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Questions to ask a SharePoint consultant

A simple search of Google shows up hundreds of IT support companies that claim to be experts in SharePoint, but with such a complex and feature rich system there is a danger that your business will select the wrong partner from the start. This could result in delays in deployment, slow adoption by staff, or even worse, a significant financial cost to your business.

Over the years, igroup has worked with hundreds of companies to ensure that their SharePoint deployment meets business objectives and delivers a significant return on investment. More and more we are now working with companies who have selected the wrong support partner and are looking to fix what they have and see the benefits of SharePoint.

Today we look at the six key questions you should look to ask any SharePoint consultant before you think about working with them.

What SharePoint solutions do you offer?

Many consultancy businesses will look to recommend and sell just one solution. Their aim is to achieve a one size fits all SharePoint implementation so that they can use existing templates and apps. For some companies this may be enough, but as every business operates in a slightly different way this is unlikely to be the one that is best suited for your business.

In considering a SharePoint consultant you should look for the one who takes the time to look at your objectives and requirements, has worked with different SharePoint solutions and will present ideas tailored specifically for your business.

What will you do to understand my business?

SharePoint is not just as simple as loading the software to magically improve business performance. It will need to be customised to fit the exact needs of your business and to do this the right SharePoint consultant should run a series of workshops and collect information on your current systems, business processes, future plans and objectives.

Once they have gathered as much information as possible from all stakeholders, they will better understand your business and be able to advise on the right SharePoint solution that will achieve your goals.

Do you have experience with a similar company to mine?

Experience is where it really counts. Any SharePoint consultant that you talk to should be able to show experience of similar companies to your own. Experience will help them guide you through planning and deployment of SharePoint and enable them to steer you away from issues they have already encountered. More importantly, as they have worked with similar companies before, the process of identifying the right solution should be quicker and give a return sooner.

Can you support an existing SharePoint deployment?

Many companies already use SharePoint but are looking for a consultant that will help them get the most from it. Consultants should be willing and able to support an existing deployment rather than immediately recommend a brand-new set up which will cost you considerably more money and time to implement.

Can you demo SharePoint?

A good consultant will always answer this question with a yes. The power and scale of SharePoint means that explaining what it can do, who it can be used by, and the likely return on investment can only really be shown in a demo.

In addition, in order to get different stakeholder buy in it is often necessary to customise each demo to the audience, this way when it comes to create the specification and plan deployment everyone has had input.

Have you worked with third party tools?

SharePoint on its own is a powerful tool but to get the most benefit out of it, you want to work with a consultant who can help you solve problems. Third party apps and tools are a key part of any SharePoint specification and the right consultant will be able to advise which one already solves one of your problems.

If you take the time to ask the six questions the specialist SharePoint team at igroup have outlined then you will be well on the way to finding the right consultant for your business and ensure that your deployment improves collaboration, increases productivity and gives a great return on investment.

If your business is looking for a qualified consulting partner who can help with using SharePoint in your business contact a member of the igroup team on 0203 697 0302.

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