The English philosopher Alan Watts once said “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance”.
A recent #CollabTalk topic was that of the changing role of SharePoint IT…as the cloud becomes mainstream, this conversation will inevitably thrive as a broader topic that transcends SharePoint.
And while change may be to exist, opportunity continues to rise – the cloud has given way to capabilities previous impossible behind the firewall, from predictive analytics to machine learning, to infinite storage, and on-demand access to content and conversations.
For IT, the cloud is oft perceived as a disruptive force as it’s enabled both business and individuals to secure technology on their own, ushering in the BYOD era – and while disruption can be real or perceived, there’s opportunity for IT to become an enabler. Though the pressures exist that ask IT to do more, to drive business process, reduce cost, advance innovation, and deliver new, compelling user experiences… the cloud uniquely positions IT to meet those demands.
The role of IT has largely been based on a reactive relationship to the environments which they support, the opportunity in this transition to the cloud enables IT to become a proactive force, a value added service broker.
When we launched SharePoint Server 2013 in October of 2012 we had a vision of which the cloud and on-premises would converge – through parity and through unique technology investments that differentiate SharePoint from other collaborative platforms, hybrid is representative of those early investments. As we moved through 2013 we delivered a number of cumulative updates and introduced new ways to consume SharePoint, namely in Windows Azure. Finally in early 2014 just prior to the 2014 SharePoint Conference we shipped Service Pack 1. Throughout the lifecycle of SharePoint, we’ve continued to explore ways we can support IT through this transition, to enabling OneDrive for Business in Office 365 and Yammer for SharePoint on-premises, to improving the hybrid experience.
SharePoint on-premises provides a valuable experience that is defined by the sum of its parts whereas in the cloud, SharePoint isn’t delivered as much as a platform, but through its unique capabilities. On-premises search experiences are defined by the OOTB search service, in the cloud by Office Delve, social is defined by the Newsfeed, in the cloud, by Yammer, collaboration and mobility is defined in Team Sites, Device Channels, etc., in the cloud, by OneDrive for Business…
So has IT changed? Absolutely, but for the better…with new opportunities IT becomes an extension of the business, driving and delivering strategy and pulling together experiences within and beyond the firewall.
Succeeding with the cloud is understanding where it can add value to existing capabilities such as enabling mobility and anytime, anywhere access while working with familiar IT controls, or extending your datacenter with Microsoft Azure, extending your platform with SharePoint in Microsoft Azure, and extending your workloads with Office 365.
As Albert Einstein said “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value”.
Learn more at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj838715(v=office.15).aspx. These resources provide a roadmap for exploring, planning, installing, and configuring SharePoint Server 2013 and SharePoint Online hybrid environments.