The SharePoint Online Decision (SharePoint in Office 365)

Posted by: Stephanie Donahue on November 21, 2014

Making a decision about whether or not your organization can move to SharePoint Online may seem like a daunting task. There are many reasons for moving to the cloud –

  • Needing more storage space
  • Lessening the burden of server management on your IT department
  • All the new features that are available!

That’s just to name a few. Whether or not you want to hear about it, the reality is that we are all faced with dealing with the cloud, if even to make the decision to NOT go.

I have the distinct pleasure of working around both ends of the spectrum. As the owner of a small business and as a SharePoint architect and consultant, I find myself working in 5 year old SharePoint environments as often as I work in Office 365 (especially considering this is where my own documents are held). This means one day I talk to companies about trading in their 3 ring binders for basic electronic forms and the next day I’m planning a global strategy for an organization that is migrating a large SharePoint environment from 2010, and wants to use every single bell and whistle in SharePoint Online. This affords me a tremendous opportunity to see and understand the many working pieces and parts in a lot of different sizes and types of organizations.

There are many different factors that come into play – reasons that either hold an organization back from moving to the cloud, and conversely, what pushes them forward. Despite the different situations each organization faces, I see consistencies across them in general, you may find your own situation fits into one mentioned in this series.

SharePoint Online – What should I know?

The point of this series is to help you through the decision making process of whether or not to move to SharePoint Online, so you can make an educated decision on what to do for your own organization. Back in February 2014 at SharePoint Conference, I spoke with a member of the SharePoint Product Team. This person told me that there are no technical limitations to moving 100% to Office 365 and SharePoint Online. Say what?!

Having firming planted my feet in camp with staying on-premises at the time, this sounded like the standard “I drink too much Microsoft kool-aid” response for my liking. However, I asked him enough questions that I finally started to see the picture coming together and I resolved to better understand the gaps.

If you have recently been tasked with making this decision, you may be asking yourself the following questions:

  • Is SharePoint Online fully baked? Is it really ready for prime time?
  • Is SharePoint Online right for an organization of our size?
  • Is it *really* available 99.9% of the time?
  • How do I connect to on-premises legacy systems? (think ERP, legacy SQL databases, JD Edwards, etc)
  • How do we migrate a tremendous amount of data limited resources

These thoughts and experiences are my own…

After months of immersing myself in Office365 and Yammer, I’m cautiously optimistic about the push to the < Microsoft> cloud. While I’m certainly a huge fan of Microsoft, I do try to provide what I call a “less-biased” opinion. We have iPads in my house and I carry an Android phone. I carry a Samsung tablet that runs Windows 8 for work and I LOVE it. What I’m trying to say is that I hope to provide to you a realistic view of your options when assessing whether or not you can move to SharePoint Online.

Stay with me on this series as we dig into the pros and cons of moving to SharePoint Online or sign up for my webinar!

Topics: Business Intelligence

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