SharePoint Server vs. SharePoint Online Decision Considerations

Courtesy of Kurt Mackie

The business objective should take center stage when deciding between server and hosted SharePoint deployment options, according to a Gartner Catalyst presentation this week.

That main point was highlighted by Kyle Davis, a research director for technical professionals at Gartner Inc. He spoke at the San Diego event on Wednesday in a session titled, “How to Choose Between SharePoint Server, SharePoint Online and SharePoint on IaaS.”

Which SharePoint deployment model to use is a complex question for organizations. Gartner publishes decision frameworks, decision factors, and lists of strengths and weaknesses to help.

Davis recommended keeping a focus on the business objective with SharePoint. What that means is that an organization typically wants to have an intranet or an extranet that will get used by business users and that has some business content when deploying SharePoint, he explained.

Decision Frameworks
Gartner includes SharePoint Server in its decision frameworks as an assumption. About 70 percent of Gartner clients have SharePoint Server on premises today. Many organizations are heavily invested in SharePoint Server, Davis explained. Meanwhile, Microsoft has been putting its innovations in SharePoint Online, so that’s a consideration, too.

Previously, organizations were just faced with a SharePoint Server upgrade questions. Today it’s a more complex situation. Organizations face deployment questions such as “if, when and where,” Davis said.

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