SharePoint Online Shows Slow Growth Among Enterprises
- By Kurt Mackie
- October 24, 2013
A recent Forrester Research survey indicates that most enterprises are choosing to forgo Microsoft's cloud-based SharePoint Online service, and are instead using SharePoint Server 2010.
Roughly 15 percent of the respondents of the August 2013 survey said they were using Office 365 SharePoint Online, just 3 percentage points up from last year's survey. Those using SharePoint Server 2010 accounted for 79 percent of respondents.
The lag in online adoption has its roots in SharePoint being considered as an on-premises solution historically, but there are other concerns, according report coauthor John R. Rymer, vice president and principal analyst for application development and delivery at Forrester Research.
"Customization in the cloud is quite a bit more restricted than it is on premise," Rymer said in a phone interview. "The second issue that you do hear is that 'Well, we're just not ready to go to the cloud yet. We're concerned about security and privacy' -- that's a general concern about cloud that SharePoint Online is also subject to."
Forrester tracked SharePoint use in the enterprise by pooling the results from 158 IT decision-makers in its recent publication, "August 2013 Global SharePoint Usage Online Survey." Those results were then compared with results from an August 2012 SharePoint survey by Forrester, which had a similar number of respondents. Forrester's analysis, based on the two surveys, is contained in a report published this month, "SharePoint: Solid In The Enterprise, But Missing The Mobile Shift."
Some respondents rejected the idea of using SharePoint Online altogether. In the 2013 survey, 28 percent said that using a cloud-based SharePoint was "never a consideration." That figure is down from 38 percent saying the same thing in the 2012 survey. Almost a third (32 percent) in the 2013 survey indicated that they dropped considering SharePoint Online deployments because of "security, privacy, compliance or intellectual capital" considerations.
However, of the online service users, roughly half (46 percent) of the respondents indicated that they had "a positive experience deploying to SharePoint Online," according to the 2013 survey results.
SharePoint mostly met the needs of both IT and business management. However, business management respondents showed concerns, with 64 percent indicating that adoption of SharePoint wasn't as high in their organizations as expected. Also, 62 percent of business management respondents stated that "users don't like the SharePoint experience." Those top two business management concerns were the same as found in the 2012 survey, but the 2013 results were "10 points higher," according to Forrester's analysis.
Rymer played down the survey result indicating dislike with the SharePoint user experience, attributing it to SharePoint's new requirements and challenges.
"If adoption is poor, oftentimes it's because of something the client did, not of something Microsoft did in the product," he said. "Ultimately you have to implement Sites and solutions using SharePoint, and sometimes the clients do a bad job of that."
Respondents were mostly satisfied with the Sites and collaboration features of SharePoint. They were mostly dissatisfied with search and social features, according to the 2013 survey results.
Looking ahead, 66 percent of respondents said that they were planning to move to SharePoint Server 2013 over the next 12 months. SharePoint Online migration plans in the next 12 months were indicated by 28 percent of the respondents.
Interest in Social Lags
Microsoft bought Yammer's enterprise social networking service over a year ago and has positioned it prominently as the successor to SharePoint's native social networking capabilities. However, according to Forrester's survey, 75 percent of the respondents weren't using Yammer, with 53 percent saying that they have "no plans to adopt Yammer." Yammer is available only as a hosted service, which could preclude adoption by some organizations requiring premises-based SharePoint installations. However, Rymer said that Yammer's hosted-only aspect wasn't found as a limitation in the survey results.
"We very rarely hear that 'Yammer is cloud only,'" he said. "It's more about can we actually get value from social." He added that Forrester has been finding that organizations just don't seem to care about social networking.
Few Mobile Deployments
The survey also found that few organizations had implemented mobile solutions for SharePoint. Only 15 percent of enterprises had a mobile SharePoint solution (either custom-built or from a software vendor) in their organizations.
Rymer said that Microsoft has stressed mobile Web for SharePoint, rather than providing a mobile native experience for iPhones and Android devices. And Microsoft's partners are doing the same thing. However, he described the mobile SharePoint experience on a smartphone as being "lousy," and maybe a little bit better on a tablet.
"They [Microsoft] haven't yet provided a mobile native experience -- an experience designed for mobile for content on SharePoint that's native and suits the device," Rymer said. "One time they told us, 'We are going to provide native experiences for iPhone and Android.' Well, they seem to have backed away from that. I suspect the reason is because of Windows Phone and Windows Mobile -- but I'm sorry, those environments are not used; they are nowhere near as prevalent as Apple's environment and the various Android devices. So the support is provided on mobile Web, which is substandard."
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.