Are You A Cloud Laggard?

Back in 2001 while working for a startup in Silicon Valley, I helped design, build, and deploy a dedicated cloud collaboration platform. As we started to deploy first to our founding investors and then to their partners, there was much push-back on moving critical business data to the cloud. No matter how robust our platform, the certifications we achieved, or the robustness of our service-level agreements (SLAs), many (most) companies at that time struggled with the idea of moving to the cloud.

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

In 21 years of working with SaaS solutions, one thing that I’ve learned is that, underneath it all, moving to the cloud is a transition, not a flip of a switch. I still run into organizations that stand very firm on their belief that the cloud is not secure enough, that the value is not there for them to move — or that compliance and regulatory requirements limit their ability to move. I do believe that, eventually, all of our systems and data will be in the cloud – regardless of industry or requirements. I’m just not going to put a projected date on that. It might take some organizations 10 years or longer to make that move.

Look at how long organizations stayed on Windows XP. SharePoint on-prem, in my mind, is the modern-day XP of many organizations. It’s going to be around for a long, long time. If you read through my 2017 research on the topic, you’ll find that many of the customer and vendor statements about why some organizations will remain on-prem are still largely true.

With customers I work with, there are three primary reasons for not moving all production systems to the cloud:

  • Lack of control (perceived or real) over the user experience
  • Lack of governance/administration parity between online and on-prem
  • Performance

Microsoft and its large partner ecosystem have been able to handle the first two more readily than the third, which can have huge customer dependencies — but all three are all issues that organizations must address as part of their planning efforts.

Factors that could increase the speed of movement to the cloud include Microsoft’s plans for future on-prem releases (no current plans to sunset SharePoint on-prem) and increased support for hybrid solutions (which they are providing).

However, these same hybrid features could slow these laggard customer migrations and upgrades as organizations with large on-prem environments and heavy customizations could remain right where they are — while also taking advantage of some of the latest cloud features through connectors and other hybrid scenarios.

In short, while the vast majority of net-new collaboration deployments are happening in the cloud, people ARE still installing SharePoint on-premises. Continued investments in hybrid will make the future transition lighter, which is great, but there doesn’t seem to be a huge rush for the laggards out there.

What has been your experience?

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and M365 Apps & Services MVP, and an award-winning product marketer and technology evangelist, based in Silicon Slopes (Lehi), Utah. He is the Director of North American Partner Management for leading ISV Rencore (, leads content strategy for TekkiGurus, and is an advisor for both revealit.TV and WellnessWits. He hosts the monthly #CollabTalk TweetJam, the weekly #CollabTalk Podcast, and the Microsoft 365 Ask-Me-Anything (#M365AMA) series.