Thinking about implementing a Microsoft Office 365 solution? Then you should also strongly consider hiring a consultant to guide you through the process. Why? Office 365 is constantly changing and evolving, so it’s likely that you’ll need expert help to get the greatest possible benefit out of the product. A consultant can also offer long-term strategic guidance to help you make Office 365 work for your organization, both now and in the future.
However, the field is crowded, so you’ll need to choose your consultant carefully. Here are four key things to look for in your Office 365 consultant to ensure you get the expertise you need.
1. Your consultant should understand the full spectrum of Office 365
The right consultant will understand the full spectrum of what Office 365 is and what it offers. This includes all of its complexities and components, as well as how to make them work best together. That means your consultant must understand both the infrastructure components of Office 365 – such as how it handles email and instant messaging – in addition to the business and social aspects, like Yammer, Office Groups and SharePoint Online. With this diverse understanding, a consultant can help you make the most of the features of Office 365 – and there are many.
The reality is that most Office 365 consultants have a solid grasp of the technical infrastructure but are less familiar with the business and social components. Look for a consultant who can offer both to get the best performance.
2. Your consultant should help you now… and later
Ongoing support and strategic guidance are key benefits that a consultant can offer. Unlike previous versions, Office 365 is not a static product, which means that you can end up left behind if you don’t have ongoing support.
If a consultant doesn’t recognize the importance of setting up a relationship that lasts beyond the initial install, then you need to question whether this is the right consultant for you. The right consultant will help answer the question “What does moving to Office 365 really mean for you?” and will work to ensure that your short-term and long-term goals are met.
3. Your consultant should help with migration
Can your consultant help you migrate all your content into Office 365? What about your hosted SharePoint environment, your social content or your Dropbox content? Migrating content on your own can be frustrating and time-consuming, with the risk of losing valuable information if you don’t get it right. Choose a consultant who can help with migration to ensure that the whole process runs smoothly.
4. Your consultant should understand the “ecosystem”
Does your consultant understand the entire Office 365 ecosystem? Many organizations offer software packages and tools that sit on top of Office 365, adding extra features or simplifying the user experience. Your consultant should understand this ecosystem of software so that they can find the right solution for you in every situation.
You need to do your homework when choosing a consultant to ensure that you find one who can help you with every stage of your Office 365 journey, from the initial setup to the content migration to your overall strategy. Look beyond the initial installation and carefully consider how well a consultant is positioned to help you in the long-term to make sure you get everything you need.