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Study Finds 'Mixed-Up Approach' to SharePoint and Office 365

The results of a recently released survey of 1,000 SharePoint and Office 365 developers provide an interesting look into the business realities that Microsoft partners must balance.

The study, titled "The State of SharePoint and Office 365 Development," was conducted by Rencore, a SharePoint and Office 365 ISV, and can be accessed here with registration. It revealed "that many organisations have a mixed up approach to SharePoint and Office 365. Microsoft's vision of a cloud-first world just has not materialised yet. In fact, organisations regularly use a broad mix of Microsoft's most recent and legacy software."

The primary objective of the research was to answer the question, "What is the real state of SharePoint and Office 365 development in 2015?"

The study's 1,000 respondents included SharePoint and Office 365 architects, developers, IT professionals and project managers. Participants represent 10 countries, with 37 percent from the United States. The 24-page survey analysis breaks down the demographics of the respondents, providing some interesting insights from the start. Stand-outs include the gender gap, with women representing only 11 percent of the respondents, and the international representation of developers under age 30, with India way out front.

Rencore's analysis of the survey results focuses on four primary findings, including:

  • Microsoft wants a "mobile-first, cloud-first" world. This is currently far from the reality.

  • SharePoint customization is still a varied discipline.

  • Governance and day-to-day management is undervalued.

  • The Office 365 and SharePoint community is thriving.

While developers are using the cloud, with 58 percent hosting infrastructure service on Azure, 39 percent of respondents report that they are still entirely on-prem. With almost half of the SharePoint deployments on-prem, the results suggest the cloud adoption cycle has a long way to go. The report states, "Microsoft's vision of a cloud centred world appears distant to many organisations, who continue to use 'legacy' platforms for a variety of reasons."

An interview with Jeremy Thake, senior product marketing manager at Microsoft, extends the commentary on customization trends for SharePoint and Office 365. Microsoft has added more options for developers and shifted the focus to add-ins, but based on the survey results, developers still rely heavily on traditional methods.

Governance, which SharePoint professionals have long known plays a huge role in adoption and usage, still is not a high priority for businesses. Respondents revealed that well-documented and rigorous control processes are still the exception rather than the rule.

The unique unity and dedication of the SharePoint community is reflected in the survey results. Only 14 percent of the respondents said they were not active in the community. Almost three-quarters of the respondents said they participate in online forums, and over 60 percent attend conferences -- which is no surprise to anyone who knows many SharePoint professionals.

The report includes an interview with Tobias Zimmergren, Microsoft MVP and Rencore's Cloud Offerings Product Owner, that provides deeper interpretation of the results. Zimmergren closes with advice for those interested in learning SharePoint and getting more involved in the community.

Rencore clearly dedicated considerable time and energy to collect and present a research-based picture of the changes affecting SharePoint and Office 365 professionals. The report provides a valuable baseline to evaluate the pace of cloud adoption over the coming years. With most customers using some form of SharePoint or Office 365, Rencore's report should be of interest to most Microsoft partners.

What trends are you seeing in your SharePoint practice? Add a comment below or send me a note and let's share your story.

Posted by Barb Levisay on February 24, 2016 at 11:07 AM