In the #CollabTalk tweetjam held May 29th, 2014 (check out http://twubs.com/collabtalk/), our panel of experts and members of the community shared their experiences and advice surrounding what it takes to get SharePoint hybrid deployments right. You can find a tweet-by-tweet summary on Storify.
As covered in the first article in this series, the first question asked was "As companies transition toward the cloud, how important will hybrid become?" The intent was to get some general statements about the rising interest in hybrid SharePoint environments as a way for companies to make the transition toward the cloud.
Building on these responses, I then asked the panel “What are the most common hybrid SharePoint scenarios?” to which SharePoint MVP and ITUnity co-founder Dan Holme (@danholme) responded:
At the 2013 Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft provided some data around the success of Office 365. While it has become the fastest growing product in company history, the company acknowledged that 90% of current Office365 usage is focused on Exchange, not SharePoint. Cloud-based email is mature, and just makes sense for the preponderance of organizations. SharePoint, however, is a much more complex beast, and for those who have built out any degree of complexity within their on premises environments (publishing sites, advanced configurations, line of business (LOB) application integrations, third-party solutions) will find it difficult to simply unplug and move to the cloud. Which is not to say that SharePoint usage in Office 365 is not on the rise -- just as SharePoint's popularity grew due to the low (no) cost of WSS and Foundation, organizations who flock to Office 365 for email and Lync capabilities but who do not have legacy SharePoint environments are quickly adopting the collaboration platform.
Many of the participants talked about various scenarios where social becomes the first foray into the cloud. SharePoint MVP and consultant at Rackspace, Laura Rogers (@wonderlaura) shared some of her experiences, while SharePoint MVP and Principal Architect at Summit 7 Systems, Ben Curry (@curryben), provided caution on approaching hybrid through a social lens:
I expected to get a lot of overlap in the responses from participants, but actually, the feedback on how to approach hybrid was fairly diverse (which is why I encourage everyone to read through the detailed summary on Storify). Here's a sampling of responses from SharePoint MVP and consultant, Alistair Pugin (@alistairpugin), ManyWorlds CTO and social expert, Naomi Moneypenny (@nmoneypenny), and Slalom Consulting’s SharePoint Practice Lead in Chicago, Rob Toro (@SharePointToro):
As Office 365 MVP Jethro Seghers (@jseghers) provided an excellent summary, pointing the topic (as you always should) back to alignment with your business needs:
As usually happens with this tweetjam format, some of the conversation strayed into topics to be covered later in the hour. Mentioning a topic near and dear to my heart (and the topic of many recent articles), GTconsult co-founder and director Brad Geldenhuys (@bradgcoza) called out the need for strong change management to manage between your two disparate systems – on prem and cloud, with many administrative capabilities missing or different in the cloud:
Brad provided a great segue into our third question: "How much of hybrid SharePoint is platform versus services?" which is to say, how much is about the technology, and how much is about the elbow grease needed to deploy and manage it? Depending on the solutions deployed in the cloud, and the complexity of integration/alignment with your on premises components, change management becomes essential to success.
More on that in the next article in the series...