Since ‘way back when’ in 2001, I’ve worked closely with virtually all SharePoint environments, and so I’m only too familiar with the effort required to migrate and stay up-to-date. Customisations have, in particular, become popular, and have made migration to new versions increasingly more complex. However, with a little bit of planning and design, and the right SharePoint Migration plan, you can achieve a successful SharePoint implementation, one that delivers on some great benefits and saves money in the long term.
So, what indeed are these benefits?
More than 300,000 organisations now have SharePoint and OneDrive in Office 365, including 85% of the Fortune 500 (Microsoft).
On the surface of it, SharePoint Online is a cloud-based service that helps organisations share and collaborate with colleagues, partners, and customers.
But it’s more than that, it’s enterprise content management, records management, compliance management, … the list goes on!
Here some of the key features that, in my opinion, really make SharePoint Online stand out:
Cloud Based – access from anywhere, anytime, on any device. You achieve real cost savings from no longer needing to manage infrastructure, patching, updates, etc.
Collaboration – it’s now so much easier to collaborate with both internal and external colleagues. Governance and process should still be in place to ensure compliance with data and information policies, however enabling sharing with external users is just a simple configuration.
Great Modern User Experience – the new Modern experience is designed to be compelling, flexible and more user-friendly. It makes it easier for anyone to create beautiful, dynamic sites and pages that are mobile-ready.
Hub Sites – SharePoint Hub Sites are a really important building block for your workplace environment. They help bring together and connect groups of team or communication sites.
Regular feature updates – new features are rolled out regularly, constantly improving existing experiences and providing more functionality that your users will really appreciate.
Scaling up or down – easily scale up or down in line with your demand, and only pay for what you use.
Reliability – Your services are available with a guaranteed 99.9% uptime, and a financially backed service level agreement (SLA).
What’s new in SharePoint Server 2019?
Some organisations prefer to keep their SharePoint environment on-premise, and with the recent release of SharePoint Server 2019, Microsoft has included a host of great user experience features and more:
New user experiences – SharePoint Server 2019 unlocks innovative user experiences from SharePoint Online. From improvements to document libraries to navigation constructs that are consistent with Office 365, it’s got it all!
Platform enhancements – native support for hybrid scenarios that can be configured during deployment.
Other features include:
- Fast site creation – new sites are created in just a few seconds
- Increased storage file size in document libraries (up to 15 GB)
- Modern lists and libraries
- Modern page authoring
- Integration with PowerApps, Power BI and MS Flow
SharePoint Versions and Support End Dates
Something I get asked about a lot are support end dates. I’ve put together the following table to show the support end dates for each of the SharePoint Server Products.
Support End Date
Service Pack 1
Service Pack 2
Service Pack 3
You might be wondering what exactly this all means. Well, when mainstream support ends, the following also happens:
- Microsoft no longer supplies non-security hotfixes unless you have an extended support agreement
- All warranty claims end
- Microsoft no longer accepts requests for new features and design changes
Additionally, when extended support ends, you can no longer count on any security patches or reliability patches.
What this means is that if your organisation is still running SharePoint 2007, 2010 or 2013, there is a risk that your environment will not have the most recent security patches, making it vulnerable to costly cyber-attacks. If you find yourself in this predicament, then you really need to plan an upgrade to SharePoint Online or SharePoint Server 2016 / 2019 as soon as possible.