SharePoint 2010 end of life: what it really means for your enterprise

The final days of SharePoint 2010 are upon us. In less than a year, Microsoft’s extended support for the product will expire. Although some enterprises have proactively updated or switched to an alternative digital workplace solution, the clock is ticking for organizations that continue to use SharePoint 2010 as the basis of their corporate intranet. In this blog post, we discuss the evolution of SharePoint, what the end of extended support means for your business, and alternative solutions for enterprises looking to turn ‘end of life’ into an opportunity for new beginnings.

The death of SharePoint 2010: what you need to know

  • SharePoint 2010 extended support to end on 13 Oct 2020
  • Enterprises using SharePoint 2010 for their digital workplace or otherwise will become vulnerable to security risks, compatibility issues and compliance eligibility relating to specialist industries
  • On-premise users will be forced to move to the cloud or embark on a multi-phased transition to SharePoint 2019
  • Customizations built on SharePoint 2010 will be lost. However Out-of-the-Box solutions provide a strong alternative

Paying homage to SharePoint: a development timeline

For nearly 20 years, SharePoint has played an integral role in the evolution of digital workplaces. Even here at Unily, we began as a SharePoint consultancy before evolving into a standalone digital workplace platform. According to Microsoft market research, 78% of Fortune 500 companies use SharePoint, and between 2006 and 2011, Microsoft sold over 36.5 million user licenses. Now, more than 190 million users across 200,000 customer organizations utilize SharePoint to support internal collaboration. Given the platform’s transformational impact on the world of business, it seems only fair to trace its evolution since its inception in 2001.

SharePoint 2001-2003

Microsoft’s debut version of SharePoint was essentially a web-based way for employees to share documents, something that was entirely revolutionary at the time. Within two years, use-rates heavily increased, which in turn led to requests for more advanced functionalities and customization options. While new updates were added, it wasn’t until 2007 that Microsoft introduced capabilities that would once again change the game.

SharePoint 2007

Collaboration through digital platforms reached new heights this year, thanks to the launch of SharePoint Server 2007, the third iteration of the service. This updated version enabled users to create sites as needed and streamlined collaboration between team members. Despite these improvements, SharePoint 2007 was still primarily a document management system and consequently lacked most of the communications capabilities associated with modern intranets.

SharePoint 2010-2013

The 2010 version of SharePoint enjoyed a multitude of improvements, including an enhanced user interface, new workflow options and basic social networking features. Due to these marked enhancements, many enterprises have continued to utilize SharePoint’s 2010 version for nearly a decade.

This time period also ushered in the era of cloud computing, allowing software vendors to step away from labor-intensive on-premise installations. Many newer vendors opted to focus exclusively on cloud-based intranet solutions, but Microsoft was tasked with serving both worlds. SharePoint Online was created and continuously updated to provide customers with a cloud solution, while new versions of on-premise solutions remained a separate priority. 

In late 2012, SharePoint 2013 debuted. This iteration featured a new task aggregation tool, upgraded social media functionalities, and improved search capabilities.

SharePoint 2016

The 2016 version of SharePoint debuted with many features that were already incorporated into SharePoint Online, including newer modern page support, larger file support, and data loss prevention. The 2016 version also introduced a new site type known as a Communication Site, which allowed enterprises to broadcast content to larger audiences. At the same time, Microsoft announced the end of mainstream support for SharePoint 2010 and proceeded to move this version to extended support, a near-death mode set to continue through 2020.

SharePoint 2019

Microsoft’s newest version of SharePoint launches and once again borrows many functionalities from SharePoint Online. New capabilities for the 2019 version included team and site pages, sophisticated search options, and a list and libraries experience designed to optimize common tasks.

Simultaneously, the date for the end of SharePoint 2010 is fast approaching, compelling many enterprises to rethink their platform offerings and search for new digital workplace solutions.

What enterprises using SharePoint 2010 need to know

As the timeline above illustrates, SharePoint has evolved tremendously from its document-sharing roots in the early 2000s. Given the multitude of developments and the rising prevalence of cloud-based options, many enterprises are at a loss for what their digital workplace platform should look like in the modern age. With end of life looming, it’s crunch time for decision-makers looking to move towards the intranet platforms of the future. Before making this leap, stakeholders must be up to speed on the fate of SharePoint 2010 and what can be expected following the end of extended support.

Generally, after five years of mainstream support, Microsoft transitions software to extended support. During this time, the vendor still provides security updates, but complementary support is not provided. Once extended support ends, there will be no more security patches, which in turn leaves enterprises vulnerable to attack. In the case of SharePoint 2010, organizations that continue to utilize the platform following the end of extended support will likely need to make significant investments to maintain their digital solution. This can include implementing intrusion detection systems, more advanced firewalls, network segmentation and additional security measures.

Beyond security-related expenses, these enterprises will face additional challenges such as software compatibility issues. A lack of agility and adaptability threaten to reduced employee engagement levels due to reduced user experience. Given these downsides, it’s evident that organizations that rely on SharePoint 2010 need to jump ship, quickly.

Moving away from SharePoint: What are your options?

The need for change is evident, but what comes next? Given the most common use case of SharePoint as a digital workplace platform, stakeholders have several options to consider.

 

Migrating from SharePoint 2010 options infographic

Deploy an out-of-the-box solution

A move to the cloud is pretty much inevitable, and SharePoint Online is far from the only option for stakeholders to consider. As digital workplace solutions continue to evolve, there are now more options than ever before for workplace technology. While SharePoint Online excels in document management, its rudimentary user experience is often cited as a reason for companies to consider alternative options. Out-of-the-box intranets can transform internal communications by providing users with intuitive content management systems and rich feature sets, making it easy to disseminate targeted updates quickly. Additionally, these solutions emerge as attractive SharePoint alternatives because they do not have to be fully configured in the same way. Consequently, out-of-the-box choices can be deployed more efficiently, frequently at a much lower cost.

Explore Office 365

For smaller enterprises that don’t require a central digital workplace, a second option for users keen on moving to the cloud is to migrate to Office 365 or the more comprehensive Microsoft 365. This choice gives an organization access to all of the productivity tools within Microsoft Office, including SharePoint Online. Other features include team chats, online meetings, co-authoring, and sharing files securely and social networking. There is also built-in privacy, transparency, and refined user controls.

On-premise migration

If stakeholders are reluctant to transition to a cloud-based intranet solution, it is possible to continue to utilize an on-premise option. SharePoint 2010 users can transition to a more updated version, such as SharePoint 2013 or 2016. Making this move is far from simple; migration is a time-consuming and costly process that will likely need to be repeated as new on-premise iterations emerge. Consequently, it’s best to regard these updates as a temporary fix. Ultimately, the death of SharePoint means every enterprise will need to make the leap to a cloud-based intranet solution eventually.

Benefits of an out-of-the-box cloud solution

Every stakeholder needs to reflect on their enterprise’s unique needs and internal processes when weighing digital workplace options. Although there may not be a universal best-fit choice, out-of-the-box products hosted on the cloud have their fair share of advantages, which we explore below:

Rapid deployment

High-touch digital workplaces have the power to transform employee engagement, which can, in turn, revolutionize consumer satisfaction, productivity, and revenue. Given these essential deliverables, delaying deployment can prove costly. A SaaS intranet can get up and running quickly, while a SharePoint version may require more than a year’s lead up before launch.

Cost-effective

When stakeholders invest in an out-of-the-box intranet solution, they gain access to round-the-clock third-party support and a host of additional resources. Consequently, enterprises can save thousands on provisioning, upgrading, and assistance.

Built to scale

A SaaS intranet can grow to meet the evolving needs of an enterprise with little to no disruption. An out-of-the-box intranet solution can help stakeholders make long-term accommodations regarding new infrastructure, data processing loads, and future hiring needs.

Continuous updates

Top service providers have devoted thousands of hours towards researching and developing their product, placing enterprises on the receiving end for new developments and game-changing innovations. While updating an on-premise solution can be both costly and effortful, best-in-class cloud intranet solutions are designed to evolve.

Is your enterprise ready to migrate from SharePoint 2010?

As the final countdown for existing SharePoint 2010 users continues to dwindle, the time is now to finalize your transition strategy. If you are interested in learning more about best-in-class options uniquely designed for your enterprise, get in touch with one of our digital workplace experts today.

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