Should I buy or rent my SharePoint environment
Continuing our series on the changes that have taken place across the SharePoint platform in the last ten years, today we look at some of the important questions you need to ask of your SharePoint strategy.
Our question today is; should you buy your SharePoint environment outright, or instead rent out your access to the tool? Each approach has its own appeal, and your eventual choice will depend on your specific situation. We know both the challenges companies face when making this decision and the opportunities a new approach can bring. Let’s take a look at which approach is best for you.
First, a bit of background
Online, subscription-based IT services are increasingly the popular choice for businesses; from small start-ups to more established enterprise companies who previously would have invested heavily in on-premises IT services. One of the major reasons for this shift has been the IT industry’s move towards consistent, rolling updates rather than the bi-yearly releases of the past. Call it a rolling-release or continuous deployment; the idea is to provide numerous, regular updates and patches to users as they are generated. The argument for and against has existed for a long time, broken down into this comparison:
Do you want the very latest, newest improvements with potentially some glitches yet to be ironed out? Or the more consistent, ‘final’ version of the software/solution/platform?
This has up until recently been a legitimate question that businesses were required to consider. However, with Microsoft’s mobile-first, cloud-first ethos, this question is becoming ever more redundant. Essentially, the latest updates for Microsoft’s platforms and solutions are better and more consistently delivered without glitches or bugs, and it’s set to continue in this vein. The more comfortable we all get in the cloud, the more accepted and expected it will be for our tools and solutions to be updated on a rolling basis.
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SharePoint Online versus SharePoint on-premises
Perhaps the best example of this move towards subscription-based services is Microsoft’s SharePoint. A traditionally on-premises titan, Microsoft is now developing the platform with a foundation in the cloud. There will, of course, be new versions of SharePoint Server available (to accommodate those organisations still wanting an on-premises option), but the future, it seems, is in the cloud. Microsoft offers various monthly subscription prices that are dependent on the type of enterprise package that a customer chooses, and in our post today, we’ll discuss the cost-effectiveness of a subscription-based SharePoint iteration in the cloud (complete with rolling updates) versus a solely on-premises version.
The opportunity to change
If you didn’t know it already, SharePoint 2007 goes out of support by October, 2017. So if your business is one of the many that still uses this iteration, now is the time to begin thinking about what you want to do next. For many that means asking the following: should you continue to use SharePoint on-premises or should you make the leap to the cloud?
There are good reasons on both sides of the debate. A lot of companies who currently use on-premises are heavily invested in their IT infrastructure. You are likely to have a team dedicated to maintaining the SharePoint farm and the various servers, providing updates and patches. The good news for on-premises users is that downtime for updates has been largely removed.
Of course, the online iteration of SharePoint 2016 is updated automatically by Microsoft, removing downtime entirely as well as taking infrastructure costs out of the equation. Indeed, one of the big selling points of Office 365 is the financially-backed SLA of 99.9% uptime – organisations who don’t receive this level of service are eligible for refunds, in the form of service credits.
The opportunity to save
When we talk about on-premises versus online in any instance, one of the big talking points is the difference in resources needed for both. On-premises solutions require an entire backroom infrastructure, hardware, physical space and skilled personnel. Conversely, an online iteration, in the case of SharePoint, requires none of these physical entities (people, hardware, space) but rather monthly or annual subscriptions, and therefore significant savings can be made.
The change from on-premises to online is actually a change from capital expenditure (CAPEX) to operating expenses (OPEX). This is a noteworthy change to take into consideration – and one of the major reasons why smaller companies are able to run their businesses on a fraction of a larger organisation’s budget and yet still remain competitive.
On this point alone there are big savings to be made: for between £3.10-£6.20 per user per month you could set your company up with the very latest iteration of the SharePoint platform and all it entails. For £14.70 per user per month you can do the same and also get the very latest tools from Office 365 as well.
So what if you’re already heavily invested in an on-premises iteration? It’s a legitimate question for a lot of organisations out there, and that’s where hybrid comes into play. With hybrid, you can leverage all the best things about SharePoint in the cloud with Office 365, while consolidating (financially or for compliance reasons) what you’ve already committed to structurally. So, if you like the sound of SharePoint Online, but have a lot invested in on-premises, hybrid might be a great option for you. The latest release of SharePoint Server 2016 has seen Microsoft put in a great deal of effort into the hybrid functionalities of the platform.
That’s not all
So far in this series we have covered a number of features that are offered by the newer versions of SharePoint. What’s more, by migrating to SharePoint in the cloud you can get all the benefits of these features at a cheaper price than you are currently spending.
If you’re still unsure of your SharePoint future, or if you want to find out more about how a migration might be a great fit for your business, sign up for our webinar “Steps to completing a successful SharePoint migration“.
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About our guest author
Partner Solutions Engineer | Metalogix
Chris Thorpe is the partner solutions engineer at Metalogix, who are experts in providing specialist solutions for SharePoint migrations. With a plethora of experience in demonstrating solutions and training clients, mapping out a successful migration is Chris’s bread and butter.
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