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Navigating the Office 365 and SharePoint hybrid roadmap


Enterprises are increasingly looking to the cloud for collaboration and content management tools, and for Microsoft shops that likely entails finding some balance between Office 365 and SharePoint. The two products can fill similar niches for collaboration and content management within the enterprise -- and that overlap can create opportunity; challenges; and, potentially, confusion for Microsoft shops. In many ways, it's a discussion about old versus new, cloud versus on premises.

On the one hand, SharePoint is Microsoft's venerable collaboration and document management platform, with a wide range of mature capabilities and strong market share. But SharePoint has also traditionally been dogged by adoption and usability woes, with limited mobile support.

Office 365 is Microsoft's suite of cloud-based collaboration and content management services. In addition to providing cloud-based versions of longtime Microsoft staples such as Exchange and SharePoint, it comes with a cloud file sharing and storage service. It has also become a testing ground for new lightweight, user-friendly collaboration and business intelligence features, as Redmond pursues a cloud-first approach to development.

Balanced against that consideration, however, is the fact that most SharePoint users remain on premises, with costly deployments that they're either unwilling or unable to mothball in favor of the cloud.

The need to balance Office 365 and SharePoint considerations has seen Microsoft put the focus on improving its hybrid scenario, where Office 365 tools can be used to enhance and augment SharePoint functionality. But combining cloud and on-premises technology comes with new challenges for migration, configuration and licensing. 

This guide examines the dynamics between Office 365 and SharePoint, starting with how the two product roadmaps intersect. Hybrid SharePoint is another major focus, with tips for migrating to the cloud and attaining the best possible configuration. Finally, we take a closer look at new Office 365 features, both in terms of functionality and how these capabilities might catch on within the enterprise.

1The Office 365 roadmap-

Road to the cloud

The cloud and Office 365 are clearly the priority for Microsoft, but most SharePoint customers remain on premises. This section examines how Microsoft is balancing the needs of Office 365 and SharePoint customers and the role hybrid could play in providing some common ground between the two technologies.


Office 365 features promote hybrid SharePoint deployments

Microsoft is walking a fine line with SharePoint and Office 365, pledging renewed commitment to on-premises users while rolling out new cloud-based features. Continue Reading


What Office 365 means for the SharePoint roadmap

Office 365 is deconstructing traditional SharePoint functionality and recasting it into a collection of cloud services. Continue Reading


Identifying potholes in the Office 365 roadmap

Office 365 provides new options for lightweight collaboration, but some features aren't ready for prime time yet. Continue Reading


The future of SharePoint is SharePoint Online

In a reversal from Microsoft's previous modus operandi, it will now focus its feature customization on its cloud-based version of SharePoint, not its on-premises version. Continue Reading

2Office 365 features -

What's new in the cloud?

Office 365 has become a testing ground for new collaboration and content management features, which often can integrate with other Microsoft products, but are available exclusively through the cloud. Microsoft Delve, Office 365 Groups and OneDrive have the potential to help companies rethink how they work -- but are workers and enterprises likely to embrace that change? We take a closer look with the articles and tips in this section.


Getting a handle on the Office 365 toolkit

From Delve to Sway to Yammer and Power BI, Office 365 features a wide array of enterprise productivity tools. Users need clarification on the daunting set of features. Continue Reading


Delve could drive demand for Office 365 subscriptions

Search-and-discovery tool Delve is being touted as a hot new interface for SharePoint -- but will enterprises embrace the new user experience? Continue Reading


Will Delve fulfill its potential as a virtual personal assistant?

Rolled out with some fanfare in 2015, Microsoft Delve has yet to make good on its vision. What is holding Delve back, and can Redmond turn the tide here? Continue Reading


Office 365 provides options for lightweight collaboration

Office 365 Groups makes it easier for teams to collaborate and share documents. But if you're not in the cloud, you can't use it. Continue Reading


OneDrive can power next-generation email collaboration

Microsoft is looking to combine the popularity of email collaboration with the controls of ECM file sharing by integrating OneDrive for Business with Outlook. Continue Reading

3Office 365 hybrid -

Migrating to the cloud

Office 365 services can augment SharePoint's on-premises functionality, but going hybrid can also create new challenges for migration, enterprise search and licensing. Get insights into navigating those challenges in this section.


SharePoint hybrid creates licensing and adoption challenges

Microsoft is using new features to promote cloud migration, but Office 365 can create licensing and adoption challenges for SharePoint on-premises users. Continue Reading


Balancing SharePoint licenses and Office 365 subscriptions

A hybrid SharePoint deployment requires a mix of SharePoint licenses and Office 365 subscriptions. Continue Reading


SharePoint hybrid search function gets a boost

Enterprise search has been a pain point for SharePoint hybrid, but a new feature may fix that. Continue Reading


Experiences vary with SharePoint Online

Some users are wildly enthusiastic about SharePoint Online, while others are more than a touch reticent about it. Whither the gap? Continue Reading


Is SharePoint Online the best fit for your company?

SharePoint Online can reduce costs and ease management headaches, but not without tradeoffs. Continue Reading


Office 365 import service can simplify data migration

Migrating on-premises content to the cloud can be time-consuming and painful. Microsoft is looking to expedite that process with its new Office 365 Import Service. Continue Reading


Tips for configuring SharePoint 2013 hybrid search

Configuring hybrid search for SharePoint Online and SharePoint 2013 isn't quick or easy, but an eight-step process can get the job done. Continue Reading

4The future of SharePoint-

Office 365 and SharePoint

Microsoft is taking a cloud-first approach with new products and features, but where does that leave SharePoint on-premises users? Improving hybrid experience is expected to be a major focus for SharePoint 2016, but will on-premises users take a back seat to the cloud? Explore those questions and more in this section.


SharePoint 2016 preview adds security and hybrid features

SharePoint 2016 will bring a hybrid App Launcher and data loss prevention tools on premises, but the overall experience is very familiar to Office 365. Continue Reading


Improving the mobile experience for SharePoint

Microsoft is making good on a mobile SharePoint experience, but users still need to choose a path to get there. Continue Reading


OneDrive and SharePoint fill difference roles within the enterprise

OneDrive for Business is targeting enterprise cloud file-sharing turf, while leaving more structured collaboration to SharePoint. Continue Reading

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