As we approach the end of 2015, I’ve taken some time throughout my travels to reflect on the past year. Overall, it’s been a great one for the enterprise software industry and AvePoint specifically, with many accomplishments from our global team worthy of celebration – including significant continued growth and being named the 2015 Microsoft Partner of the Year for Collaboration and Content.
In light of those accomplishments and trends we saw across the industry throughout the year, here are three of my biggest takeaways from 2015:
2015 was the Year Microsoft Got its Cool Back
2015 marked Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s second year of leadership, but changes to the organization’s approach have already been dramatic. It’s now safe to say: Microsoft is cool again. This has a lot to do with the company’s attitude toward openness and willingness to play nice within the global technology ecosystem – which is no longer a one platform, one device world. For instance, the Delve mobile app version launched for iOS and Android back in April while there is still no version for Windows Phone available (AvePoint MyWorld can help you out there). In September, we saw Nadella give a keynote (including a demo from an iPhone, no less) at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference, cementing the partnership between the two former rival organizations.
This shift in perception has allowed Microsoft to better focus on its strengths and deliver real innovation in both the cloud and consumer spaces. As the number one productivity company in the world, this new attitude toward openness is quickly cementing Microsoft Office as the centerpiece that all other cloud infrastructure and mobile productivity applications are built around. As a leading ISV supporting SharePoint both on-premises in the cloud, we are proud to grow alongside Microsoft and deliver products that make the Microsoft Cloud even better.
The Cloud is Growing, and it’s Growing Fast
And speaking of which – 2015 was predictably another year of rapid growth for the cloud. In a blog post I wrote last month, I discussed how the acquisition of EMC by Dell back in October was seen by many as emblematic of the end of an era for on-premises tech giants as they give way to innovators born in the cloud. Meanwhile, according to Gartner, the majority of the $149.9 billion estimated to be spent on enterprise application software in 2015 will go toward Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – causing ZDNet to declare SaaS as “the status quo.”
We had to look no further than our own business to see this is the truth, as our Azure-based SaaS solution for Office 365 management – AvePoint Online Services – now helps manage the platform for more than 3 million users worldwide. We’re proud to be one of Microsoft’s top partners in the cloud, and our SaaS offering is already hosted across six Azure data centers worldwide, including the new Azure Government and Melbourne data center in Australia. As our customers look to drive down costs, boost productivity, and manage increasing amounts of organizational data, we’re dedicated to supporting and improving Microsoft’s cloud and hybrid story.
Hybrid is Growing, Too
Despite all of the justifiable buzz around SaaS and a clear shift toward the cloud, that hybrid part of the story is also incredibly important. For many reasons – not the least of which are regulatory – certain organizations will need to keep specific workloads on premises. IDC predicts that the market for hybrid cloud will grow to $84 billion by 2019. In our own business, we continue to see a great need for solutions that help customers with on-premises SharePoint data protection and management. The buzz around SharePoint 2016 is also building significantly as we approach general availability during the first quarter of the next year. So while all of the noise may be around the cloud, the reality is that on premises and hybrid environments still matter. Fortunately, we’re here to support our customers no matter what scenario works best for them.
2015 proved over and over that we are in an incredibly exciting time in the enterprise productivity space. The cloud and new ways of working have taken a foothold, and 2016 will no doubt be another year of significant disruption and fast innovation. We look forward to continually supporting you in the year ahead, and on behalf of everyone at AvePoint, I wish you a wonderful holiday and a happy New Year!