In his opening remarks during the Keynote presentation for SharePoint Conference 2014, Jared Spataro, General Manager at Microsoft®, claimed 60% of the Fortune 500 have signed up for corporate subscriptions to Office 365.
Perhaps this is a big number, and perhaps it is not. Many businesses will simply sign up for a new service from an important ISV like Microsoft, as a matter of course. But the extent to which they will actually deploy important corporate data to a cloud system like Office 365, is another question.
My conversations with contacts at the conference produced some interesting information, with regards to how enterprise IT organizations, in 2014, are apparently quantifying return on investment in a service like SharePoint. I think it’s safe to say the same type of numbers should apply to the SharePoint Online component of the Office 365 offer.
The number I heard amounted to a satisfactory return on investment of somewhere around 8 minutes per day, per SharePoint user/CAL. In my opinion this is a very low number, which reflects a substantially reduced expectation of just what a service like SharePoint/SharePoint Online can be expected to deliver to a large community of users.
So if 60% of the Fortune 500 are subscribing, already, to Office 365, and their average user makes use of the service approximately 8 minutes per day, I think it’s safe to say the service is just marginally significant for consumers at this point in time.
Two looming opportunities could deliver much higher levels of consumer engagement. Should Microsoft convince enterprise IT organizations of the security of Office 365 as a mission-critical remote repository for corporate data assets then, certainly, opinion would likely change and consumer engagement on the service would certainly increase.
At the same time, the current trend towards hybrid implementations for SharePoint on premises and SharePoint Online, if it takes on more of a defined shape, completely with a set of best practices, case studies, success stories, etc., will accomplish a lot of the same objectives.
So the true impact of the 60% percentage figure Spataro cited is up to the reader to determine. But it makes sense to stay tuned on this one as Microsoft and its consumers are working rapidly to increase the utility of the service.
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