Microsoft Weighs in on SharePoint Online Questions

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On September 14th, Microsoft’s Director of Product Management for SharePoint, Jared Spataro, hosted a public Facebook chat where he fielded questions and made clarifications about anything and everything SharePoint.  As you might imagine, there was much discussion around the newest means of accessing SharePoint, SharePoint Online via Office 365.  Since this was such a hot topic, we figure that you may have some of the same questions that were raised to Jared.

While you can read the transcript from the chat online, it is a bit tricky to sift through.  To help you find the SharePoint Online details you may be looking for, we’ve weeded out the relevant questions and answers for you, ranging from background information to technical questions, here:

Q: Our company is just starting to think about the cloud. How should we be thinking about it? Anything we should be doing now to get ready for when it comes to SharePoint?

A: Here are 3 things to help you get started with Office 365:

1. Try out the new service by signing up for a free trial at

2. Choose a plan that meets your needs

3. Customize SharePoint Online to suit your business

Q: I’ve been hearing a lot about Office 365. But it sounds like it’s only for SMBs. Is there anything I can use it for as an enterprise?

A:  Office 365 is designed for businesses of all sizes, and we have plans that target small, medium, and large organizations. For more details at the feature level, I’d recommend starting here to learn more.

Q:  What’s the current retention rate of SharePoint Online? How many paying customers does Microsoft have for SharePoint Online and what’s the rate of growth?

A: Well, we don’t release details at that level for SharePoint Online or Office 365, but I can tell you that we have millions of paid users of Microsoft’s cloud productivity services, including more than 20% of the Fortune 500.

Q:  How soon can we expect to see the real muscle of SharePoint in the SharePoint Online offering; Services such as BCS, Excel Services, InfoPath Services?

A: We think there’s a lot of muscle there already. SPO includes excel services, InfoPath services, and a host of other capabilities. But it is true that FAST Search, PerformancePoint, and fully trusted code aren’t available. Rest assured that any discrepancies are a matter of timing rather than ambition. Our teams are working hard not only to make sure the best of SharePoint is available Online, but also to continue to improve the product.

Q:  I’d like to see Office 365 include a SharePoint Site Collection for the public facing web site. Currently only the “Team Site” is SharePoint, and the “Web Site” is some sort of “Office Live” thingy – or something else, but not SP.

A: SharePoint Online offers a Public Website option when creating site collections which can be used to create a Public Website. Get additional information on customizing the Public Website here.

Q: Are you planning give to SharePoint online the possibility to deploy farm solutions?

A: Not right now. Because SharePoint Online is a multi-tenant service, SharePoint server farms don’t exist in the same way as they do on-prem. There are opportunities to create solutions at the site collection level today and we’ll share some updates in the future to continue to expand the development platform of the service.

If you have any additional questions about Office 365 and SharePoint Online, ask any time!

By Socius, a SharePoint and SharePoint Online partner in Ohio, Kansas City, and California

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One question

  1. Pankaj says:

    This is useful. I would expect to see more and more Sharepoint conversations gravitating towards Sharepoint online.


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