As Microsoft continues its strong messaging around Office 365 and the transformation of how work gets done, SharePoint MVP Robert Bogue—“The SharePoint Shepherd”—breaks it down for SPTechReport, and discusses what needs to be considered before making the decision to move to the cloud, stay on-premise, or go hybrid.

From where he sits—as someone who has “been in IT long enough that all the things important to SharePoint, I’ve done”—it’s more a question of what can be done in the cloud and what cannot.

Take custom development. “The more integration you need for SharePoint, the more likely it is you’ll keep it on-premise,” he said, noting that most of his clients are either on-premise or hybrid. “They go to hybrid to offload commodity work,” he said.

But there’s more to it than that, he explained. “We’ve switched over to the idea that we’ll program everything in JavaScript” for Office 365 applications. “Fundamentally, that model assumes everyone’s OK with JavaScript. But the right question is, ‘Have any of you written more than 200 lines of JavaScript at a time?’ ”

JavaScript was not created for thousand-line applications, and as such, it might not be the best solution for organizations doing heavy application creation and customization, which would leave them better served with an on-premise server.

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s answer—TypeScript—is not mainstream yet. “This,” Bogue said, “is a problem, because you can’t build enterprise apps with JavaScript. The tooling is not there because the language doesn’t allow for it.”

The new app model, he declared, has a lot of problems, some with the assumptions Microsoft has made, some created by the skill sets of developers themselves. “It’s a radical change to how we think about SharePoint. It started as a portal to bring things together, but the app model is tearing things apart,” he said.

“A typical Web page has 25 Web Parts or more,” he continued. “It’s difficult to do this kind of integration with the new app model. Microsoft sold a model that says you can do whatever you want, when in fact it [now] does almost nothing you want.”

SharePoint 2010 shined with composite apps, but in 2013, you can’t do them. “You cannot bring data into one site,” said Bogue. “Every app you install is isolated from everything else in the system.”

Then there is publishing and content by search, which he said is not fully supported in Office 365. “So, your branding options might be limited,” he noted. “Companies that want an intranet to look like their website are struggling to do this in Office 365, if they’re succeeding at all.”

Another area where Office 365 does not support on-premise features is records management, said Bogue. “Companies with sensitive information will stay on-premise,” he said. “We’ll see a fragmentation where people will do hybrid. They’ll push their team sites into the cloud but keep records management local.”

Microsoft has added Yammer into Office 365 for social adoption and engagement, but Yammer is not included in on-premise SharePoint 2013. “But the reality is, social does not solve your collaboration problem,” Bogue said. “There will still be information hoarding. The tool does not change the culture of an organization. You have to change the organization first. But people think [social tooling] is the silver bullet based on how Microsoft is selling it.”

Robert Bogue is a SharePoint MVP. He’ll be speaking at SPTechCon San Francisco, April 22-25, on these topics and others.