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For most enterprises, the historical context of SharePoint is defined by on-premises delivery with software releases based on 3-year cycles. Enterprises have become so entrenched in this release cycle that planning cycles parallel these timeframes. However, the release of Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Azure changed much more than just these planning and release cycles. (Nadella, 2014)

Disrupting the Enterprise

Microsoft’s introduction of Microsoft 365 and SharePoint 2013 products disrupted the enterprise. Yes, many CIOs, IT Pros, and architects knew about BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) and were using cloud services like Salesforce and Box, but the development of line of business applications “inside of SharePoint” was still sacred ground as recently as 2013. Entire teams and considerable expertise was built around the on-premises, in-process model of SharePoint customization. The impact of the release of Microsoft 365 and SharePoint 2013 can be described in one obvious statement:

Microsoft’s introduction of Office365 and Microsoft Azure represent a fundamental shift to continuous delivery for their products and services that impacts feature prioritization, development, delivery, licensing, support, maintenance, and availability among many other facets.

A Cloud-Based World

Microsoft’s legacy licensing model will continue to decrease over time. CIO’s/CTO’s, IT organizations, and solution architects must determine how their use of Microsoft products, including Microsoft 365 and SharePoint, fits in a cloud-based world. The “Mobile First, Cloud First” strategy and introduction of the new App model was absolutely necessary, and Microsoft has been executing this strategy quickly. How could there be uncertainty or anxiety regarding the relevance of SharePoint and Office in the NBOS? Shouldn’t everyone be jumping for joy over this decision and direction? One would think so, but a review of recent blogs, whitepapers, and social media surrounding Microsoft’s strategy is less than glowing. It is obvious that Microsoft’s strategy has disrupted enterprise IT at all levels causing anxiety and inaction across the enterprise.


From decision makers to developers, many are asking questions like the following:

  • How do Microsoft 365 and the App model impact our technology strategy?
  • Does this new platform support our strategic objectives?
  • Is our strategy too shortsighted?
  • How must our governance change to operate on this new platform?
  • What new skills are required for me to stay relevant?
  • Is my job safe?

Although these questions are related to the above statement, the underlying theme to these questions is a corollary to the above statement.

Microsoft’s shift to a continuous delivery cycle of products and services necessarily and fundamentally changes the way CTO’s/CIO’s, IT Pros and Architects will deliver value to the business.


Microsoft’s change to a continuous release cycle is indeed a monumental shift, with far-reaching impact in the enterprise. Strategic decisions are no longer concerned with a simple purchase of a suite of product licenses, an Enterprise Agreement (EA) or Software Assurance (SA) agreement, support hours and other typical services which have an ROI time horizon of the past.

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