What is the current state of SharePoint?

Christian Buckley

Christian is a 7-time Office Servers and Services MVP, internationally-recognized technology evangelist and collaboration expert, and the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

  • Fred Baer

    Hi Christian, I think there are a few more factors for not moving to the cloud.
    Cost. Not just from a dollar amount (overall yearly costs for licensing versus on-prem costs) but the entire way that organizations budget Capital expenditures versus Expenses (which O365 licenses fall into) Capital expenditures are amortized down over several years, and in many organizations Capital dollars are much easier to obtain than expense dollars, which O365 seat licenses fall into. This is an ongoing monthly / yearly expense.
    Security. Even though Microsoft has opened its Cloud for Government, there are still large security concerns. With all of the ‘State-Sponsored’ hacking, high profile companies (Banking, Hi-Tech, etc) are prime targets.
    I also believe that Microsoft has not made good decisions lately regarding the platform, for example the way that they dealt with InfoPath is a prime example. Removing a heavily used feature without any sort of plan for a replacement erodes confidence very quickly. However, the recent return of Jeff Teper to the SharePoint program, and the announcement of continued support for On-Premise should alleviate those fears.

  • Fred, thanks for the additional items.
    On cost, this is a point I often make about organizations still needing to get value out of past investments before jumping to something new, which is part of the comment you make. But the bigger issue around cost is whether the cloud truly reduces the cost if the fundamental value you receive is through your highly customized platform. In other words, you may reduce some costs (headcount, hardware) but increase others (opportunity costs, reduction in automation, reduction in innovation).
    On the security front, in my mind it’s pretty simple: you need to understand your constraints, your requirements, and not accept a solution that does not meet those constraints. Office 365 either meets your requirements, or it doesn’t. Don’t move on promises of future fixes: wait until they are confirmed. Plain and simple.
    No comment on InfoPath. Don’t know what to tell you other than I feel your pain.

  • No. SharePoint doesn’t have a second wind. It died three years ago with SP2013. It’s still dead, as much as people are trying to put bolts of electricity up its ass to make it jerk around.
    If you want to know why, it is first of all because there’s no technical reason to do Office364.75. It’s nowhere near competitive with what’s out there already and coming out every day, and by the time Microsoft catches up, the rest of the world are several generations ahead. Microsoft is still trying to catch up with Google apps and despite being far behind, Google apps are now too old and are being replaced with other things. This is a losing fight for Microsoft.
    The single most important reason for all this, however, is the app-in model or whatever it’s called today. I said this then and I’m thrilled to have been proven right; there’s zero value there because it solves problems nobody has. Microsoft is desperately trying to make it relevant by saying how everyone can now build apps for SharePoint or that it’s really easy to use or whatever, but nobody is buying the story. That’s why it was recently rebranded; not because it succeeded but because it failed, exactly like I predicted and for exactly the reasons I said.
    The thing that remains in SharePoint, particularly as an online service, is as a datastore. It may have had some minor role to play there, but it’s already been left in the dust even by Microsoft’s own competing Azure services. There’s no technical reason why anyone would want to use SharePoint as a data store.
    As an application platform, it got its death warrant with the app model and Microsoft’s refusal to focus on on-prem (no, that’s not what they’re doing by saying, like I also reported three years ago, that there will be another on-prem version).
    SharePoint’s time has come and passed, largely because of how that product group completely dropped the ball and was so afraid of listening to people like me that they killed their own product rather than try to adapt. Instead, a choir of MVPs chanted the tune of destruction and perpetuated the doom. “No, no, this ship is unsinkable. We cannot possibly be going down. Just look, there’s still a speck of dry deck over there, so obviously everything is just fine.”
    I’m doing a SharePoint project now. The task is to avoid any dependency on SharePoint so that it can be completely removed when the heart rate monitor finally gives a solid sound.

  • Bjorn, your feelings about the death knell of SharePoint is well-documented…however the data does not support your conclusion. In the last 3 years, the number of net-new SharePoint installs on prem have actually increased. And Office 365, driven largely by Exchange Online, has seen an increased rate of adoption and positive press.
    I’m not going to argue with you about the app model, because you’re absolutely right. But stepping into the gap created by this app model hot mess have been partner solutions, from both ISVs and SIs, and a reluctance from many customers to move into the cloud and maintain their full trust code customizations — which helped course-correct Microsoft toward what is now SP2016 and more robust hybrid scenarios.
    Guess we’ll just have to once again agree to disagree.

  • Any increase in SharePoint adoption and maintenance of skills will be wiped out because the product team, in its infinite wisdom, decided to kill SharePoint Foundation, which consisted of, without actually having any real numbers to back this up, a whole friggin lot of the current SharePoint install base.
    They may be stupid, but killing off SharePoint Foundation is _not_ a sign of the good health of the product, the platform, or the community.
    Heres the thing, though. SharePoint and the way it is managed goes against everything that happens in Redmond these days. Microsoft is heading towards more openness, with a real reinvestment in open platforms, .NET, and developers again. SharePoint is not. SharePoint is getting even more closed, and the developer story is a bigger and bigger disaster every version. This has been going on since 2009 with Sandbox solutions and it continues to this day with whatever the model-du-jour is this week.
    This pisses developers off. Developers are what drives Microsoft. Not business analysts or whatever they call themselves these days. Alienate developers, like the SharePoint team has managed so incredibly well, and you effectively kill off a product.
    And Jeff being back? Cmon, will you at least venture a guess as to whether he was promoted out of SharePoint and demoted back or vice versa? Regardless, it isnt a good thing when old bosses who were let go or promoted or whatever have to return.
    Look at where we were just five years ago. SharePoint was the only IT-product in the history of humankind that had, or was months from having, a bona fide, degree-granting university. Now, the community has shrunk to a few die-hard MVPs and fans who produce articles that were outdated in 2008, struggling with problems we had solved in 2010, trying to harness functionality that everyone knew was doomed in 2013. At least those who dont need to suck up to Microsoft to keep our MVP titles knew, and were able to say this loud, to the unison ridicule of your fellow groupies.
    See a pattern here? This isnt progress and without progress, SharePoint will continue to die. 2016 was its last hope. Theres nothing there but bad news and new numbers, but hey, Im sure that site collection sizes increased by 50% or whatever is what will really bring SharePoint back to its glory days.