Telling the Hybrid Story for SharePoint and Yammer

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I’m sitting in the Metalogix EMEA office in London (#TheYoo) for a few days before heading over to SharePoint Saturday Stockholm (#SPSsthlm), here to participate in a sales training activity and to visit with some of our customers, and I thought I’d talk a little more about my upcoming sessions at the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas in March, and the European SharePoint Conference in Barcelona in May. My primary theme this spring is hybrid – so get ready for more content, slides, and webinars on these topics from me.

Earlier this month, I shared my major activities through end of Q1, including my session abstract for “the big show” – Microsoft’s SharePoint Conference in Vegas, but thought I’d share details again:

SharePoint Conference (#SPC14)
March 2nd through 6th at the Venetian in Las Vegas
http://www.sharepointconference.com/
It’s time once again for SharePoint’s “big show” in Las Vegas, and this is an event you do not want to miss. I’ll be presenting a session called “SharePoint on-premises, in the cloud, and everything in between” (link to my abstract) in which I will walk through the many different paths that SharePoint has into the cloud. It’s an IT business decision-maker session geared toward those who want to know how they can make the most of their on prem investments as they slowly (or quickly) transition into the cloud.

European SharePoint Conference (#ESPC14)
May 5th through 8th at the Palau de Congressos de Catalunya in Barcelona
http://www.sharepointeurope.com/
In the Wednesday morning keynote, I’ll take the stage with Mark Kashman from the SharePoint team at Microsoft to present the topic “What It Takes to Make Social Successful” (link to the abstract) in which we will take head-on the realities of making SharePoint customers more social, whether through the out-of-the-box SharePoint capabilities, or by using Yammer. We’ll talk about Microsoft’s official messaging and guidance, as well as feedback and examples from the field.

The common thread between these two sessions is hybrid. Hybrid (maintaining on prem systems while also adopting some cloud services) is becoming more and more of a focus for SharePoint customers – and yet the various “flavors” of hybrid, and the issues and best practices around each, are largely unknown. My SPC session deals with hybrid SharePoint, and the ESPC session I am doing with Mark Kashman will focus specifically on social, including SharePoint and Yammer hybrid solutions.

Most organizations that I speak with are not, in fact, looking to move all activities into the cloud. Our own customer surveys put the number of customers interested in Office365, for example, at around 20% – but even that is heavily skewed by the US marketplace. When customers talk about cloud, what we’re seeing more and more is SharePoint being hosted in Azure or Amazon Web Services, which, to Microsoft are technically just additional on premises deployments.

One of the evolutions within the SharePoint space in 2013 was Microsoft’s recognition (finally!) that hybrid solutions are a much bigger deal than they previously thought. Gartner’s analysis almost a year ago stated that 35% of current SharePoint customers would never move to the cloud, while 50% of current customers would adopt hybrid strategies within the next 3 to 5 years. The NSA data breach has certainly had an impact on cloud adoption (especially outside of the US), but bigger than that is the realization that these cloud services (not just Microsoft platforms) are not yet at parity with their on prem versions. Some companies are simply not ready, or willing, to make the move just yet, while others are testing the waters by moving small workloads. Add to that the many customers who plan to continue maintaining their current SharePoint infrastructure and get value out of the investments they’ve already made, but who also want to take advantage of the new features and start moving workloads into the cloud. All of these scenarios drive the hybrid conversation.

The point of my SPC session in Vegas is to provide IT BDMs (business decision-makers) with some guidance around the many different hybrid scenarios to consider when planning for the cloud. While not a technical session per se, I will dive into some of the technical considerations, and hopefully provide better insight into the benefits, and issues, with supporting various SharePoint hybrid and cloud scenarios. For my ESPC keynote with Mark in Barcelona, we’ll be taking a very similar tactic, walking through the state of SharePoint social and Yammer features, and then talk about various integrations and hybrid social scenarios.

Hopefully, people will take away from both sessions a better understanding of what is out there, and how they might start making the move toward cloud – even if there are multiple steps to get them there. And if you can’t attend either event, watch for me on the road – I’ll be presenting my SPC session at the ‘Best of SPC’ event at the Microsoft Technology Center (MTC) in Boston on March 26th, and will be sharing this content at regional events, SharePoint Saturdays, and various SPUGs throughout the year.

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Servers and Services MVP, the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and CMO of revealit.io, a blockchain-based video technology company.