While not a statistical measurement of the success of SharePoint hybrid deployments, the monthly #CollabTalk tweetjam can be a useful method for capturing anecdotal information from the community on various topics. On the May 29th, 2014 tweetjam, our panel of experts and other members of the community tackled the topic of hybrid SharePoint deployments, during which the questions was asked "What are the top 3 road blocks for adopting a hybrid SharePoint model?"
I am a huge fan of these open-ended questions, as they can quickly identify patterns across the shared experiences of the participants, or, as with this session, show the diversity of answers across the 70 participants. Answers included some technical guidance, but skewed heavily toward "soft skill" issues, as evidenced here by SharePoint MVP and author Robert Bogue (@robbogue), Collaboration and Cloud Practice Manager at TCSC, Adam Preston (@_apreston), and SharePoint MVP and Concatenate EVP, Eric Riz (@rizinsights):
One theme that jumped out early first appeared from GTconsult co-founder and principal, Bradley Geldenhuys (@bradgcoza), and was quickly followed by SharePoint MVP's Asif Rehmani (@asifrehmani) and Dan Holme (@danholme):
As identified by Office365 MVP and program manager at BitTitan, Jethro Seghers (@jseghers) and SharePoint MVP and architect with Spenta, Edin Kapic (@ekapic), the biggest difficulty in moving forward with a hybrid strategy comes from a lack of purpose and executive sponsorship, not limitations of the technology.
For some organizations, that might mean an arbitrary push toward cloud without an understanding of the costs (and benefits) of change, and the effort required for existing environments. For others, the argument is the same -- but with a different conclusion, with some managers holding onto old systems and infrastructure that may be outdated and cost more to maintain that a move to the cloud in its entirety. The hard part for almost every company will be to ask the tough questions, and develop a strategy with all technical and business constraints taken into consideration.
Matt Varney (@thevarnish), intranet manager at KCTCS, and Adam Preston provided a great synopsis of the barriers to deploying hybrid SharePoint environments -- with Matt using Microsoft's own language:
Of course, the road blocks with SharePoint -- like any other enterprise software -- have always been about the people issues. Whether deploying a hybrid SharePoint solution, building out a first-time intranet using out-of-the-box features, or constructing a team-based project management solution using SharePoint Online, success has more to do with understanding and aligning to your people that about the technology.
In the 6th article in this series, the tweetjam participants will share their thoughts on the features and solutions Microsoft should develop/support to improve hybrid deployments.