Benefits and Challenges: The ultimate guide to SharePoint Online
By Joyeeta Mookherje
28th August, 2020
Modern business users want tools that make them productive and engaged. Office365 is considered to be one such tool which is constantly evolving and moving towards Microsoft’s vision of the one-stop online-productivity hub. Microsoft SharePoint in Office 365 has now practically shaped the way organizations collaborate within their establishments. More than 75%* of Fortune 500 companies and over 100 million people across the globe now use SharePoint.
Earlier SharePoint was launched as an application for document management. But slowly, it evolved into document management and records management alongside web content and portals, thus turning into a robust collaboration and content management platform. With just a web browser, organizations could store, organize and share information accessible from any device.
Unlike the on-premises version, SharePoint Online is a Microsoft managed cloud solution that can be used for creating intranet and websites for public use. The biggest question that arises is why should businesses migrate to SharePoint Online? Not everyone is comfortable with this migration from SharePoint On-Premises to SharePoint Online, but the long-term rewards are endless.
A few reasons why businesses should migrate to SharePoint Online are:
99.9% Guaranteed Uptime
This frees up the user to focus on the company’s performance instead of worrying about whether the services are reliable or not. With an outstanding support team, SharePoint online remains available around the clock for 365 days in a year.
Zero Server Footprint
SharePoint On-Premise required in-house teams for maintenance and technical support whereas all technical assistance for back-end processes in SharePoint Online is handled by the Microsoft Team. This means that all underlying hardware and platform problems, as well as, server upgrades and patches are covered by Microsoft. This is a major advantage as it becomes cost effective.
Enterprise Security Solutions
As SharePoint Online is managed by Microsoft, all users get enterprise-level security features to protect their confidential and sensitive data critical to their business. The data is stored in Microsoft’s data centers distributed around the globe and has 5 layers of Security, Proactive Monitoring and Operations Access Restriction, thus making it highly secure from the outside world.
External User Access Management
Managing security issues while allowing users to access SharePoint On-Premises is one of the major challenges in the legacy system. SharePoint Online simplified this process and made file sharing using Services Management Portal easier for collaboration.
Businesses can continue to use their On-premises server while transitioning to the cloud to take advantage of SharePoint Online. This solution is perfect for businesses that are worried about compliance challenges such as data breaches if they move to the cloud model. While the most confidential business data can still be kept within the organization, others can be moved to the cloud for greater scalability.
Power Platform Ecosystem
Power platform is tightly integrated with SharePoint and provides you with the capability to create apps, automate business processes and visualize data. As Power Platform is a low code no code environment, getting started is easy but it doesnot limit you from building a full-scale mission critical solution.
The latest features, patches, and security updates are available to all SharePoint Online users as soon as Microsoft makes them available. Whereas, these features are available on SharePoint On-Premise only in the next major release, so they remain stuck with the point release model. Since new features are automatically pushed to SharePoint Online, its users get to enjoy the upgrades much earlier.
Enterprises invest a lot of money in SharePoint and concern themselves about reaping the benefits of their investment.
Based on a survey by 274 AIIM, 40%* SharePoint implementations are not successful.
A few challenges that organizations face when implementing SharePoint Online are:
User Adoption is a serious issue that many admins of SharePoint face in their organization. After deploying SharePoint, many enterprises replace file servers with document libraries, so that the indexing power of SharePoint helps in locating the documents quicker. But overloading document libraries makes the task tougher for the user to find the required information within the library.
Intranets of SharePoint are inept with static pages and interactive tools. Some admins of SharePoint spent a lot of time and energy on customizing the intranet that can match the organization’s brand and provide a better user experience (UX).
It is quite possible that files may not end up in the correct location or can get corrupted during the migration. There is no general rule to take care of this but having similar file types maintained in specific folders helps. Also, there are third-party tools available in the market that are intelligent enough to identify and migrate content based on its type.
Loss of Metadata
While migrating, all or some metadata that was defined previously might get lost. To overcome this scenario, one must clearly define an inventory of the content, before starting the migration journey, and organize it well with the content types.
After analyzing all the benefits and challenges, another question that arises is what can one do to ensure a smooth migration? Users must spend time to analyze the content, their owners, the structure, and their importance. This shortens the overall migration timeline. Not only does this remove redundant and obsolete data but also helps prepare a governance plan.
SharePoint has transformed from a simple on-premises application into a comprehensive solution for collaboration, management of records and documents, and a system for managing portals and web content. It has helped countless businesses increase their productivity. The newer versions such as SharePoint Online cannot even be compared with the legacy versions that are incompatible with modern business requirements. Needless to say, migration from SharePoint On-Premise to SharePoint Online has become a necessity for modern features.