Microsoft Says SharePoint On-Premises is Not Dead
There have been a lot of rumors going around in the past year or so about the future of SharePoint On-Premises. Microsoft has been very focused on SharePoint Online and Office 365 and pretty quiet about the future of SharePoint Server products that businesses use on-premises. Some have said that SharePoint Server 2013 might be the last SharePoint Server product. Because Microsoft has a tendency to sometimes drop a product without any warning to the consumers or offering any alternatives (remember Threat Management Gateway ?), businesses often get worried when Microsoft doesn’t respond to these rumors.
Recently Julia White, general manager for the Office Product Management team, put these rumors to rest, at least for now. In a Microsoft Office blog post on February 2, 2015 she wrote about the evolution of SharePoint in the cloud and said:
“We’re evolving SharePoint in the cloud with Office 365, investing in the same core areas of experiences, management and extensibility, in addition to making significant investments in hybrid. But, we realize many customers continue to run their businesses on-premises, within the firewall or with hybrid deployments. That’s why we are committed to making the next version of SharePoint server the most secure, stable and reliable version to date—allowing organizations to take advantage of cloud innovation on their terms.”
Among other things, Microsoft plans to focus on NextGen Portals. These are rich, dynamic portals that Microsoft calls “ready-to-go” portals that will save customers tremendous amount of time. There will also be a lot of emphasis on Microsoft OneDrive which essentially replaces personal file servers and the need to store data on local hard drives, while allowing users to collaborate with other employees across the company.
In Office 365, Microsoft plan to expand the concept of team sites which are typically used to collaborate with other team members within a department. In addition to data, Microsoft plans to allow collaboration on a broader set of information across Office 365, including email, instant messaging, tasks, contacts, personal files, social feeds, etc. As you may know, Microsoft really wants us to use Yammer and you should expect a better integration of Yammer with Office 365 in the future. However, I believe that Yammer is still in its infancy and Microsoft is really pushing this product before it is ready for prime time. You may argue that Microsoft did the same thing with Office 365, Windows 8 and even Exchange 2010. Well, I won’t argue with you on that. My issue with Yammer is that it was built as a stand-alone product and now Microsoft developers have been told to jerry-rig it and somehow make it fit and integrate with Office 365. At the end of the day I am sure Microsoft will make it work but it will take longer to get there with many hurdles along the way.
Based on what Julia White said, Microsoft is committed to SharePoint on-premises, along with SharePoint Online. This is good news for businesses who have deployed SharePoint on-premises, which are about 99% of my customers. Here’s what Julia said:
“We know that the move to cloud doesn’t happen all at once. While we’ve seen growing demand for SharePoint Online, we recognize that our customers have a range of requirements that make maintaining existing SharePoint Server deployments the right decision for some. We remain committed to meeting those needs. We’re excited about the next on-premises version of SharePoint and we’re sure you will be too. It has been designed, developed and tested with the Microsoft Software as a Service (SaaS) strategy at its core, drawing from SharePoint Online. With this, SharePoint Server 2016 will offer customers enhanced, flexible deployment options, improved reliability and new IT agility, enabled for massive scale.”
SharePoint Server 2016 will be hybrid-enabled so it will bring more of the Office 365 features to SharePoint -on-premises. You should expect to hear more on this topic at Microsoft Ignite (May 4-8, 2015) in Chicago, IL.
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