Home|Nintex Blog|How to Decide Between SharePoint On-Premises and SharePoint Online

How to Decide Between SharePoint On-Premises and SharePoint Online

You’ve probably felt the fever pitch around the push to the cloud.

While the cloud isn’t just a passing trend, there are still so many variables that influence how and when you should migrate your IT applications and platforms to the cloud. Take your SharePoint platform, for example: SharePoint Online might not be the best fit for your organization.

But what factors should you consider to make the best decision?

There are three key insights every IT leader should consider when deciding whether or not to migrate from SharePoint on-premises to SharePoint Online. And hybrid may be the right choice.

Learn how to easily design and deploy hybrid workflows that can interact between on-premises and cloud applications on our Nintex for SharePoint 2016 page.

Why Is This Decision So Important?

Suppose you’re an IT leader staring down the decision of whether to migrate to SharePoint Online. SharePoint is likely more than an internal workhorse for your organization. Would migrating to SharePoint Online trigger a cascade of pain across your organization?

If migration is too painful, can you continue with SharePoint on-premises? Is there a middle path?

Gartner analysts Karen M. Shegda and Jeffrey Mann applied a business lens in a recent report that addresses key factors that companies should consider when deciding between on-prem and the cloud.

Here’s a list of the top three insights you’ll want to remember throughout the decision-making process:

1.  You Can Get Creative with Configuration

According to the authors of the Gartner report, with SharePoint Online you need to know how to customize Office 365 without full access to the entire infrastructure –  you have to design and customize workflows without code.

This may feel like a substantial difference, but it’s more feasible than you think and shouldn’t keep you from closing the door on SharePoint Online.

2.  You’ll Learn How to Ace Data Security

Another big trend overtaking community conversation: compliance and data security. On this note, while Microsoft Office is introducing features that enable document and content management practices, you’ll still need knowledge around proper set-up and implementation of processes, policies and content management best practices.

This is a step in a safer direction. Best practice is to dedicate effective management to facilitating compliance with your entire organization and vendors.

Another important note mentioned in the report: It may be safest to keep cordoning off certain data to stay on-premises while considering the cloud for all else.

3.  You Can Be Proactive with Your Technology Future  

While the cloud sets you up with a more flexible user experience when it comes to collaboration and productivity anywhere and on pretty much any device, you actually need to draw out your technology roadmap well in advance before you even touch the cloud.

With SharePoint on-prem, you could re-start and re-launch when new versions are rolled out. That’s not the case with cloud.

Think of it this way: You can re-image the server, you can’t re-image SharePoint Online. The configuration piece – due to limitations – requires thorough upfront planning to ensure that you’re buying the right plan, number of seats, and capabilities. Sure, you can easily change it up, but that doesn’t exactly make for a clean and pleasant deployment and end user experience.

What This All Means

All that said, there is a larger level of risk in deciding what content should be migrated to the cloud versus what should be left behind on the on-prem server.

The key is to bring everyone to the table: Line-of-Business decision makers, process owners, risk analysts, business analysts, admins, and end users. All of these folks need to be at the table chattering about this before you can budge.

It’s like no migration without representation.

Check out the Nintex for SharePoint 2016 page to help you decide between taking the plunge with SharePoint Online or sticking with on-prem or embracing hybrid.


Click here for your free 30-day trial of the full Nintex Workflow Platform.


Eric Harris

Nintex Technology Partner Evangelist Eric Harris is a technology enthusiast at heart and loves solving problems. He enjoys working with Nintex and helping people understand how to better automate processes. Follow him on Twitter @EHarris04

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