For a while, the tech industry seemed to be focused around the idea that you had to go “all-in” for cloud or risk getting left behind. At PSC, we understand the value of moving to the cloud, but the reality is that some of our clients simply aren’t ready – some may never be. Happily for those clients, the message coming from Microsoft is different: Microsoft continues to invest in and support hybrid models. For Microsoft, cloud isn’t just about replacing on-premises, it’s also about co-existing with on-prem, and that’s a solution that greatly benefits both partners and their customers.
“Cloud-first” doesn’t mean “cloud-only”
There is a small and dwindling set of reasons customers might prefer to keep some functions on-prem. They often cite security concerns and control of data as reasons for maintaining an on-prem environment. We can give customers that option – with hybrid support from Microsoft, we’re able to provide opportunities and capabilities many customers thought they simply had to live without. Here’s the good news we’re able to share with clients and prospects:
Data exchange is bi-directional. Integration allows data to flow easily and securely between on-prem and the cloud environment for SharePoint. If you have BI dashboards in the cloud, they can reach back into your corporate data center to access data for reporting.
Formerly cloud-only functions now work in hybrid environments. For example, when Delve was first introduced, it was a cloud-only experience. But now, if you connect your on-prem farm to an Office 365 tenant, Delve can present on-prem content as documents of interest, documents you or your colleagues have worked with recently, etc., just as it does in a cloud-only environment.
Hybrid can be seamless for the end user. As we move forward with SharePoint 2016, the on-prem environment is going to look more like the online version, including features like the app launcher. If you manage and configure your environments correctly, even though users will be going to different sites, the experiences will look and feel the same throughout. With good connections, there shouldn’t be any noticeable lag when drawing from either environment.
On-prem clients can enjoy the benefits of massive beta testing. New solutions are often introduced to the cloud first, then to on-prem. That means those solutions have had rigorous testing by potentially millions of cloud customers.
Clients can choose to extend their solution with cloud capabilities in the future. If they choose not to, on-premise is still very much a supported path.
Clients can choose which workloads to move to the cloud and at what pace. Customers are able to move to the cloud at their own speed, as the technology and regulations of their particular vertical allow.
All of these advantages to customers spell huge opportunities for partners
Perhaps the biggest benefit to partners is that no client need be left behind. We have a wider variety of solutions we can offer, including integrations between cloud-based intranets and on-prem data, for example. Support for hybrid models allows for phased implementations, extending the length of relationships with customers. At PSC, we’re breaking larger projects into phases, so we’re able to deliver faster and provide more support and solutions throughout the process. And because customers have more options, they often need more expert assistance to map out the possibilities and make the best choices.
For example, we have an international, enterprise-size client who has a couple of environments: one in SharePoint 2007 and one in 2010. Our initial engagement was to migrate their Intranet, collaboration sites, and records center over to SharePoint 2013 on-prem, but when they also signed up for Office 365, they decided it made sense to move the intranet and collaboration sites to Office 365 instead. Because of the sheer volume of information in their records center, they opted to keep that workload local. We were able to integrate it with the Office 365 in a hybrid environment, so all that data is available and easily accessed any time one of their staff needs to pull a record. Being able to have a hybrid environment has been a great benefit for the customer: they can leverage the investment they made in the on-prem infrastructure as a platform for applications they need available as they’re moving to a cloud environment.
Previously, it felt like the story of cloud was all or none: you moved to the cloud or you stayed on-premise, and there was very little in-between. Now there’s a slew of options for those who want to occupy the middle ground – they can pick and choose which workloads they move to the cloud and which ones they keep on-premise. Because we can offer deeper integration between the two environments, customers have choices, and we have more opportunities to serve their needs.
Do you have additional feedback or comments? Let us know on our Facebook page!