A few weeks ago I presented the opening keynote at Congres SharePoint 2016 in the Netherlands. The keynote played off Microsoft’s re-embrace of SharePoint this year (e.g., The Future of SharePoint!) and was entitled “Your Future with SharePoint?” In preparing for the talk I reviewed all of the guidance I could find about getting business value from SharePoint over the years (including the books and reports I have written), and a synthesis of this was the main focus of my talk.
I began, however, with a look back at SharePoint over recent years, noting the following themes in each year …
– from the 2012 AIIM report on SharePoint:  the biggest issue is the lack of expertise to maximise the usefulness of SharePoint, and  in only 8% of firms are decisions about SharePoint made by a business systems advisory group.
– the key message from Microsoft was that SharePoint 2013 was the last on-premises edition; organisations should move to the cloud.
– the deployment process for SharePoint was noted to be elaborate and time consuming, and in many cases hard to complete.
– both Forrester and AIIM said users weren’t adopting SharePoint and didn’t like the SharePoint experience.
– Microsoft’s guidance was to use SharePoint for public facing internet sites.
– success with SharePoint appears to be about sales numbers, not actual effective use.
– a Gartner analyst recommended that Microsoft should “kill SharePoint” because nobody likes it, it’s too hard to use, and too hard to manage.
– Forrester said that organisations probably won’t continue to invest in SharePoint.
– the sense was that while end users disliked SharePoint, IT pros liked it a lot.
– SharePoint is too often approached as an IT delivery project, not a business one.
– Microsoft is de-emphasising the SharePoint brand name (remember the outcry after the SharePoint Conference 2014 at how little the word “SharePoint” was used during the event?)
– Office 365 is the place to be; the version of SharePoint after 2013 will be the last one.
– AIIM said that users still aren’t embracing SharePoint.
– Microsoft changed its guidance of public facing internet sites; don’t use SharePoint – use Sitecore instead.
– Microsoft revamped its messaging –  SharePoint Server 2016 will not be the last on-premises version, and  hybrid is a good strategy – take a mixed approach to SharePoint with some on-premises and some in SharePoint Online
– SharePoint has a bright future!!!!
– Microsoft is committed to SharePoint Server
– Hybrid is still good – use the right mix of Office 365 and SharePoint on-premises
– The SharePoint brand is re-established / re-celebrated in Office 365
– Microsoft introduced a streamlined UI, a simpler experience, and even a mobile app (finally)
In looking at the above data points, it is clear that Microsoft has pivoted on its love for / embrace of / direction with SharePoint. However, I would argue that all of these statements are statements of fact (“that” statements) which exist outside of how an organisation makes use of SharePoint. In other words, it appears clear that Microsoft has a plan for the future of SharePoint, but what should organisations do in planning their future with SharePoint?
Are statements of “that” enough?