SharePoint Review

Will Office 365 change the SharePoint vendors focus?

Office 365 is a comprehensive platform that delivers main pillars like email, calendar, collaboration (including search, document management...etc.), unified communications and social.

Microsoft keeps adding to this platform like Project Online and PowerBI.

Office 365 is not an isolated platform, it works in tandem with Microsoft Azure to extend its services through Azure websites, Active Directory, and more to come.

The platform is fully managed by Microsoft and supported Microsoft SLA.

Having that said, how this will affect the existing SharePoint ecosystem and Microsoft partners specifically?

I would categorise existing Microsoft partners into:

  1. Boutique services: they deliver software services in the shape of custom developed solutions on top of SharePoint and consultancy services.
  2. Products companies: they develop ready-made products that utilise or serve SharePoint as a platform. For example workflow products, governance management, administration, back and restore, custom web parts, custom HR solution, ideas management...etc. You can check a lot of these products on
  3. Hosting and platform management companies: they provide managed services to clients who want to outsource the hosting of their own SharePoint platform.

Let's see how each category will be affected:

Boutique services are the least affected in these categories. However, they should adapt and understand the change and the vision. Microsoft is pushing all the custom development to be outside SharePoint in the form of apps hosted on Azure websites or develop custom applications (websites, windows apps, mobile apps...etc.) that utilise SharePoint as backend; the applications will connect to SharePoint (or Office 365) using the new Office 365 APIs.

Products companies will need to reassess their strategy, review their market segments and how their clients are flexible to the new changes. There are clients slower to change or may be rejects the cloud concept.

In my opinion, the companies focusing on the platform management like upgrade and migration, back and restore, administration are hurt by the new move. In Office 365 there is no new versions that need upgrade or new farm that requires content migration. These companies needs to repurpose their products, move up in the technology stack (rather than focusing on the platform move up to the application).

The companies building ready web parts or solutions on top of SharePoint, they will need to re-architect their solutions and keep a close relation with Microsoft to stay to top of any upcoming platform changes.

Hosting companies are the most affected category. Simply they are going to lose all of the clients who are going to move to the cloud. It is not only about SharePoint; most of the clients move the email and unified communication workloads first then SharePoint follows.

Cloud strategy is an important item on all the CIOs agenda; either in the short term or long term. That's why all IT professional service firms need to re-innovate their offerings, focus on maximising the business value for their clients and divert the focus from IT only solutions

Glad to hear views and comments

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Microsoft partner
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author avatarit_user265281 (Network Manager / Senior Network Engineer at Warnock, Tanner & Associates)
Real User

Well said. I currently work for an employer whom struggles with change and the adaptation of where technology is leading us. Over the past several years I have heard the phrase "show me how we will make money with cloud solutions".

This isn't the right answer but I cant help but to think "tell me how we are going to stay in business if we don't provide cloud solutions"

Lucky for me I have a CIO who sees clearly and understands that we need to rethink what we do for a living and stay ahead of the curve of technology. There is no money if fixing dot matrix printers people.

author avatarAimee White
ExpertTop 5Real User

I've worked a lot in the charity sector and they have held onto the Finance Director as Head of IT (or at least controlling the IT purse strings) business method. This can make the cloud conversation hinge entirely on money, and working out a TCO can be complex if you haven't had to do it before; I liken it to comparing apples to tomatoes. Both fruits but I'm not going to have a spicy beef pizza with a base covered in apple purree.
Aaeon, you have highlighted, what I feel, is a very important point - if the competition is able to scale up and down (one of the better things cloud services can bring) then how do we put a price on someone else getting the jump on us if we are an event provider or if we want to have a website full of video content that streams worldwide? What happens if there is a disaster and our charity can't deal with people offering help and hitting the website?

author avatarBalasubramanian.C Pmp®,IT Il®,Prince2®,Co BI T®5
Real User

I Believe Office 365 will be the future of MS Office and SharePoint will be bundled inside it.