Does SharePoint 2010 have a place in the cloud?

Microsoft’s SharePoint offering -- SharePoint Online -- has several advantages, including a quick and easy startup and great flexibility -- but who is best suited to deploy it? 

In this video, Senior SharePoint Evangelist for Allin Consulting, Richard Harbridge looks at the two business case scenarios for moving SharePoint to the cloud and explains how it stands up to the on-premise model.

Read the full transcript from this video below:  

Does SharePoint 2010 have a place in the cloud?

Richard Harbridge: Let's talk about what are the business drivers and
why would you go to the cloud? Why would you use software as a
service, or BPAS, or Microsoft chip went online, instead of an
on premises solution? There's dedicated and then there's standard online.
We have two options right now, to date, whatever today's date is. Of course,
that will change in the coming months. What we have is basically
two business cases that I can see for the cloud. The first one is size.
SharePoint is a very big platform. To take it on premises is a lot of work,
it's a lot of staffing requirements. It's a huge ramp up speed.
There are a lot of different factors that have an impact on whether
you want to use SharePoint internally.

In the cloud, a lot of those are mitigated. We don't get the same
feature sets. I can go feature by feature and say, "Standard. Not
dedicated, but standard." We know we don't get a lot of the BIP
features dedicated, even then. We don't get email integration on this,
so on and so forth, but really it's not the feature parodies that stop people
from going most of the time, in my opinion, to online. It's just that it
makes more sense for them to ramp that up internally and have
the staff internally use it for an interface to internal components as
well as external. The online scenario makes more sense
when I'm a small business. Microsoft said, "We're not really getting those
guys that are realistically under 300 people in companies.

Wouldn't it be great if we could give them a quick dirty, easy solution for
SharePoint?" That's what the cloud is, or SharePoint Online is. They're
basically saying, "Here, go in. Create your site. It's great for communication
collaboration, all your basic needs and you've got it." It takes very little time
to ramp up. You can manage it well, and from a scale perspective, you're
fine because once you grow to a certain size, you're probably going to go
to either a dedicated model, or you're going to go to on premises.

The other scenario, which, I think, is a little more common, is a lot of
those other organizations that are large, they might not want to take
on the ownership of having to maintain and manage a SharePoint
implementation just for managing relationships, say, with a partner,
so, you can have a anonymous access. We're not talking about
websites in any of the online offerings, but certainly you can have
the idea of, "Let's spin up through a subscription, a site where you and
I can work together in the site and we can pass documents, materials
back and forth, just like an Extranet, but it has a lifetime." When we're
finished, our engagement, when we've finished our contract, we don't have
to keep records for a couple of years for whatever reason. We say, "We
just need to have this for helping us work better together as two mutual
companies, or contractors, or whatever we happen to be. When we finish
that, let's close it down, or keep one user. Reduce the cost drastically
just leave the information up there, or just close it when we're done."

The advantage there is we haven't wasted our internal resources ramping
that up. We don't have to waste our time training our users, maintaining that.
It's almost like the same reason you go from a Capex to an Opex model,
operating expenditure from capital expenditure. That's why we're going to
online. It's the same idea of ownership. I just don't need to own it. If it's out
there, all I need to do is own my information that I'm putting in there and
own the relationship, but I don't have to necessarily own the management
of this 99% up time and all these other things for this environment. I think
that makes it a lot easier.

I'd say that's probably the advantage. The drawbacks are if you start to
get into customizations, it's brutal. You can't really do any of that on the
cloud, even with a dedicated model. The price starts going up, obviously,
once you start to do up customizations. Some other scenarios where it
becomes a little bit trickier is, let's take that same one where you and I are
working together and we're building this environment just as a one off
scenario, or for a deal or something that we're working on. When we do that,
the issue with the scenario, if we need records retention and other things, it
becomes a little bit more complicated because, if this was internal, we could
take those records, we could transition them, we could have workflows, we
could customize it however we need. We could do all sorts of stuff.

Here, really you're a little more limited. It's constantly juggling. I do
think from a numbers perspective, I don't think it's as strong as the on
premises model and that's because people are used to on premises.
They're used to those services, and to be quite honest, it's a disadvantage
and an advantage for a business unit, say, I was marketing, or somebody
else to be able to ramp up these software as a service solutions quickly,
get their work done. That's awesome because it empowers the business,
but at the same time, it creates another silo of information that IT has to
come and understand and bring into the fold somehow. There are a lot of
extra costs that are associated with that, that start happening again.

If you're coming from IT's perspective, it's not necessarily good. Sometimes,
it's good because, like I said, for those one off scenarios we don't have to
worry about it. We've got enough. Our heads are already covered. Then the
other scenario is it becomes, obviously, a lot trickier because now we've
got online here, we've got another one online here. We've got a dedicated
one here, we've got on premises here and a DMZ zone here, as well as on
premises for our other Extranet stuff. It becomes a nightmare to manage
all of those things.

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