Microsoft SharePoint is one of the industry’s best content management solutions. But finding the right SharePoint consultant to help you navigate all the ins and outs can be difficult. You have to know what to look for, how to communicate your requirements, and, most importantly, how to justify the expense. Knowing how to hire a great SharePoint consultant is crucial to making the most out of your IT investment.
1.Look for Certifications
Microsoft offers certifications for businesses who provide technical support services. There are different levels of certifications which require customer evidence, business assessments, and credentials. Besides providing a check that a company can deliver on what they say, a Microsoft Certified Partner also gets access to forthcoming technology, including testing the latest and greatest from Microsoft
2.Identify Your Problems
Hiring a SharePoint consultant means entering into a partnership, and that includes sorting your requirements. Start with describing what problem you want to solve. Are you looking to be more efficient? Automate a workflow? Or are you simply trying to stay ahead of the mountain of data your business creates daily. By picking a business problem to solve, instead of “We want to use SharePoint,” you’re better able to communicate how a consultant can help you.
3. Move in Stages
Are you looking to get someone on full-time? Need support for a one-time project? Training? Every engagement should begin with a requirements discussion. This is where identifying your problems in business terms is beneficial. Your SharePoint consultant should ask you questions about hosting, technical resources already on-staff, and should gauge your company’s preference for complexities. At the end of your requirements gathering, your SharePoint consultant should provide a summary of your requirements, and a plan to move forward.
4. Have a Conversation
Every great partnership begins with excellent communication. When you’re feeling out potential consultants, it’s important to make sure you’re on the right page. If they start talking in techno-speak, ask them to translate. A good consultant will be able to help bridge the gap between coding and what the user sees on the back-end. Likewise, it’s important to raise a hand if something’s not making sense to you.
5. Understand Scope, Timeline, Cost: The Project Manager’s Triangle
Every project manager knows there are three points to a project: The scope of the work being done, the timeline to accomplish it, and the cost. Increase the scope, and the other two may suffer. Reduce the money, and your timeline may grow or scope may decrease. When it comes to software design, this still rings true. Software developers rely on requirements to define the scope of a project, which then informs your timeline and cost. Therefore, if a client increases the scope, they have to be prepared to adjust the timeline and cost.
Hiring a SharePoint consultant can be one of the best investments your company can make. But making sure to find the right consultant, and use them effectively, is an even better guarantee of a positive return.
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