Microsoft released its newest version of SharePoint the other day, one of those quaint old-fashioned, monolithic on-prem software packages that was three years in the making. Meanwhile SharePoint Online (aka Office 365 in a case of confusing branding) has been rolling along with regular updates.
Microsoft is in the unenviable position of having to support both the cloud version and the on-prem version of the same software. The last time I attended a SharePoint conference several years ago, they were just on the cusp of this transition trying to entice their reluctant customers that it was in their best interest (and Microsoft's) to move to the cloud.
This was when the $1.2 billion Yammer acquisition was still fresh and the Yammer team was infusing SharePoint with a long-missing sense of innovation and energy. They were driving faster development cycles, delivering new functionality in days or weeks instead of months or years. The cloud version would allow customers to quickly take advantage of those changes instead of waiting the three-year cycle the company remains on for the on-prem version.
The problem with these long cycles is that typically customers don't upgrade. That's because SharePoint is a tremendously complex piece of software. It's from that old-school style of software that you put in place and wrestle to get functioning while making all kinds of customizations to make it work inside your company for your unique needs and with your other legacy systems. When you finally get it right, you thank your lucky stars, and you don't do anything to change it.
Old and slow is not a success formula
That results in companies keeping old versions in place for years out of convenience. Times change, but your employees are stuck on legacy software that could be a decade or more old, all because it's too expensive and too difficult to replace it and start all over again.
This leaves companies and their employees at a tremendous disadvantage using outdated software in a time where agility and speed are becoming increasingly important. This brings us to SharePoint 2016, the latest on-prem version. Microsoft is at least transitioning customers to a hybrid bridge where some of the SharePoint pieces live in the cloud. This provides a way to get those relcutant customers comfortable with idea of using the cloud.
For now, we know there is a SharePoint 2016, although how many customers will actually upgrade isn't clear. If companies are smart, they'll start making the transition to the cloud as quickly as they can because no matter how attractive SharePoint on-prem may seem, at this point, it's really just putting lipstick on a hybrid pig.
Time to bite the bullet and move to the cloud.Microsoft