Tag Archives: Cloud

Decision time – SharePoint – On-Premises, Hosted or Office 365?

In the middle of 2011, Microsoft introduced Office 365 – the new way how organizations will use MS Office suite  in the future, at least how Microsoft hopes. The competition is getting quite stiff in the office productivity tools based on the cloud solutions, and the new Microsoft’s flag product is key to its survival. Office 365, depending on the type of selected license, includes MS Office Plus suite, SharePoint, Outlook and Lync (instant communication solution). With significantly reduced need for maintenance, infrastructure and security, one would expect that this is an ideal solution in particular for small and medium organizations.

Not so, according to Richard Harbridge. Richard did an excellent job in painstakingly collecting data and developing model comparing the costs specific for implementation of SharePoint portion of the suite, evaluating on-premises, hosted and Office 365 installations. The results of the model suggest that the user volume/licensing heavily influences Office 365 competitiveness, and in some cases Office 365 is outright more expensive than on-premises installations, even though implementation and maintenance costs are lower. Office 365 business model clearly targets small business with smaller number of users.

The research looked at several costs, spread over 1 to 5 years:

  • Professional services
  • Infrastructure or Hosting
  • Administration team
  • Licensing

For comparison there were several typical configurations taken into account:

  • Single server (web server and MS SQL server on virtual machine)
  • Small farm standard (two servers: separate web and MS SQL server installations)
  • Small farm with high availability (2 web servers and 2 MS SQL servers)
  • Medium farm (1 web server, 1 application/indexing server, 1 MS SQL server)
  • Medium farm with high availability (2 web servers, 2 application/indexing servers, 2 SQL servers)

As you can see below, number of users (that translates into licensing costs) plays significant role in costs structure, favoring organizations with 100 or less employees. This makes me thinking that Microsoft purposely is trying to keep medium and larger organizations away, due to limitations of their current infrastructure and support. If so Microsoft will soon will have to address it, as Google with their Google Docs is well on the way to take over the market. Overall – the cloud version of the productivity software for organizations seems to be the right direction, and we should see more and more vendors getting into this space.

To see Richard’s research, visit his blog: http://www.rharbridge.com/?p=818


Majority prefers ‘big data’ on premises rather than in the cloud

According to recent AIIM’s survey, the ‘big data’ adoption is going to double to 17% during next 12 months. This penetration is going to increase further to about 60% within next 3 years. The survey confirms the old truth – the need for holistic view of the data – over 61% of respondents would like to see integrated information, coming from both – structured and unstructured sources. Classification of unstructured data seems to be ongoing problem, with over 70% of organizations finding that it is easier to find information on the web, rather than on their own internal networks. Although search techniques and tools improved over the years, it seems that the adoption of new technologies is pretty slow. Another big factor playing large role in this is the poor data governance.  With regards to analysis of the data, the requirements don’t seem to be very sophisticated, indicating that organizations still struggle with strategy how to effectively use the ‘big data’. Most respondents would be satisfied simply with basic pattern analysis, keyword correlation, incident prediction and fraud prevention. This fact seems to be confirmed by lack of answer to an important question. When asked about a ‘killer application’ for their business area, over 88% of respondents said that it would make a big difference in their business, but when asked what it would be, majority declined to answer.

Another interesting fact from the report is that most of respondents seem to confuse search with data analytics. Although there are some overlaps between the two, the former is about returning results matching selection criteria, while the latter about processing of the data to return answers about specific business question.

Lastly, not so good news for cloud vendors, over 88% of respondents would prefer on-premise big data storage and analysis, rather than SaaS solutions. This seems to be related to perception of poor data protection on externally hosted applications (although only 64% of respondents explicitly stated this). Majority considers the business insights as organization’s intellectual property. Cloud providers will have to work harder to convince the market, as data security question will continue to be the primary barrier to cloud adoption.