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There is increasing concern over the future direction of SharePoint and whether the on-premises SKUs will exist in the future.

For me, the “issue” over the SharePoint roadmap is a non-issue being made into an issue by poor positioning and messaging from Microsoft.

Fundamentally, the SharePoint technology Microsoft is building for the Cloud is simply “Cloud scale on-premises” the difference is it’s THEIR premises as opposed to YOUR premises.

Granted, some of the management tooling may be Cloud unique, but the core technology has to be on somebody’s premises and in the case of products (ahem!) like Office 365 it’s Microsoft’s.

The concern arises when Microsoft marketing folks get in the mix with the epic push for SaaS (Office 365 and its components). This then creates the roadmap “issue” as the angle being constantly, expensively and solely highlighted by Microsoft is the SaaS product set which (by implication) lends credibility to the notion that on-premises versions (or variants) will be phased out in the short to medium term.

The Cloud is more than SaaS but at this time, Microsoft are heavily pushing Office 365 as it provides fit for all customer types and profiles, regardless of industry, size of geography, thus creating the impression of “Office 365 being the ONLY way to do Microsoft in the Cloud with a subtle undertone of “oh, and by the way on-premises is bad!”

This may sit with small to medium business, after all they don’t want the cost or complexity of managing on-premises infrastructure and in many cases don’t have the sophisticated functional requirements that larger Enterprises have that often can’t be provided by SaaS offerings.

For mid-tier and the Enterprise many more factors than cost and infrastructure will be considered when pondering a move to the Cloud with many of the benefits of SaaS become less tangible for many organisations, leading to the on-going requirement for on-premises variants for the foreseeable future for many of Microsoft’s largest (and therefore “most important”) clients.

The reality is that on-premises will always exist (in the same way a larger than you think percentage of businesses still use mainframe and midrange computers) and the Cloud just brings another facet to our already hybridising IT infrastructure.

Oh, and if it doesn’t, I’ll eat my hat.

more to follow…