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Is This the Beginning of the End for SharePoint and Lync?

by Larry Cannell  |  July 23, 2012  |  5 Comments

Given that Microsoft is now saying that their focus is on delivering cloud-based offerings first, then the Office 365 Beta should provide hints as to how Office will evolve. My initial conclusion is that the Office 365 product is subsuming a number of existing Office products, whose identities are being eliminated.

In particular, Office 365’s navigation makes no mention of SharePoint or Lync, although it provides features we assume (if you look at the URLs) from these servers.

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My primary navigation menu for Office 365 (captured above) has these selections:

  • Outlook (which takes me to email)
  • Calendar (provided by Outlook.com)
  • People (contacts, also provided by Outlook.com)
  • Newsfeed (provided by SharePoint.com, a social network site that can also track activities across all of the SharePoint.com-provided features)
  • SkyDrive (provided by SharePoint.com, document libraries)
  • Sites (provided by SharePoint.com, I have the choice to go to a preconfigured team site or a public website)

There is also no mention of Lync. However, if I click the down-arrow next to my name then I am able to change my presence state (note: this only works when I am looking at my email, probably a bug in the beta).

A few questions come to mind based on this:

  • Will the identities of the Office servers (i.e., Lync, SharePoint, and possibly Exchange) will be subsumed into the Office 365 product?
  • Some brands stay within Office 365. In particular, Outlook and SkyDrive. Perhaps Yammer becomes the brand that replaces “Newsfeed”?
  • How long will it take Microsoft to resolve the inconsistencies in this unified Office experience? For example, contact cards found under the “People” tab do not link to SharePoint profiles. Office 365 has (at least) two contact cards.
  • How similar will this experience be to an on-premises installation?
  • Will Microsoft provide a unified desktop experience? The Word, Excel, and PowerPoint brands are probably too recognizable to eliminate. Others?
  • Will Microsoft merge other capabilities that cross today’s Office Server boundaries? These could include contact information (mentioned above), messages (e.g., unified message store across email, IM, and social network site), or search? Others?

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Larry Cannell
Research Director
6 years at Gartner
29 years IT industry

Larry Cannell is a Research Director in the Gartner for Technical Professionals Collaboration and Content Strategies service. Mr. Cannell covers enterprise collaboration and social software, search, content management, and open-source collaboration and content solutions. Read Full Bio


Thoughts on Is This the Beginning of the End for SharePoint and Lync?


  1. Gualter Ferreira says:

    Do you have any comments related the MS One Note?

  2. Carl Tyler says:

    Your job title says Research Director, is your research seriously based on a set of menus? I thought Gartner prided itself on their research, deep conversations with customers, reviewing detailed product plans?

    I’m not sure who you’re speaking with, but I see a very different landscape out there for Lync, it’s far from going away, at the moment I see nothing but positive things for it.

  3. Larry Cannell says:

    Carl,

    This is just a blog post where I am sharing an observation made last week when first using the Office 365 Beta. This is not a published piece of research. I think you are overreacting Carl.

    It was not my intent to say anything bad about SharePoint’s or Lync’s capabilities. Based on the way Microsoft presents these capabilities in the beta it appears to be downplaying SharePoint and Lync as brands.

    Larry

  4. Larry Cannell says:

    Gualter,

    It seems that OneNote is taking a prominent role in Office 365 as part of the pre-configured teamsite. It’s an interesting way to blend the OneNote web app into the SharePoint-provided experience.

    Larry

  5. Jeff Schertz says:

    I don’t think anyone can fault Carl for his response or say that he is ‘overreacting’ when the title of the article is a polarizing as “the beginning of the end for ”

    What type of responses might one expect with a title such as that? :)



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