Where has the SharePoint roadmap fallen short with users?

The SharePoint roadmap promises cost savings in the cloud, but companies are finding hidden costs and disappointment along the way.

Microsoft's SharePoint roadmap emphasizes potential cost savings in the cloud, but the reality has been more complicated -- and expensive -- for many users.

Cloud migration roadblocks and the need for third-party help can easily lead to underwhelming cost savings. So, where has the SharePoint roadmap fallen short of user expectations?

The primary problem may be that Microsoft has not done a very good job with expectation management.

A lot of people using SharePoint on-premises wanted a cloud migration for financial reasons, but they couldn't do it because they already had heavily customized on-premises deployments and the customizations wouldn't translate into the cloud. The cloud can provide a cheap and easy public-facing deployment that simplifies security, but if companies have to maintain their on-premises deployment anyway in a hybrid scenario, that means they're paying a bigger nickel for their SharePoint environment. That's not good.

In addition, Microsoft announced last year that it's discontinuing support for public-facing SharePoint websites. From a strategic point of view it's a decision that keeps them competitive. Microsoft's Azure cloud is hugely popular, but it has never been cost-effective for Microsoft, because they have to keep the price low to attract customers. So what they're doing is offloading functionality to certified partners and that's a smart move for them, but it's another expense for customers. If you want a public-facing website, there'll be plenty of third-party competitors that can put out great products, but they're going to cost.

There are already rumblings about SharePoint 2016 being the last on-premises version, but it won't be as easy as sketching things out on a roadmap and talking about how rosy life will be when some functionality goes over to the certified partners. SharePoint on-premises is a very mature product. The database technology they're using in the cloud isn't nearly as mature. That could be a problem they've got to get worked out soon, and we will most likely have SharePoint on-premises available until they do.

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