I’m sure you all have been hearing a lot about Office 365 and SharePoint Online over the past several months but how do you know if it’s right for you and when should you migrate over? I would like to discuss some of the pros and cons of SharePoint Online as well as some of the limitations I have encountered to give you a little more information to make an educated decision as far as migrating your SharePoint.
- No infrastructure to maintain
- Don’t need to worry about backing the environment up
- Low to no downtime
- Low initial cost (minimal monthly licensing fee)
- Direct integration with other Office 365 functionality (web apps)
- Everything “just works”
- Integration to other systems can be difficult (or occasionally not possible)
- Restrictions on customization (apps, search, design, etc.
- Automatically updated by Microsoft (no testing done on sites, can break things)
- Administration – No Access to backend or CSOM
- Migration options limited
- Features and functionality are occasionally disabled by default for everyone
- Threshold of 5,000 items per list/library
- SharePoint 2013 workflows do not migrate
- Difficult to use 3rd party solutions
- No email enabled lists or libraries
- Data connections to InfoPath limited
- No Client Side Object Model
- Limited AAM (little ability to change the URL that people use to browse the site)
With all that being said, when is SharePoint Online a good fit for your organization? If none of the cons or limitations are a deal breaker for you here are some good indications that SharePoint Online might work for you.
- You want to explore SharePoint without spending a lot of money up front
- You’re only looking for “out of the box” functionality to share documents and collaborate on information
- You’re want a quick deployment without a lot of time and resources invested
- You aren’t planning on doing integration to other systems or using a lot of custom code
- You have limited regulatory restrictions and compliance concerns
- You don’t have (or want) a lot of resources to maintain servers
I hope that that clears up some of the high-level areas of when to pursue SharePoint Online and when to use SharePoint Server (on-premises).