Microsoft SharePoint is the industry’s most versatile content management solution. With it, you can create lists, sites, web applications, intranets, and so much more. Implementing SharePoint can be a massive undertaking; hiring the right SharePoint consultant is key to a successful project.
In this guide, we will discuss 5 key things to address when looking for a SharePoint consulting firm. Following these steps will help you make the most out of your IT investment.
1. Determine Your Requirements
Figure out the problem that you want SharePoint to solve; the need that SharePoint will meet. Does your organization plan to use SharePoint as a document management solution? Will SharePoint serve as you company’s intranet? Conduct a brainstorming session with your project stakeholders, ask these questions (and others), and come up with a list of high-level requirements. Having a list of requirements allows you to better articulate your needs to a SharePoint consultant.
2. Review Certifications and Experience
The SharePoint consulting firms that you consider should have consultants and developers certified in SharePoint. There are 2 SharePoint certifications to look for: Microsoft Certified System Engineer(MCSE): SharePoint and Microsoft Certified System Developer(MCSD): SharePoint Applications.
Along with certifications, consultants must have experience implementing SharePoint in a variety of environments. That experience should include designing SharePoint architecture and developing SharePoint applications.
3. Interview Consultants
A consulting firm may have the SharePoint certifications and experience implementing it; but are they a good fit for your organization? Since this will be a long-term partnership, communication between you and the consultant should be clear from the start. Make sure the consultant can answer your questions — in plain English, not technical jargon — and asks you plenty of questions about your environment.
Questions to consider asking a SharePoint consultant include:
- What Types of Solutions Do They Provide?
- How Do They Gather Requirements?
- Can They Provide Hosting and Infrastructure?
- Will They Provide Training and Documentation?
- Can They Provide Ongoing Technical Support?
4. Ask For References and Check Them
Don’t be afraid to ask for references from the SharePoint consulting firm you’re considering for your project. A good consulting firm should have 3-4 references to provide you. With references, you can find out if the firm delivers projects on time, and on budget; and how well they work with others.
5. Discuss Contract Terms
Your contract, at a minimum, must cover the following terms: costs, hours, deliverables, and handling of outside expenses. There should be a clause in the contract that protects your company’s intellectual properly. Additionally, a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement should be included in the contract.
Bringing in a consultant to implement SharePoint is a huge investment. Your company and the SharePoint consultancy you hire will be in partnership for 6 months, 1 year, or longer depending on the project scope. Picking the right consultant from the beginning will save you time, effort, and ultimately money.