As the digital landscape evolves, more enterprises are exploring the possibilities of using cloud-based platforms like Microsoft SharePoint Online. While this option perfectly fits some enterprises, others remain loyal to their SharePoint on-premises solution. Yet, there is another alternative.
What is hybrid?
Creating a SharePoint hybrid environment involves using SharePoint on-premises, hosted by your own company’s servers, in conjunction with SharePoint Online, hosted through Microsoft Office 365. A hybrid environment can provide the best of both platforms while helping end users connect to needed resources, no matter where that information “lives”. Before leaping into a hybrid SharePoint environment, it is crucial to understand the capabilities and limitations of a hybrid solution – especially in how it may impact your business and end users.
Is switching to a SharePoint hybrid solution right for you? Consider these factors before you invest the time, energy and resources:
1. Understand your business’ needs
The first point to ponder is how deploying a SharePoint hybrid environment will impact your organization. For example, some enterprises operate in a fully customized SharePoint on-premises environment. If this is the case for your business, to what degree do your users rely on this platform? How will a hybrid solution impact other business systems in use? There are features and tools SharePoint on-premises offers that SharePoint Online doesn’t and vice versa. Have an idea of what tools and features your organization and users consider essential.
Address your organization’s governance policies as storing certain types of content in a hybrid environment can lead to legal and security issues.
2. Know the impact to the budget
A hybrid solution isn’t a “one and done” deal. You’ve got to not only factor in the cost of deployment but also maintenance. What also must be addressed is that you’ll take on the costs of using two different platforms — including licensing, hardware, etc. Costs can skyrocket if the move calls for more a far more complex infrastructure to be put into place.
While moving to the Cloud can be the less expensive alternative at times, is it possible your organization has invested quite a bit of money and time into developing an on-premises solution that would need to be redesigned or won’t work for the Cloud.
Don’t forget to include the cost of training users and possible employment of a third party’s expertise.
3. Assess your technology
Does your organization have the hardware and software required for a hybrid scenario? Can your enterprise meet requirements for a SharePoint hybrid environment? Currently, you can only use
4. Discern your content destination
Organizations that must adhere to certain regulatory or compliance obligations can’t store sensitive information in the Cloud for legal reasons — which drives fear of adoption. To maintain compliance, keep confidential information on-premises.
Differentiate what information can be kept in the Cloud and what has to stay on-premises. Many organizations choose to gradually migrate data to the Cloud or set up new processes that don’t fall prey to restrictions.
5. Gauge comfort levels
One of the biggest challenges in implementing new technology is user adoption. Are users enthused by this possibility? Will your stakeholders feel comfortable in this new environment? Do you know how to ensure SharePoint user adoption? Will your user base be able to search in one place to find all of the information they need? Or will they grumble if they need to look for information in multiple systems?
6. Speaking of searching for content…
Findability is one of the most controversial and difficult aspects of utilizing a SharePoint hybrid scenario. There’s a great deal to understand when it comes to determining where information should live and how to find it. Fortunately, you can watch a recorded webinar regarding hybrid search to help you make the best decision for your organization.
There is no right or wrong answer. The final decision — be it SharePoint Online Office 365, SharePoint On-Premises or a hybrid, depends upon your company’s and end users’ unique needs.