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It is always hard to gauge who is using SharePoint, what they are using it for and what version they are using. Anything that is known about usage patterns, comes from third-party surveys as Microsoft has never been very forthcoming with information like that. However, what has been confirmed over the years from studies like the joint, Sharegate, Hyperfish and Nintex of 2018 that showed that even at that stage there was a huge increase in the number enterprises that were moving to the online version through Office 365. It also showed that, like previous years and other studies that SharePoint 2010 was one of the most successful editions that Microsoft ever released.

Bye Bye SharePoint 2010

2010 was introduced to users in May 2010 and was widely popular with such features as with the addition of PowerShell support, Office Ribbon and Sandbox solutions. The Office Ribbon was launched with Office Suite 2007. However, this month, Mark Kashman, senior product manager on the Microsoft SharePoint team, in a blog post confirmed that the countdown to the discontinuation of support has now begun and SharePoint 2010 will reach end-of-life (EOL) in October 2020. This means that there will be no more upgrades, no more security patches and 2010 will become less and less reliable posing a risk to any enterprise that continues to us it.

Microsoft, as any enterprise that uses its products will know, has been urging enterprises to move online to Office 365 for all kinds of things, SharePoint included. So, in the fact of the upcoming EOL of SharePoint, what should enterprises do? Hunter Willis is product marketing manager at Jersey City-based AvePoint dealing with SharePoint 2010. He pointed out that every organization facing SharePoint 2010 EOL will be making a choice with consequences whether they act or not.

Opportunity And Disruption

For many IT admins the end of extended support will be a welcome opportunity to clean up their environments and have the leverage to demand their organization to shift to a more modern platform like SharePoint 2019 or Office 365. In this respect, for those that decide to undertake a migration, Office 365 has had many years to prove itself as a stable and secure platform. “The recently accelerated adoption rates of even highly regulated industries to Office 365 should be enough evidence to encourage organizations to move to the cloud. If it’s secure and compliant enough for major financial institutions, chances are it’s going to work for you too,” he said.

He added that most organizations that haven’t moved from SharePoint 2010 at this point have a pretty good reason. Typically, this is due to security regulations or important customizations that are central to their operations. These organizations need to commit to a thorough discovery process because those customizations are what will trip up your migration budgets and timelines.

Sergey Korolev is SharePoint Project Coordinator at Itransition, a Denver-based software development company. He said that for some users of SharePoint 2010 the EOL of SharePoint 2010 is going to create problems. “Basically, it means that they will have to move from their current platform and make an important decision of whether to stay with SharePoint or implement an alternative platform,” he said.

Related Article: Microsoft's Top Ten SharePoint Online Features

On-premises Vs. Online

He argues that when a company decides to keep the SharePoint Server deployment, they must choose between hosting their intranet on-premises or adopting SharePoint Online/Office 365/Microsoft 365. Those who stay with SharePoint Server must be ready for a multi-step migration or look for third-party tools and assistance to move directly to SharePoint 2016 or 2019.

Those that decide to move to Office 365 have different problems. “Those who opt for the cloud suite will need to rebuild their infrastructure, and what's more important, to rethink their approach to customizing, using, and managing their intranets,” he said.

Such a shift requires investment, so companies must budget for the migration, as well as elaborate on the plan of the platform's further development and adoption. The latter is critical for Office 365/Microsoft 365 owners due to the complex structure of the suites packed with over two dozen applications. It is also important to organize the migration process thoroughly so that it doesn't affect business operations and collaboration.

That said, there is also an optimistic aspect of the SharePoint 2010 retirement. This is a great moment for companies to start using a more powerful version of the platform and get broader capabilities for enterprise collaboration and business process automation. There is a huge difference between SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2019 or Office 365, and employees will be happy to work with a more attractive, mobile-friendly and powerful platform.

So, what should enterprises do? Dave Jones, VP of Marketing at San Francisco-based AODocs said that with the timer now ticking down, organizations have two choices when SharePoint 2010 reaches EOL: stay on premise, or migrate to the cloud. If you plan to stay on-premises with SharePoint, organizations will have to perform multiple migrations to newer versions of the solution, opening themselves up to great risk and making a great investment.  He too believes that a move to the cloud is a much safer option as it’s more secure, more agile, more efficient, and more scalable. If an org is still using SharePoint 2010, it’s time to invest resources in weighing options between the cloud and staying on premise and, starting the migration process.

However, enterprise users should note that if your organization has limited customization, it is best to move to SharePoint Online. If you have done a lot of customization, or you are a public-facing company and want to stay on-premises, prepare to move to SharePoint server 2013. Later, you need to make one or two jumps to make it to the 2016 or 2019 server. Why not migrate directly? It can create pitfalls and require manual labor to overcome.

Changing Platforms

There is a third option. if you can afford to move to some other platform, you can look at its alternatives. In the past years, few companies have launched their alternatives to SharePoint 2010.  Chelsea Brown is Las Vegas-based cyber security consultant. and founder of Digital Mom Talk, a digital security compnay protecting the privacy of children.  She says there are other platforms and other software that organizations should consider. Start with searching for a replacement software like Slack, Bitrix24, or Alfresco that is compatible with all your current SharePoint plugins, associated software and systems. “This ensures that you're not wasting money on products you've already purchased. There are other options out there, but these are ones that come to mind. Once you've found your replacement software, start all current and new projects on the new software” she said.

Let employees know they can access SharePoint files only but should stop using the software for current projects. Next, integrate the other software applications you used with SharePoint to the new software. This ensures that your projects and things will all be on the current system for the employees to use. The last thing to do is back up all the files you currently have in SharePoint and move them onto a secure hard drive or server for backs as needed. This way, if you need access to anything you previously had in SharePoint, you will have access to it.