Does Hybrid SharePoint & Office 365 Really Affect Me?

Does Hybrid SharePoint & Office 365 Really Affect Me?

Does Hybrid SharePoint & Office 365 Really Affect Me?

By Adam Levithan | November 18, 2016

Ever heard the phrase "a hammer in search of a nail"? It indicates that there is a new technology that’s looking to solve a need – instead of the other way around. I've heard a similar line from IT staff during a business requirements meeting when organizations consider their options with SharePoint and Office 365, "don't worry we'll use hybrid". See the disconnect? Here, hybrid is viewed as a solution but the need hasn’t yet been identified. The confusion comes from a common understanding about what hybrid actually is and how it affects them. So let's talk about it.

First, a hybrid is the combination of any two things. So a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a hybrid sandwich. Using a dedicated HR system alongside other applications is also hybrid (but less tasty). When you’re considering a move to hybrid, the most important requirement is that you've identified a need and decided that more than one solution is necessary, but they must be tied together in some way (in the case of the sandwich, that’d be the bread). Moving from the broad definition, what we're talking about here is the utilization of on-premises Exchange or SharePoint, combined with the cloud power of Office 365.

So, why does connecting SharePoint on-premises to SharePoint Online matter? It matters because while there are great benefits of moving all into the cloud there are some business requirements that may keep your technical infrastructure on the ground. How does this work? Well let’s take our hybrid sandwich example again. Do you put peanut butter on one piece of bread, and jelly on the other? What are the deciding factors? Not getting the knife dirty, spread-ability of the jelly? In a similar fashion, organizations most commonly face these hybrid decisions when they have internal or external regulations to follow, or have invested heavily into SharePoint. Does this sound like you? Are you in the health or financial industries that have strong governmental requirements around document retention? Regarding SharePoint investments do you have business built into SharePoint with custom code, design and branding?

With the flexibility of hybrid SharePoint organizations can balance their budgets, and provide new technologies to end-users.

I see two broad categories for hybrid organizations: regulated content and the invested SharePoint organization. Does your organization fall into either of those two categories? Regulations can be external, or internal, and the SharePoint organization has lots of workflows, business processes and customizations.

In these two generalized situations, it's important to balance the risk of moving to the cloud. The detail of those risks should probably be discussed in a different post, but for this one I'll use the example of customizations. If you've created a project tracking solution in SharePoint, what's the actual cost in IT time and loss of productivity? So now I'm getting to the answer. When hybrid is done right, it doesn't affect you. The new hybrid experience, combining SharePoint 2016 and Office 365 is designed to be seamless.

The next time IT says, “let’s go hybrid,” you should push back and ask why? Does that serve my business requirements and how will I use the two systems together.

Debunking Hybrid SharePoint 2016 Myths

There is a widespread perception that creating a hybrid on-premises and cloud environment using Microsoft SharePoint is complicated and costly. This is far from the truth. This eBook argues that your worries about hybrid need to be debunked, and shows you how to successfully implement hybrid SharePoint 2016 and Office 365 environments for your organization.

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Adam Levithan 2018

Adam is a Group Program Manager of Secure Collaboration at Exostar and a Microsoft MVP advocating for collaboration by connecting business needs with the right technology. Prior to Exostar, Adam was a Product Manager for Migration at a market leading ISV and a Practice Lead for Office 365 in a cutting-edge Microsoft Consulting firm. Over the last decade Adam has been responsible for moving customers to the cloud, designing and implementing information architecture (SharePoint Farm and content) and increasing user adoption. Adam is an ongoing member of the SharePoint Saturday DC coordinating committee and active speaker at many national events.

Written By: Adam Levithan