by Patrick Penn, SharePoint Architect, Enthusiast and Entrepreneur.
Clear out the old to make place for the new
From its birth in 2001 with Codename Tahoe Server the first steps were made. A Document Management System based on Microsoft technology.
Today we are happy about SharePoint 2013 and i'm sure we'll be hearing a lot of the technology in the future.
We know Microsoft as a company with a huge portfolio of different client- and server-products and technologies. Also some games like Age of Empire and Microsoft's Flight Simulator were part of it.
Some of the brew disappeared but left a lot of experience. Others have been merged with more focused products, for example Groove and SharePoint and that's a good thing.
Thus don't panic if the name SharePoint retires in the future, it's technology is extensively in use.
Thanks to Axel Schneider who provided this historical logo collection. I just added the SharePoint 2013 logo.
The Social Office Universe
Microsoft has strictly focused on the cloud and social with Office 365, Yammer, Oslo and Office Graph which leads to the question what will happen to their feature overlapping on-premise solutions, explicitly SharePoint?
The problem to plan, deploy, implement, administrate, customize and develop an equivalent scenario on-premise, with the same amount of effort is nearly unsolvable.
When a new version of any involved product comes out, you also have to deal with migration scenarios, if you plan to upgrade.
Mostly you will upgrade because of new, cool and useful features and sometimes just to keep support, hopefully not.
Microsofts strategy is to shorten the time between minor and major versions of their products. Within the cloud they have the chance to merge and optimize their products and react on the communities requests with high frequent iterations, which increases satisfaction of their customers and speeds up the product evolution.
Jump on the SharePoint Cloud Train?
Book your ticket but don't become a tramper, by simply jumping on it! You have to decide where to take your place, standing, a seat on the window, 1st class, 2nd class?
Here may be some useful tips, not for the SharePoint highend professional, but maybe for power users, developers and administrators with some influence to their bosses to argument into the right direction for upcoming SharePoint projects.
1. Online or On-Premise?
Some have to replan their strategy for upcoming projects and consider all pros and cons of SharePoint and SharePoint Online. I know, that's obvious, but Office 365 is a lure and you gain access within minutes for a fair pricing, without having a strategy.
Realistically, there may be some influental show stoppers in SharePoint Online, which will surely be eliminated in the near future, but actually you have to identify and evaluate them.
On the other side, do you have enough internal know-how to host your own SharePoint environment?
It doesn't matter which way you decide, you need internal SharePoint know-how or, better and, a professional partner.
We have to rethink about the amount and depth of customization in SharePoint.
Don't reinvent the wheel! Remain as close to the standard features as possible or evaluate a 3rd party solution which does. At the latest, when migrating to a new version without taking this into account, you may regret it.
This doesn't mean to stop SharePoint development, this part is one of the most important advantages of SharePoint, but be sure that you definitly know what you're doing or pick the right professional.
3. Location of Data
How about the location of your stored data? Does the law or even your company allow to store your data anywhere on the planet, sometimes without knowing exactly where? What are your and your companies requirements?
Plan for Social! The last months showed, that the main Microsoft business solutions will receive serious social adaptions provided by Yammer.
It's only consequent to provide contextual information when and where you need them.
I think that's where Microsofts Codename Oslo will come in place.
The promise? You will have all your information whenever you need it, even without searching for it. Sounds cool! But you definitly need a well planned system in the backend for providing metadata, keywords, taxonomies, documents etc.
Which system will that be? You know!
The SharePoint Framework will not suddenly disappear, because it's substantial for the whole Office-Yammer-OneDrive universe.
Some parts of SharePoint will split of, f.e. MySites has already become OneDrive and the Newsfeed will surely be adopted by Yammer.
Welcome OneDrive for Business a sync tool with still some limitations but with the power of DropBox and the magic of SharePoint. It will definitly establish for business in the future when it receives cross-platform support.
Also some SharePoint backend parts like search, workflows and timerjobs may be involved in the evolution of the cloud, but the technology will remain the same, naturally evolved.
I will not go further. There are enough intensivly used features which will not be discontinued overnight.
Microsoft has to deal with the potential of SharePoint and it's involved consultants, partners and companies.
So let's use the new chances to provide even better services and solutions and build better products to benefit ourselfes from the new SharePoint and his new brothers and sisters. It's simply a consequent SOA!