What is the future of SharePoint?

What is the future of Sharepoint

What is the future of SharePoint is a question that many end user organizations as well as independent software vendors (ISVs) are asking. I have mentioned multiple times that I work extensively within SharePoint and Office 365 ecosystem and have visibility to what people are asking for and how they see SharePoint on-premises future in their organization.  According to a online survey of 422 AIIM members (from December 2014 to January 2015),  26 percent of the organizations have stalled projects or have failed to live up to their expectations (37 percent). Most of the respondents blame the lack of senior management support for the projects. Besides the lack of support, training and planning was seen as a big factor as well in the failures.

However, what was interesting in the survey was that 75 percent of the respondents said that they are sticking to their SharePoint and committing to make it work and with a substantial number of organizations looking at Office 365 Online version to complement or replace their on-premises version. I am seeing the same thing happening across the board when talking to organizations, both system integrators as well as end user organizations.

Based on my own experience when talking to enterprises especially in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, there is still a place for on-premises version of SharePoint especially in scenarios where integration is needed to back-end systems such as ERP, HR and other enterprise content and document management systems. Based on the survey, 48 percent of the 422 AIIM members have to align their SharePoint deployments with Information Governance policies.

One of the biggest issues that most enterprises have with SharePoint is the user adoption  where end users are given a bad user experience (UX) and this has become a major sticking point for many organizations.The survey listed SharePoint as hard to use in 30 percent of the organizations that were surveyed. It is obvious that this needs to become better in respect to SharePoint deployments.

Some organizations have seen this as a business opportunity like BPA Solutions out of Switzerland with 30+ enterprise level web parts that provides a development environment or abstraction layer on top of SharePoint that enables developers to create an UX experience where the end users sometimes does not even realize he/she is using SharePoint. BPA also increases the developer productivity as each web part provides given functionality and what is needed from the developer is to configure the web part behavior.

The question that many SharePoint software vendors have is how long they should invest in SharePoint on-premises development and when to move towards Office 365 development model with best practices and patterns provided by Microsoft. There is no question in my mind that that time has become and many organizations such as BPA Solutions have worked on an Office 365 solution using supporting technologies such as Microsoft Azure.

Based on the feedback from the field (Microsoft partners and end user organizations), there will be organizations with SharePoint for many years to come, but I expect ISVs to have harder time to get larger deals and having deployments that do not support a migration strategy to Office 365 going forward. There needs to be a plan that can be presented to potential leads that want to invest in an on-premises solution. Most SharePoint ISVs provide private cloud option that smoothens the move to the cloud but most of these deployments are on-premise SharePoint run in Infrastructure- as-a-Service (IaaS) mode. It will bring the ISV to enable subscription-based business, but it does not provide the solution model that Office 365 requires.



  1. Miguel Wood on September 24, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree with your outlook on the future of SharePoint. However, I believe the majority of ISV and SI partners are still lacking on Add-in model skillsets, allowing them to continue to develop on-premises solutions, as well as support for SharePoint Online (O365 SharePoint). Microsoft and the developer community have invested HEAVILY in ensuring information (and direction) is shared. Our personal SI SharePoint practice is winning significant deals because we are well-versed and now experienced in the Add-in model. We are now to the point of common code base reusability for both SharePoint on-premises and SharePoint Online. ISV and SI developers should be starting with the Office Development PnP Guidance (https://github.com/OfficeDev), specifically concentrating on PnP Transformation, Training, and other “PnP repositories under GitHub.com/OfficeDev. Additionally, by utilizing the PnP scenarios and samples, our developers expand their skillsets into other Cloud and application development areas.

    Just my $0.02. 😉

  2. DrSalonen on September 25, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Hi Miguel,
    Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts! I am working with an exciting SharePoint ISV http://www.bpa-solutions.net and have got nice enterprise deals with our quality and risk management solution that is built on top of SharePoint using enterprise grade web parts that enables any organizations to build any type of business solution on top of SharePoint. The development team has worked the past 2 years on getting its Office 365 release and soon the teams will have a release that supports Office 365. It has not been an easy ride…. as BPA is now also using Microsoft Azure as one of the core components in the Office 365 delivery which is the way organizations are moving towards of having some of the logic reside in Microsoft Azure. When talking to organizations at large, there is a definite desire to move towards the Office 365 environment but each organization has to evaluate what that means from a deployment perspective, what back-end integration’s needs to happen etc. I also see a lot of confusion among people that a cloud should be as easy as consumer phone app… just download and start to use… The world is not that simple yet…

    By the way, thanks for the good event at DFW SharePoint & Office 365 User Group last week!

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