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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