We Are Past The Environmental Shift To The Cloud
In early 2017 when CollabTalk conducted its first research project for Microsoft and several partners (including PixelMill, AvePoint, Rencore and others), much of the talk in the SharePoint community was still around the mammoth task of moving predominantly on-premises installations of SharePoint to the cloud (check out Understanding the State of the Hybrid SharePoint Ecosystem). And now here we are nearing the mid-point of 2020, and you rarely hear of any clients remaining purely on-prem. While a majority of SharePoint on-prem customers continue to support a hybrid model, for new businesses coming online with Microsoft 365, moving straight to the cloud makes perfect sense.
Companies have struggled with the decision of which assets to push to the cloud for good reason: these decisions determine how the environment will be managed, the governance policies enacted, how customizations will be supported, and if maintaining hybrid solutions for any period of time, the level of difficulty of future upgrades (because those cloud-based tools will be changing at an almost constant pace).
Another change from the past 3 years has been the adoption of SharePoint framework templates and community expert guidance on how to build out your SharePoint environment. Historically, companies have struggled with the design and architectural decisions around SharePoint, and, more specifically, they have had a difficult time deciding whether or not they should mirror the more traditional structure and permissions of their past internal portals, or fully embrace the ad hoc and collaborative model of the social platforms that their end users love.
SharePoint environments are generally setup following the traditional, top-down managed portal, whereas our modern collaboration environments are more about user-driven activities. There is no denying that the next generation of employees is pushing toward more social platforms and solutions, like Microsoft Teams. With the seemingly relentless barrage of cloud-based, social collaboration tools hitting the enterprise, the activities of the Information Worker are becoming more and more decentralized, making active management of your intellectual property even more critical.
Three years ago, there was clearly an “environmental shift” happening inside the SharePoint community, where organizations were beginning to rethink the size and complexity of their environments, the need for more ad hoc and conversation-based collaboration features, and how the environment should be managed. Are we past this environmental shift? Are we to a point now where organizations understand the benefits of the cloud over on-premises environments, except for rare instances?
For most companies, I think so. However, I still think hybrid is here to stay. Fewer companies will require any on-prem environments, but those who maintain hybrid environments today are showing no signs of moving away from them. Moving to the cloud may have become easier over the past few years, allowing organizations to get out of the business of infrastructure management, but the reality is that there may be a long (or even permanent) hybrid transition as requirements evolve to fit the cloud paradigm, and as many cloud platforms mature.
If you’re interested in reviewing the research paper Understanding the State of the Hybrid SharePoint Ecosystem, it is available without registration.