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October 25, 2017

SharePoint Solutions with Microsoft 365

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Microsoft 365 represents an excellent opportunity for your organization to upgrade its information sharing and distribution workflow.

Legacy SharePoint solutions are effective, but on-premise installations are limited by several factors:

  • The need for proactive maintenance
  • IT Staffing/Tech support
  • Security updates
  • Eventual end of Microsoft support and a need     to upgrade versions
  • Local computation and storage limitations
  • Difficulty     building meaningful analyses for business insights

Microsoft 365 offers a way to break away from these specific limitations of on-premise SharePoint, enabling your business to focus on growth instead of worrying about scalability.

Maintaining SharePoint Solutions

Working with Microsoft 365 allows your organization to forget about SharePoint system maintenance.

Working in the 365 cloud environment gives you full access to the latest SharePoint features. The system is reverse-compatible, meaning your legacy SharePoint solutions of any age can migrate seamlessly.

With just one well-executed migration, you'll have access to all of your working legacy SharePoint solutions. Integrating them into the 365 cloud service brings additional benefits:

  • Remote access to your solutions (including     remote offices and mobile devices)
  • Microsoft-provided IT services
  • Seamless solution migration through software     updates
  • Consistently up-to-date security features
  • Scalable storage and deployment

One of the most difficult aspects of migrating your workflow into a cloud solution is finding a way to do so without disrupting your workflow. Microsoft 365 enables you to make the switch with minimal disruption by fully supporting your legacy SharePoint solutions.

"Modern" SharePoint Experiences

Microsoft recently introduced the "modern" end-user experiences for team sites, site pages, lists and libraries to drive adoption.

The "modern" system offers a number of features and options to the SharePoint solution end-user that make the experience more effective for site creators. The "modern" site-building process is designed to be intuitive, faster, and all pages built with the new interface are automatically responsive and scale to fit any device.

The idea with the modern system is to offer a more updates set of tools and features while maintaining support for legacy SharePoint solutions. The beauty of this integration between "modern" and classic SharePoint interfaces is the ability to operate between both simultaneously on the same Microsoft 365 instance.

Microsoft enables simultaneous provisioning between classic and "modern" implementation, maximizing flexibility for your teams.

This ensures smooth solution migration and long-term support for legacy apps while enabling the benefits of an improved user experience through the "modern" SharePoint implementation for building future solutions and updating legacy solutions.


Competent Off-site Tech Support

Working with Microsoft Azure (Microsoft's Cloud Service and Computing Platform) gives you access to Microsoft's tech support.

If you currently rely on on-premise IT staff, you're familiar with the challenges of managing your applications and SharePoint solutions on local installations. In-house IT staff can be effective, but sometimes can bring problems.

A small group of individuals (or just one person) that makes up your IT staff is familiar with the workflow, applications, and SharePoint solutions that your organization relies on every day. When a technical problem arises, you rely on these people to resolve the issues. That's fine when problems occur during regular working hours, but if critical errors occur during off-hours, their lack of availability can potentially mean hours of downtime for your application or business.

Working with old legacy systems presents another problem: long-term IT employees may have an intimate knowledge of your SharePoint-powered systems, but all employees eventually retire. Losing the last IT employee who has enough "under the hood" knowledge about your on-premise SharePoint deployment can potentially bring about difficult-to-address problems.

These drawbacks to local IT staff are what make Microsoft's IT services so appealing. They offer expert knowledge with instant access to your cloud-based SharePoint deployment and can resolve problems in minutes, at any hour of the day (or night.) They work with consistent protocols, meaning that any Microsoft IT service person is equally qualified to help you when you're in need.

Perhaps best of all, the cost of using Microsoft's IT services is just a fraction of the annual cost of employing a full-time IT staff. This doesn't mean you need to let good people go - your best IT personnel often make excellent candidates for promotion.

Consistent Security Updates

Running a local instance of SharePoint means that your staff is responsible for installing updates when they are released.

It's critical that you install these updates as quickly as possible, as they resolve critical security vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, threatening parties usually learn about security vulnerabilities at the same time as Microsoft. The company can respond quickly by solving the issue, but getting that patch into your local installation before a threat to your sensitive data tries to exploit that vulnerability means you need to install updates as soon as they are released.

Often, this is not possible with an on-premise SharePoint deployment - installing a security update needs to wait until the daily work is done and the system is not in use. This is usually the minimum delay before installing security updates - it sometimes takes days.

Working with Microsoft 365's cloud service means that security updates are installed in real-time the instant they are released, with zero disruption to your work flow. You don't even need to know that they've occurred; you can just rest assured that your network is secure at all times.

Version Upgrades and Solution Migration

Local installations of SharePoint eventually lose support, requiring your business to upgrade its version of SharePoint from time to time.

This is a hassle, and migrating your SharePoint solutions to a new version can be difficult.

Additionally, each new version is an additional cost to your business. With careful planning, you can budget for these software purchases. However, a major software purchase with a low frequency can be easy to forget about and present an unexpected cost the year you need to upgrade.

Working with Microsoft 365 solves these issues. Any SharePoint solution you deploy with Microsoft 365 will migrate seamlessly with 365's continuous upgrade roll-out model. You'll never need to worry about migrating old solutions to new versions again.

This is why the Software as a Service (SaaS) model has become so popular: it removes much of the hassle of running and updating local software. It also makes budgeting much simpler by giving you an up-front annual cost to work with. That allows you to consistently and accurately budget around your software spend each year.

Scalable Computation and Storage

As your operation grows, you face limits. Your local SharePoint system and solutions will grow along with your business, and eventually you may need to upgrade the storage capacity and computation power to support your local SharePoint installation.

Microsoft 365 is imminently scalable; scaling up your SharePoint solutions only requires an  upgrade of your plan with Microsoft. That frees you and your staff up to worry about what matters: growth.

Powerful Data-Driven Insights

SharePoint with Microsoft 365 is an excellent way to convert your SharePoint activity into a machine for generating business insights.

With applied machine learning techniques, 365 provides automated analyses and predictive capabilities, allowing you to make informed, data-driven business decisions.

With the right Microsoft 365 SharePoint deployment strategy, you can equip your business to thrive. It all starts with making a plan and building solutions for tomorrow.