Deep Dive: SharePoint Consulting

SharePoint Consulting: Find an expert consultant to ensure a successful project.

True SharePoint experts help:

  • Eliminate the mystery and confusion that surrounds SharePoint;
  • Due diligence discovery to determine best SharePoint feature fit;
  • Devise a customized SharePoint strategy;
  • Train managers and team on webpart best practices
  • Document how to use SharePoint strategy to develop future features

SharePoint is a complex program with a vast range of features and configuration options. Most enterprises make use of SharePoint’s document management tools, however; the reality is that no two businesses structure their SharePoint intranets identically or use SharePoint’s many features in the same way since their needs are almost always different. As such, it’s common for organizations to hire SharePoint consulting firms to help them create usage-strategies that make sense within the context of their own needs.

What Is a SharePoint Consultant?

In the simplest of terms, a SharePoint consultant is a SharePoint expert. The biggest challenge businesses face when adopting SharePoint is their limited familiarity with the software. They may have experience with Microsoft Office—which integrates with SharePoint—but they are beginners as far as SharePoint itself is concerned. SharePoint has both a shallow and steep learning curve. It’s shallow because, by design, SharePoint makes it very easy to setup new sites and start immediately loading documents. It’s steep, because understanding the best practices that make a SharePoint installation successful over the long term requires a business to understand the full feature set available and how to weave their internal document and communication needs with the full suite of SharePoint features.   First time adopters of SharePoint will often feel overwhelmed after the euphoria of installation wears off.

True SharePoint experts help eliminate the mystery and confusion that surrounds the software that is often experienced by customers.

A good consultant will hold a series of discovery meetings to help an enterprise assess its needs, determine which SharePoint features best meet those needs, and devise a customized SharePoint strategy. Of course the consultant should also train the enterprise’s managers and team members on how to use the strategy they develop as well as all relevant SharePoint features.

To learn more about SharePoint consultants and what they do, click here.

How to Identify a SharePoint Expert

Every SharePoint consultant or consulting firm should have an in-depth knowledge of SharePoint’s out-of-the-box features, but should also be familiar with third-party tools that can be used to enhance the SharePoint experience. He or she should know how to use SharePoint Designer and other tools to help clients create custom workflows and applications for SharePoint. Finally, a trusted SharePoint consultant should have a consistent delivery methodology for all clients—one that is scalable to meet the needs of different-sized enterprises, modular for different industries, and repeatable enough to guarantee strong results each time.

Beyond having the skills, knowledge, experience, and proven methodologies to help enterprises adopt SharePoint, a true SharePoint expert is also a strong team player.

When organizations hire SharePoint experts for help with SharePoint implementation, they should look for a collaborative member who asks lots of questions, shows interest in what the enterprise does, and takes ownership in making sure every team member knows how to use SharePoint’s features and processes.

Click here to find out more about the common characteristics of a qualified SharePoint expert.

How to select a SharePoint Consulting Firm

Identifying whether a SharePoint consultant is a true “SharePoint expert” is the first step any enterprise should take when hiring a person or firm to help with their SharePoint implementation.

This step involves a due diligence process—one where companies do their homework on prospective SharePoint firms by seeking references from past or current clients, looking at the employee competencies, and more.

Once the due diligence steps are complete, a face-to-face meeting should be held. Meeting with the project delivery team helps businesses determine how a consultant will interact with the group and ultimately handle an implementation project. Also:

  • How much of the implementation does the consultant predict he or she will be able to accomplish with out-of-the-box SharePoint tools?
  • How much customization will be necessary?
  • Will the consultant or their firm provide ongoing support after completion?

Finally, enterprises should make sure they have detailed SLAs in place with the SharePoint consultants or consulting firms they choose to hire. Having a contract that outlines the services—as well as a timeline for the project—will help avoid misalignment or even total confusion later in the process. To learn more about selecting a SharePoint consulting service, refer to the four-part series linked below:

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What Are the Most Important SharePoint Consulting Services?

The importance of specific consulting services varies from one organization to the next. In most cases, the first step that a SharePoint consulting team will take after being hired for an implementation project is to plan the architecture.

Most companies decide to use SharePoint because they are looking for the best way to organize their information to fit well within the flow of their operations.

Therefore, the SharePoint consultant’s first job is to understand how the company currently organizes its information and how it is used day to day. He or she will then be able to create an effective SharePoint site architecture that meshes well with the company’s data management preferences. Several key architectural elements may include:

  • Building a SharePoint Intranet/extranet portal configuration
  • Content management and collaboration enablement
  • Forms-based processes
  • Search solutions
  • Site taxonomy
  • Module customization for specific customer use-cases

Once the architecture is in place, the SharePoint consultant’s focus should shift to other responsibilities such as making assets searchable via metadata tagging and applying a permissions structure to different areas of the SharePoint site to ensure proper data access for the enterprise.

Finally, the SharePoint consultant firm must train their clients on how to navigate and use the architectures they have built. This passing of the baton helps flatten out the SharePoint learning curve and makes sure that enterprises are ready to hit the ground running with their newly implemented intranets.

Click here to read more about how to select SharePoint services.

SharePoint Consulting Rates

At 2Plus2, we are proud to offer our SharePoint consulting expertise to enterprises and businesses of all industries and sizes. Our SharePoint consulting rates vary depending on the size, scope, and complexity of the project at hand. As mentioned previously, every SharePoint implementation is a bit different, and our fees vary accordingly.

However, regardless of rates and fees, we begin each client relationship by offering a free, zero obligation consultation. At these meetings, our SharePoint experts are happy to talk about anything, from developing new SharePoint architectures from scratch to developing workflows and other custom solutions for existing SharePoint implementations.

Go online to schedule a free consultation with our team or call 510-652-7700 today.