Microsoft has moved its focus to the cloud and is actively promoting its cloud based services over its on premise software.
Microsoft’s “Cloud First” approach means that if you are running Dynamics CRM online, SharePoint 2013 as part of Office 365 or Azure services, you will be the first to get updated software in order to promote deployment to the cloud.
In our business, we see many customers adopting Office 365 and Dynamics CRM through cloud services as part of a broader IT strategy to reduce complexity, require less specialized expertise in house and to put technology more easily in the hands of business. This is especially true with customers of ours who have distributed businesses as the cloud offers a turn key solution for those customers with many offices.
A good example is Microsoft’s Power BI offering, which is current in Beta but expected to be released sometime next year. The beta version is ONLY available through Office 365 and the release will be made first available to Office 365 customers. It isn’t clear yet whether Power BI will ever be fully available for on premise customers.
So what does that mean for customers who have a specific need for an on premise solution? This isn’t clear yet but it likely means at a minimum that organizations with on premise installations will wait longer for releases and that some features may not be available at all as Microsoft promotes cloud based models.