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Reckoning Time for Office and SharePoint

This week's launch of Office 2013 has put the spotlight on Microsoft's calculated move to condition individuals to pay a yearly fee to use the suite in tandem with managing your e-mail and using SkyDrive to store content. The notion of installing Office on up to five devices (including tablets) is compelling, as contributing editor Brien Posey pointed out this week. Microsoft is betting the farm individuals and enterprises alike will pay an annual subscription like they do if they want to use all the features in an antivirus software.

Perhaps that would be a slam dunk for customers if Office was available for the iPad. But it appears Microsoft doesn't want to help boost the growth of iPads at the risk of cannibalizing Windows 8 and its Surface devices, which so far don't seem to have made a dent in the tablet market. I believe Microsoft will ultimately offer Office for the iPad --  the question is when?

The other shoe is expected to drop this month or next, when Microsoft releases the enterprise versions of Office along with SharePoint 2013. As reported in detail back in December, SharePoint 2013 will offer extensive new enterprise social networking capabilities, search, business intelligence and support for cloud deployments. It will also offer parity with the SharePoint Online edition in Office 365.

Some argue these features will compel a larger-than-normal percentage of shops to upgrade than those that typically migrate to newly released versions of SharePoint. Microsoft has released new versions of SharePoint every two to three years over the past decade. SharePoint migration partner Metalogix this week did its own survey of SharePoint customers, which found 64 percent plan to upgrade to the 2013 release.

How accurate this forecast is remains to be seen. Jignesh Shah. Metalogix chief strategy and marketing officer told me his team sat down and conducted 20-minute interviews with 100 IT decision makers attending last November's Microsoft SharePoint conference in Las Vegas.

The fact that those customers were at a SharePoint event may very well have skewed the results, but Shah countered this is a higher percentage than he has noticed in the past under similar environments. "In 2010 it was less than 50 percent [that migrated to the new SharePoint version] over a period of two years. More than 60 percent plan to upgrade [ to SharePoint 2013] in the first year," Shah said, though the earlier data point was not based on a formal survey like it conducted this past November.

What's the reason for the uptick this time around? Companies want to take advantage of the social features and support for mobile devices, according to the survey, which is consistent with what I've heard for some time, regardless of whether Metalogix findings reflect the sentiments of the overall SharePoint community.

SharePoint shops also have major content management headaches. Three years ago, Shah said its average customer had between 50 to 100 GB of data in their SharePoint farms. Now 50 percent have more than 1 TB of data in their SharePoint stores and 15 percent have 10TB, the survey found. Furthermore, the average shop has seen their SharePoint content grow 75 percent over the past year.

The findings also show 55 percent will keep SharePoint on premise, while 10 percent will go "all-in" to the cloud. The remaining 35 percent will deploy a hybrid approach running in house and using cloud services to augment their SharePoint infrastructures.

If you're running older versions of SharePoint, notably the 2003 and 2007 releases (according to Metalogix, 37 percent still have those in their SharePoint farms), you can't migrate to SharePoint 2013 directly -- you must first deploy SharePoint 2010 and then upgrade that to SharePoint 2013. If as many shops plan to upgrade to SharePoint 2013 as quickly as the survey results suggest, that would be good news for Metalogix and others that offer SharePoint migration tools including AvePoint, Idera, Quest (now part of Dell's software group), among others.

For Metalogix, it sees this as an opportunity for it and its integration partners to let organization skip the two-hop upgrade step, while ensuring organizations can undertake a migration without losing use of their existing SharePoint systems during the transition. Metalogix also promises its tools will let organizations migrate content with fidelity of existing metadata, permissions and formatting time stamps and revisions.

With the pending release of SharePoint 2013, do you plan to migrate to SharePoint 2013 in the near term and where does the cloud fit into those plans? Likewise with Office 2013 -- do you see moving to the subscription model of Microsoft's productivity suite? Feel free to comment below or drop me a line at [email protected].


Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 02/01/2013 at 1:15 PM


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