So SharePoint 2013 has finally been officially announced. The community is now busy downloading the files, firing up virtual machines and evaluating the product. There is lots to be learnt and all kinds of new features to be discovered. What will certainly be interesting is how quickly businesses migrate to the new platform. From my own personal experience, when SharePoint 2010 was released, many clients chose to stay with the current version for a number of months. Will SharePoint 2013 be any more tempting?

It of course depends on the type of organization, their IT setup and, of course, their requirements. But it also depends how committed they are to the cloud. Even this early on it is clear that Microsoft has embraced the cloud (Office365, Live and Skydrive) in all aspects of this new Office release.

The desktop suite is tied to the cloud, saves files there by default, and logs users in automatically when they fire up Word. You don’t need to pay for a Office365 subscription to use this, and it is doubtful it is mandatory, but it is certainly going to be pushed at you.

In the Cloud vs. On-Premises

Users of SharePoint Online have a much clearer upgrade path and don’t really have anything to worry about. Details aren’t really clear yet, but Office365 (and SharePoint Online) have gradually been upgraded since their launch last year. One would assume that this will continue once the new Office365 (and SharePoint Online 2013) are "released to manufacturing."

On-premises users of SharePoint have a much bigger decision to make, and more traditional upgrade options. Early commentators suggest that the full locally installed version of SharePoint has seen slightly less focus than the cloud version. The biggest areas of improvement are web content management, enterprise content management and search.

This also seems to suggest that no significant changes under the hood have been made, and this has been in part confirmed by the developer videos on MSDN. So a relatively simple upgrade path from SharePoint 2010 would seem likely.

Third Party Solutions

If all else fails, then third party tools are already making themselves available. SharePoint has always had a vibrant third part community, and Microsoft have worked closely with them on this new release. MetaVis are one example, and have already announced compatibility with their own migration tools. Expect the rest of the industry to follow quickly.

Editor's Note: To read more thoughts on SharePoint by Chris Wright:

-- 3 Things Windows 8 Can Teach SharePoint 2012