In his session titled Office
365: What is the Right Fit for You,
SharePoint Architect and Engineer Andrew Riley discusses the ins and outs of Office 365 in an attempt to help
attendees determine whether or not a move to the cloud was right for them. With 2016 being the "Year of the Cloud"
according to Gartner, it's become more important than ever to evaluate the cloud's
relevance and query whether the cloud is a viable option for your organization.
Andrew began his presentation with a user-friendly, high-level overview of Office 365 and
some of its key components and selling points, including Microsoft Office, Exchange, SharePoint,
and Lync. Of the selling points, Andrew highlighted the
fact that not only does Office 365 offer
a flavor for most everyone, it offers many standalone options that provide for
a level of flexibility when creating your cloud Office 365 solution. This
includes the ability to mix and match your plans. For example, a university can purchase a more
robust enterprise plan for their faculty and pair it with a more slimmed-down
version for their students.
After hearing Andrew's overview, are you starting to think
that Office 365 might be the right
option for you? If so, your next step is
to consider migration options. According
to Andrew, there are a number of different options available when migrating to Office 365 as well as a number of
different things to consider.
Specifically, one should take into consideration customizations,
information architecture, permissions, and content cleanup (e.g., how much of
the content on your SharePoint site is junk that doesn't need to be added to the
new site). Once you've done an inventory
of your SharePoint site and are ready to migrate, how do you plan on getting
there? As stated, there are a number of
options available such as custom coding, third-party tools, and the move to a
In the event that you aren't able to commit to an all
cloud-based SharePoint environment, one of the best ways to straddle on-premise
and the cloud is to support a hybrid
environment. One of the biggest
advantages of a hybrid environment
is that it allows you to maintain more sensitive data as well as customizations
on-prem. However, with the benefits, there
are a few challenges you may encounter.
These include no global navigation without customization and no single
sign-on. Additionally, unlike Office 365, a hybrid option is NOT
turnkey and will require some intervention from IT.
Whether you decide to opt for a hybrid environment or Office
365, most all of us have the same question: Will going to the cloud really
save me money? According to Andrew,
there's no easy answer; it really depends on your organization and
scenario. Office 365 definitely has its share of advantages including:
- Access anywhere;
- Fast, turnkey configuration;
- Always having the latest version;
- No maintenance; and
- Everything is packaged together.
Conversely, with all these advantages, there are also a
number of downsides to implementing Office
365. These include a lack of
change/patch management, as well as limited administrative system control by
in-house IT. Downsides aside, however,
the most important thing to do when considering moving to Office 365 is to do your homework.
There's a lot of research and information available out there.