Transcript of "Microsoft SharePoint at a Crossroad — Biggest Opportunities and Challenges for Users to Advance Their Productivity"
Microsoft SharePoint at a Crossroad — Biggest
Opportunities and Challenges for Users to Advance Their
Transcript of a BrieﬁngsDirect podcast on how the rapid adoption of cloud and mobile are
driving new challenges for Microsoft SharePoint users.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Sponsor: harmon.ie
Dana Gardner: Welcome to a panel discussion on how one of the most broadly deployed
collaboration platforms, Microsoft SharePoint, is rapidly evolving from its local portal roots into
the cloud and mobile era.
Delivering information as an actionable asset in a widely collaborative and
increasingly mobile environment has clearly become a top priority. Business
architects need the agility enabled by such unshackled information sharing and
contextual collaboration to keep pace with distributed services and a
boundaryless enterprise approach to business.
It's why IT leaders worldwide recognize that they must better manage
knowledge, share information more safely, and yet rapidly and securely enable
mobility among workers and their activity.
We’ll now hear from a group of recently selected top SharePoint inﬂuencers about where they
think Microsoft SharePoint is headed, along with newer services like Ofﬁce 365, and learn how
companies can best exploit and extend that value.
I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your moderator for this sponsored
journey into how enterprise collaboration and document management are being transformed by
new cloud and mobile requirements.
So, please join me in welcoming our panel. We’re here with Christian Buckley, Director and
Chief Evangelist at Metalogix Software in Redmond, Washington. Welcome, Christian.
Christian Buckley: Thanks for having me.
Gardner: We’re also here with Yaacov Cohen, Co-founder and CEO of harmon.i.e. Welcome,
Yaacov Cohen: Hi, Dana.
Gardner: We're joined by Joel Oleson, Director of Marketing and Technology Evangelism at
ViewDo Labs in Salt Lake City. Welcome, Joel.
Joel Oleson: Great to be here.
Gardner: And lastly, we’re here with Laura Rogers, Manager of SharePoint Consultants at
Rackspace Hosting. Welcome, Laura.
Laura Rogers: Hello. It's great to be here this morning.
New role in cloud
Gardner: Let's start with you, Laura. SharePoint was designed quite some time ago to play a
somewhat different role than I would think people are looking for nowadays. Organizations need
to start thinking about cloud or -- even clouds -- how to manage across them, do collaboration
and shared documents. How well suited is SharePoint to take on this new role, and how do you
think users in organizations are starting to adapt to a new role for an older platform?
Rogers: It's interesting, because some of the bread and butter of SharePoint is being able to
collaborate on documents. One of the main things that people have always started up with
SharePoint just over the years is moving from ﬁle shares to SharePoint. So that’s
just getting things from ﬁle shares to being able to collaborate with them easier,
and implementing SharePoint has been one of the main things that people have
Now, a lot of things are moving to the cloud. Everything that people do in their
daily lives is based on the cloud. It becomes something that people are used to.
People are used to being able to pick up their iPhone and have a FaceTime
conversation. They’re used to being able to pick up their phone and check
All these different applications are in the cloud and it's part of people’s daily life. Now, they have
this expectation of being able to have all this live information and collaboration going on with
what they're doing at work as well.
Microsoft is moving a lot to Ofﬁce 365 and doing a lot with the integration between Ofﬁce 365
and the Ofﬁce apps, being able to take ﬁles, quickly edit them on the phone, and then quickly
upload them to SharePoint. In general, people have expectations of being able to collaborate
wherever they are.
That’s where the pressure is coming from for enterprises to either physically move their data to
the cloud and go to Ofﬁce 365, or at least upgrade and keep all of their on-premises technology
up-to-date, so that the end users have that seamless experience.
But that gets more and more complicated, because of all the different servers you would need to
have involved, like the latest version of SharePoint, the latest version of Exchange, the latest
version of Lync. As it gets more and more involved to do those things on-premises, that’s where
some companies are saying, “Let's just go do it in the cloud. It might be easier.”
Gardner: Christian Buckley, given the fact that we’re seeing increased complexity, it's one thing
to move storage to the cloud and share documents across a cloud service. It's something quite
more complex to bring a process into the cloud, manage the process, and have it extended across
the boundaries of the organization. Are companies yet progressing to that point? Are we still
using cloud in a fairly rudimentary form? Or is this need for collaboration really top of mind in
Buckley: You've hit on the complexity of what actually moves across. Look historically at
intranets. I started getting involved in the intranet knowledge management space
in the mid ’90s, and organizations approached building out those intranets and
building the complexity of their work processes into digital form. That’s why
automation, whether it's your dashboarding, workﬂows, and all those capabilities
ﬁt into how SharePoint has been built out.
What's changed is that as all of these consumer-based technologies, which are
primarily out in the cloud, have progressed, organizations want to focus less on
infrastructure and focus more on actual business systems. End users on the
other side of that want their corporate solutions to match more closely to their personal habits, to
their personal tools. They're doing everything in the cloud, everything via mobile phone.
Just want access
As you look at those changes to the traditional intranet model, how you approach and develop
those solutions, build and maintain an infrastructure, and all the complexity, the difﬁculty is that
end users are ahead of the curve. They want to have everything in the cloud ﬂexible, dynamic,
and real time via their phone or their tablet. They're out on the road. No matter how they're
accessing the information, they just want access to it.
The difﬁculty is that not all of the technology is yet at parity with what you have on-prem, and
that’s where SharePoint is at this crossroads. That’s what we’re starting to experience. The
consumer is driving what's happening within the corporation, rather than corporate IT driving
what end users have access to. That’s a huge change.
Gardner: Joel Oleson, it sounds as if we have businesses really seeking agility and trying to ﬁnd
any way to improve the speed of doing business, but that there is tension between allowing on-
premises systems to catch up, versus leap wholesale out to a cloud. Is that how you see it and
how does that portend the future of SharePoint?
Oleson: There's an interesting transition happening right now where there is a big move to the
cloud and a lot of companies are looking out at things, asking, "Is this Tinkertoys? Is this
something that’s a trend? Is it something bigger? Do we need to invest here?"
In the beginning, it was seen as more of a hosting move where there are companies that are doing
this hosting, and now Microsoft wants to do hosting, and there are these various
companies that are out there doing hosting. What we’re seeing now is a
transition of a technology, where it’s this trend of "cloud ﬁrst," and where the
actual product is being developed and the features are showing up ﬁrst in the
This trend of hitting features a year ahead of time and being able to validate and
get richer experiences in the cloud that may never have come on-premise, is
really making customers look at it quite differently. There are business solutions
that enable, in terms of making it easier, and someone else is taking care of upgrades and
someone else is taking care of your infrastructure needs. So you really focus on your business
value from that perspective.
Also, when you look at it from the perspective of this approach of cloud ﬁrst, on-premise second,
on-premise comes across as the second-class citizen. A lot of these arguments that have held
people back are around security, such as not wanting other people managing your data, and that
bigger concern around how to best handle the situation. With SharePoint, that trend is going to
Gardner: Yaacov, thinking about the complimentary nature of cloud services and mobile
devices, we’re seeing not just an interest in going to cloud for cloud sake, but being able to better
deliver services across boundaries and out to mobile devices, maybe even to bring-your-own
type of device. After listening to our panelists, our top inﬂuencers, how do you see something
like the on-premise world readily adapting to both the needs of the cloud, a trend as well as the
Cohen: Our panelists talk about these very signiﬁcant transitions. Not only is Microsoft at a
crossroad, but the customers and the large SharePoint shops are also at a crossroad. It's about a
"cloud ﬁrst" for Microsoft, and now with the recent announcement, it's also about "mobile ﬁrst."
Now, we see that Microsoft is very serious about iOS, about the iPad, and also about Android.
Your question was well pointed. There are two different types of scenarios when you're accessing
the cloud and Ofﬁce 365 for mobile devices. I know we're talking SharePoint, but in fact, there
are two different products now: the OneDrive which earlier used to be SharePoint Online, and
the SharePoint On-Premise.
There are two different business scenarios where a lot of what Microsoft is looking at,
including on mobile access, is more of a document-saving, document-storage, document-sharing
capacity. It's very consumer centric, very competitive to Dropbox, and may also compete with
Box, and be very easily accessible from mobile devices.
Now we have Ofﬁce on the iPad. That’s really a huge statement from Microsoft’s standpoint. But
then, there is a totally different scenario looking at SharePoint as a knowledge
center, as a record management center, and as the core of the business processes
for the enterprise.
That’s not quite addressed right now by Microsoft with the "cloud ﬁrst" and
"mobile ﬁrst" approach. With the "mobile ﬁrst" approach, there's no real attempt
by Microsoft to try to continue to support Ofﬁce 365 or SharePoint Online as a
knowledge center. We've also made our data and tags and taxonomy.
The focus is much simpler. They want to be a Microsoft-centric Dropbox, providing very easy
access for mobile devices. So we're talking about two very different scenarios. This is a pretty
interesting time also for end users. They need to be a lot more accurate in the business
requirements they're trying to solve either with OneDrive for document sharing or SharePoint for
Gardner: It seems to me that having the ability to compete with Dropbox and share documents
is really table stakes at this point. The larger proposition is enabling a hybrid transition and
enabling better management and control over the complexity, even as we expand the extent to
which we’re collaborating.
Laura Rogers, as a user organization is starting to think about how to not just deal with this
tactically, but to think about that larger goal and being able to be in a hybrid capacity where the
control remains some of the best of internal with the best of cloud, how do you think they're
viewing SharePoint? Is there a change in the perception of what SharePoint does, and does that
keep up with this need for this larger value proposition of management in control?
Rogers: The perception of SharePoint is changing a little bit, but it depends on who you are,
where you are coming from, and what type of organization you are in, as to what your perception
is going to be, regarding the cloud and where SharePoint is going.
For some people, especially smaller companies that are a little bit more ﬂexible as to where they
can store their data and how fast they can get their data moved, their perception is that if they
can't move to Ofﬁce 365, they want to quickly ﬁgure out a way to get hosted SharePoint and get
all of their data into the cloud.
So they're analyzing Ofﬁce 365 and they're ﬁguring out if it will do everything they need it to be
able to do. Of course, if you're a smaller or a mid-size company, you're a little bit more ﬂexible,
because you might have fewer custom applications and things like that. So they're analyzing that,
they're analyzing other methods of putting things in the cloud, and they are comparing them.
When it comes to bigger organizations, not just bigger organizations, but organizations that have
more restrictions such as governments and healthcare and things where you have to have HIPAA
and different regulations considered, they’ve got a whole different perspective.
They're thinking how they can keep SharePoint where it is right now in a lot of cases. Then,
they're researching to see how other companies that have their same sort of stipulation are going
into the cloud. They're going to be very hesitant.
The perspective is going to be that the cloud to them is a little bit more dangerous and scary,
because they don’t want to have anything happen to their very sensitive data. But they're
researching and ﬁguring out all the different ways that they can do hybrid environments, so they
can still have some of their intranet in the cloud and have it connected to their on-premises
solution. So there is going to be a lot of hybrid situations going on as people gradually get
weaned over to the cloud.
They're going to have combinations of some information here and some information there. The
trick is going to be to make it look seamless to the end user and have them be able to just go to
SharePoint, whatever SharePoint happens to be, wherever it happens to be, do a search and have
the search come up with everything.
So it's "SharePoint wherever" in all the different locations that it might be, have it just look like a
seamless interface to end users, and have everything that they do in that environment be
seamless. Because when it comes to the IT people and the decision makers, they have a lot of
things to worry about when it comes to where to put the data, how to migrate it, and how to be
able to get to it for backups and things like that.
They have to keep remembering that the end user wants to be able to have something simple, that
they know where to go, the interface is familiar, and then just be able to do their jobs. As long as
those decision makers don’t forget that the end users just want to be able to do their jobs and not
have everything be more complicated than it needs to be.
Gardner: Christian Buckley, it seems that the opportunity for Microsoft here is to make
SharePoint the entry point, the face if you will, of both hybrid cloud activities and mobile
collaboration activities. It's a tremendous opportunity for them.
How do you feel about the perception of people in the ﬁeld, those users and those managers at
enterprises? Are they seeing SharePoint as the potential silver bullet for managing this
complexity, or do they see it more as a steppingstone to something else?
Buckley: There are a couple of things. We're talking about perceptions, right? There's some talk
within the expert community about SharePoint as the brand, when I talk about going out to my
SharePoint system. You're hearing the word SharePoint less and less. It doesn’t mean that the
technology is going away. It's more that it's becoming ubiquitous.
When you think about the various Microsoft properties that they’re building on top of, OneDrive,
Yammer, and within Ofﬁce 365, a lot of those various components, where there is content and
where there is a process or workﬂow and other things that are related.
When you're talking about some of the PowerBI, the dashboarding capability, you're talking
about SharePoint. That’s where the data is stored behind that. It's the unifying technology
underneath the platform.
Backing up a bit, the perception is about the control, administration, compliance, auditing, and
all those options. The perception is that that you have less of an ability to do those things out in
Government bodies, highly regulated industries, went to SharePoint and on-prem because they
had that level of control and the ability to go in and conﬁgure and customize and add-on and
extended all those things. SharePoint grew so rapidly, because of that ability, but they are very
correct in some of those perceptions about not having the same degree of control out in the
There is not yet parity when you think of it in those terms. The tools need to mature. The
application programming interfaces (APIs) need to be expanded. On the ﬂipside, those
perceptions of what you can and can't do and control out in the cloud is because many
organizations have overbuilt SharePoint. End-user adoption is a serious issue, as it is for every
enterprise collaboration solution out there. Any competitor in the space that tells you otherwise is
marketing to you.
The reality is that end users want something that is streamlined and that’s simple. They want to
click once, twice at the most, get in, and get their jobs done. They don’t care what the brand is.
Microsoft needs to extend and add, increase the parity between Ofﬁce 365, the software-as-a-
service (SaaS) solution, the SharePoint Online, version of the on-prem version, get that parity
They need to make it easy to access, easy to invite people in, easy to click once or twice, get to
the information that you need through the interface that you’re most comfortable with, whether
it's Exchange or Yammer or OneDrive or going into SharePoint, going into your intranet or an
extranet, with all of those things. SharePoint underlies all of those things.
Microsoft still has some messaging to improve on to help change some of those perceptions of
what SharePoint is, where it's going, and how people can make that transition.
Gardner: Joel Oleson, thinking about a more practical approach for the user organization, rather
than waiting for Microsoft to simplify SharePoint, maybe reduce some of this overbuilding,
making it more appropriate for cloud activity, what can organizations do to take the best of what
SharePoint can do, leverage the investments they’ve made and yet still be able to break out
across boundaries, into cloud, into mobile?
Is there some basic blocking and tackling advice you can offer for using SharePoint, but in this
Oleson: Some advice for customers. They really need to dip their toe in the water. Some
customers, when they decide they want to go Ofﬁce 365, go all in and then they have second
thoughts. It's not that people shouldn’t invest in Ofﬁce 365, but they need to be cautious about
understanding some of those limitations around customizations and some concerns that other
departments may have: IT, for example.
So there's a cautious approach, and a pilot needs to happen. OneDrive, as an example, is an
amazing way to start getting involved with the cloud. Yammer, as well, is a great way to get into
the cloud and also to, all of a sudden, be able to support with mobile devices great conversations
with fellow employees.
But part of that approach is getting the right kind of policies and procedures in place that can
support the users and the departments that want to, and need to, take advantage of the new
But I don’t think that it's throwing everything out there willy-nilly. There's that approach of
going service by service. Another example is people who are going to move their email. It's a no-
brainer to move your email out there, but there is some identity work that has to be done, and the
budgets have to be right to be able to understand the investments and the time it's going to take.
But that hybrid process of moving things out there is a multi-year approach, and the investment
that’s going to be required has to be a conscious decision in having the right engines ﬁring on all
cylinders and making that transition. It takes all eyes open as you make that transition.
Gardner: Yaacov, what advice do you have for organizations that are in SharePoint deeply, who
want to continue to leverage that investment, recognize that their users are getting a lot of value
from it, but also want to start extending their activities using hybrid approach to more application
by application transitions, as Joel mentioned?
What do you suggest that they do to take advantage of SharePoint, keep as much value there as
they can, but also move rapidly as they want into mobile in cloud?
Cohen: Joel had some good points about the progressive approach, looking service by service.
Also, it's about deﬁning your business requirements and, for example, to differentiate between
collaboration scenarios, which are more ad hoc, more social, and which say more about project
management and not so much about knowledge management. So in this case, Ofﬁce 365,
OneDrive, and Yammer is a great way to go. We're already investing a lot of preparation in
taxonomy and the information architecture.
But if you're looking at more enterprise-wide projects to share knowledge across multiple
business lines or you're trying to reduce the liabilities with record management, that’s where you
probably need to take a more comprehensive approach with more preparation and design. You
need to know that the “cloud ﬁrst”/"mobile ﬁrst" marketing is very nice, but it's not ready yet to
deliver a sole business solution.
Gardner: We've heard from all of you and we've been introducing you by your title and the fact
that you're a designated top inﬂuencer in the SharePoint community. I'd like to learn a bit more
about your role in your organization. Laura Rogers, ﬁrst to you. Tell us about what you’re doing
as a SharePoint Consultant Manager and what Rackspace Hosting is doing vis-à-vis
collaboration and SharePoint Services?
Rogers: At Rackspace around SharePoint we have a couple of major divisions. We have people
that support our hosted SharePoint environments and we also have SharePoint consulting. A lot
of our hosted SharePoint customers will make use of the consulting services. But we also provide
consulting services to people who aren’t necessarily hosted at Rackspace.
We have different types of hosting that you can get there. We have a per-user environment, which
basically means you're buying site collection, and it's similar to Ofﬁce 365 and there is one big
farm that’s managed in a central place. You’re not necessarily in control of your SharePoint
There is also one where you can have your own SharePoint server. So there are all different
levels of being able to have a hosted environment. As consultants, we can take care of those
But we get a lot of clients that come to us and say they're looking at Rackspace hosting and also
looking at Ofﬁce 365. They ask why they should do one or the other. We go through their
requirements and what they want to be able to do in SharePoint. Then, we help them to talk
about the pros and cons. We explain "You have this custom app over here and you wouldn’t
necessarily be able to do that in Ofﬁce 365."
They have all this super custom branding, little technical things that they have, and we go
through some of the tradeoffs they might have to make, one way or the other.
We have different groups of consultants. I manage the group that deals with business solutions.
We have a group of developers. We have a group of branding guys, and then my business-
solutions guys have out-of-the-box functionality, business intelligence (BI), user adoption,
governance, documentation, and things like that. Business solutions includes things that don’t
involve custom code and things that don’t involve branding. I also teach at SharePoint 2013
Power Users class online for a week each month.
Every Wednesday at 11 Central, my team and I get together and we have a free YouTube
broadcast, where we just talk about some business-solution topic, do demos, and things like that.
That’s the SharePoint at Rackspace YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/sharepointrax.
Gardner: Christian Buckley at Metalogix, tell us a little bit about what you do there, and what
your organization does in the SharePoint community, or eco-community.
Buckley: My role is Chief Evangelist. So I sit across multiple areas. I work very closely with
product management and product marketing. I work very closely with our partner and alliance
management team. I do a lot of meeting with customers, meeting with partners, and setting up
and investigating various technology partnerships.
From a community standpoint, I'm also very involved in helping organize various community
efforts and, in that way, spreading goodwill for the brand out there within the community. I've
helped launch about a dozen SharePoint Saturday events primarily out in the Western U.S. states.
Then, I travel around the world speaking at conferences, sharing perspective, usually to the IT
business decision-maker and executive crowd. I do events where I travel on behalf of our
partners and meet with their customers. I try to help ﬁll the pipeline from a sales perspective and
help partners on my own sales team close on deals and things that people traditionally expect an
evangelist to do.
Metalogix is the largest, fastest growing SharePoint ISV. Two areas that we are really known for
are migration and governance and administration solutions. I write a lot of content around those
topics, as well as things like storage optimization and replication.
We're very much involved in working with Microsoft and with our partners in helping people
manage and migrate between SharePoint environments, as well as moving people from on-prem
into Ofﬁce 365.
We're the only ISV that has a solution that migrates Exchange, public folders, ﬁle shares, and
SharePoint content to Ofﬁce 365. So I'm doing a lot of promotion and talking about those options
out there on a regular basis.
Gardner: Thank you. Joel Oleson, tell us similarly about yourself and ViewDo Labs as well?
Oleson: ViewDo Labs is focused on Yammer analytics. My role has been working with the
community around writing, speaking, and blogging.
I've gathered a group of inﬂuencers in the enterprise social space. We get together and talk about
various topics around enterprise social and take on the biggest challenges. I participate in a lot of
conversations, Tweetups, and variety of activities as they relate to enterprise social, moving
forward maturity around enterprise social as it relates to Yammer and other technologies in that
As an example, Christian talks about his travel. Travel is something that’s been a big passion of
mine, connecting with folks around the globe and building communities. Just a week ago I was
in Jamaica running a SharePoint Saturday, but also launching a user group. Next month, I’ll be
speaking at a European SharePoint conference. Following that, I'll be doing some travel in
Central Asia and launching a community in Uzbekistan.
A passion of mine is expanding global reach and connecting communities that otherwise would
never meet people that are on the top tier speaking circuits. I try to go to those locations where
they’re underserved markets, you could say. But the big focus is on enterprise social and working
transparently, working like a network, and just getting excited and working with businesses
around how that big transformation is happening.
Gardner: Thank you. Yaacov, tell us a little bit about why you co-founded harmon.ie and what
harmon.ie does and how that ﬁts into the SharePoint ecosystem?
Cohen: We founded harmon.ie in 2008. Basically, we wanted to bring a customer-like user
experience to the enterprise world. We've built a one-screen user experience across emails,
mobile devices, and cloud.
We provide a suite of connected apps on mobile devices like iOS, Android, Windows Phone and
BlackBerry. Within Outlook, we provide an Outlook plug-in, delivering the same consistent user
experience across on-premise SharePoint, Yammer, and Ofﬁce 365.
The idea is to help the business users to get a complete view of their network and their
colleagues’ network in order to be more efﬁcient at the enterprise level in the ways they manage
knowledge management, knowledge centers, record management, and how they can really
evolve into more of a social enterprise, which is really collaborating and working like a network.
That’s what we try to do.
Gardner: Thank you very much. We're almost out of time. I’d like to just address one more
issue before we sign off, and it's the impact of social collaboration. People are now looking at the
walled interface, being used to things like Facebook, and LinkedIn, and Twitter, and then
recognizing that that’s a powerful way to get knowledge transferred and allow for people to work
together, but now also recognizing that more and more people are using mobile devices.
And so there's this combination, this Reese’s cup of peanut butter and chocolate, when it comes
to mobile and social. How do you all think that this is going to be driven into use -- will the
technologies keep up with the demand on the user experience and behavior?
First to you, Christian Buckley. What do you foresee as the methods that the IT department will
have to adopt and the technologies that they will have to exploit in order to start allowing users
to do what they want on a mobile device and be more collaborative in a social type of way?
Buckley: It's evolving so rapidly. To say what technologies they need to start considering, I take
a very pragmatic, project program management approach to this. That’s a lot of my background.
Working with customers, it would be to fully understand what you are trying to accomplish for
If you're recognizing that your end users are requesting more social and mobile capabilities and
yet you have certain constraints, compliance and auditing, regulatory requirements, sometimes
legal requirements that you need to make sure all systems comply with, you just need to make
sure that the solutions that you are building out, the technologies that you go investigate, can
comply with those needs.
And certainly, if you go with Ofﬁce 365 and social through Yammer, whether a standalone
Yammer or Ofﬁce 365, and if you're going to build a hybrid solution, these are questions you
need to ask and understand, which may determine how you conﬁgure the platform or which
options you choose.
We're not at a place where you can plug and play, even in the Microsoft stack, any of those tools
and just assume that you're going to meet all of those standards that you need to be held to. You
need to ask those questions and then make some decisions, which could mean paring back on
your requirements. It may be a phased approach, as you wait for further advances, but it's just
something. Ask the questions and go into it with your eyes wide open.
Gardner: Joel Oleson, the same question. How do you see organizations being able to manage
this risk-and-beneﬁt balance between allowing users to get what they want for functionality and
collaboration, but also keeping it inside the organization and limiting them in some other way?
How do you balance this best, and how will that balance perhaps change over the next few
Oleson: Well, that’s really interesting. This is really a battle between wills. Microsoft is making
some major bets, and some of those bets aren’t just with the IT department. It's the business
departments that are really going to make and drive some of these decisions. And if the IT
department essentially holds back the business, they may ﬁnd that they are going to go around.
So there are going to be some pros and cons and cost beneﬁts, especially as it relates to licensing,
but I think you'll ﬁnd that some of the businesses are needing these technologies, and so it will
essentially be business IT units that will test the waters and may drive ahead of the IT department
in some cases.
IT as the enabler
It's not going to be everybody all nodding their heads at the same time. There's going to be
some pilot theory happening and it's going to be the proof is in the pudding. Where it's going is
that IT is the enabler. Are they going to be helping us make that transition and move, or is it
going to be marketing, or is it going to be HR or some of these other business departments that
essentially make that ﬁrst bet in making some of those decisions?
I'm ﬁnding that some of the IT environments are actually more conservative and more cautious,
where some of the business departments see the beneﬁts and they see that it's going to be easier.
It gives them more of that device approach that they need, and they may get out ahead of IT. I
expect that to happen in many organizations.
Gardner: And Laura Rogers at Rackspace, is it damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead, adopt the
cloud, and let IT ﬁgure out how to catch up later? Or from strictly a cloud perspective, do you
think that you can give those users what they want in terms of social and mobile collaboration
and keep the risk at a managed level?
Rogers: Joel brought up a great point about the technology and people just going around it if
they don’t have what they need. Not necessarily Rackspace, but a lot of companies are coming
across ﬁnancial restrictions, because they might decide that they do need x, y, z technology.
They need to have their own private Yammer network and actually purchase the enterprise
versions of that. Or they might need to purchase the enterprise version of SharePoint or Box.net
or whatever they happen to be using, and it might be cost restrictive for them.
So this is going to be a case where when you think about all of the people that might go around
and use different technologies, like using their personal OneDrive to share things with people
outside the company. That’s not very secure. Neither is using other technologies they might come
across on random apps on their phone or on the web and start using that with business
So when companies are thinking about technologies like this for the enterprise and how cost
restrictive they are, how expensive they are, I think it's more something where you have to weigh
what could possibly happen with people uploading sensitive information to all these uncontrolled
locations and what's the risk there compared to what you beneﬁt from going ahead and
purchasing that enterprise level product or whatever it happens to be, and just pay for it, and
therefore you will be able to have a lot more control over that data.
Because people are going to go around and they are going to ﬁgure out a way to do something
with whatever the latest technology is, even if the company doesn’t provide a way to it.
Gardner: Yaacov, it seems that regardless of whether the IT department leads or the business
leads and whether they use internal or external services, getting these services visible and usable
across any and all needed screens and devices is going to be essential.
So, given that it's still an open question as to how mobile and collaboration and document
sharing and social interactions evolve and become delivered, what do you think is an important
part of being able to be in front of that and maybe accommodate whatever the outcomes are on
the back end?
Cohen: This is really a good point. When I work with IT, I advise IT to start thinking
differently about their job. Rather than being the gatekeepers, they need to become enablers.
They need to become like a systems integrator and a service provider within their own
organization. And they need to take a look at mobile and cloud and see how they can take these
technologies and package them in a way that is appropriate for their business users.
They need to look at the lines of business or the departments as their customers and they need to
act and market solutions to these customers. This transforms also our relationship as a vendor
with IT. Rather than selling to IT, we are partnering with IT in order to help them package and
sell solutions internally, mobile solutions in order to improve the business experience and, as
such, to boost the business initiative, collaboration, and mobile.
Gardner: Very good. I’m afraid we’ll have to leave it there. You’ve been listening to a panel
discussion on how one of the most broadly deployed collaboration platforms, Microsoft
SharePoint, is evolving from its local roots into the cloud and mobile era.
And we’ve heard how a fast-changing SharePoint ecosystem, along with newer services like
Yammer and Ofﬁce 365, can be newly exploited by organizations, but they need to take proper
steps and ﬁgure out a lot of complexity. It's still really an open question about how to do this. It's
still time for innovation.
This sponsored discussion with a group of recently selected top SharePoint inﬂuencers comes to
you thanks to harmon.ie.
Please join me now in thanking our guests. We’ve talking with Christian Buckley, Director and
Chief Evangelist at Metalogix Software. Thanks so much, Christian.
And we’ve also been here with Yaacov Cohen, Co-founder and CEO of harmon.ie. Thank you so
Cohen: Thank you Dana for having me.
Gardner: Also, we’ve been here with Joel Oleson, Director of Marketing and Technology
Evangelism at ViewDo Labs. Thank you, Joel.
Oleson: Thanks a lot. It’s great to be here with these powerful folks.
Gardner: And it's great to have you. And lastly, Laura Rogers, Manager of SharePoint
Consultants at Rackspace Hosting. Thank you, Laura.
Rogers: Thanks for having me.
Gardner: I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your moderator for this
deep exploration of how enterprise collaboration and document management are being
transformed by the new cloud and mobile requirement.
Thanks again for listening, and don’t forget to come back next time.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Sponsor: harmon.ie
Transcript of a BrieﬁngsDirect podcast on how the rapid adoption of cloud and mobile are
driving new challenges for Microsoft SharePoint users. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC,
2005-2014. All rights reserved.
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