloud implementation for SharePoint. Finally, a substantial portion of the respondents, 43%, reported no decision, as of the date of the survey, on the question.

It, therefore, likely makes sense for the majority of larger communities of SharePoint users to plan on a continued need for on premise server infrastructure, and the host of administrative tasks associated with this decision. SharePoint-Videos offers a set of video training on SharePoint 2013: Administration. Another set worth considering, is one of the three we have published this year on the new SharePoint 2013/Office 2013 App Development model (please contact us if you need a pointer to an appropriate set, based on the unique needs of your organization).

Microsoft® has implemented a “Cloud First” initiative to rebrand its products. The promotional material for Office 365 includes scant mention of SharePoint. But, as I’ve noted above, based on the AIIM survey, it looks as if the marketing team is moving at a much faster pace than the market, itself. This is not to say large communities are not signing up for Office 365, but, rather, their movement in this direction is tempered by an ongoing commitment to on premise SharePoint infrastructure. Effectively, these organizations are experimenting with the cloud, SaaS component.

Ira Michael Blonder

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