How to make a compelling case to outsource MS Sharepoint work to experts
July 18, 2016 7:27 AM   Subscribe

This is for a company that is wanting to migrate from on-premise Sharepoint to Sharepoint Online. There's obvious benefits of cost savings to do things in-house, i.e. use IT staff who knows about MS Sharepoint to do it themselves, gain knowledge from the experience. But, what if said IT staff and colleagues are time poor and don't hold any Sharepoint certifications (despite being intelligent generalists) and don't want to take on this type of responsibility? What if this company is quasi-government and has a global footprint? (risk averse) What compelling case can we make to suggest hiring external consultants to do the job for them?

I guess what i'm looking for is 'hard' benefits:
-Most common pitfalls of doing this migration in-house (anecdotes maybe)
-Are there certain industries with guiding policies which Explicitly require a major Sharepoint work to be performed by someone holding a specific MS Certification?
-As a comparison are certain listed companies required to use certified Sharepoint experts to keep shareholders happy?
-As a comparison what do government tenders usually require from Sharepoint consultants?
-Is there anything that would make the Compliance / Risk officer want to avoid doing things internally?

I think you know where I'm going with this...

I mentioned 'hard' benefits above... in contrast, this is what I mean by 'soft' benefits:
-Exploring SharePoint options 'can be a daunting task',
-the best technical solution can only be realised by a seasoned 'guru',
-out-of-the-box or simple approaches are best as it 'saves time' and avoids re-inventing the wheel,
-traditional IT teams lack necessary skills to leverage SharePoint capabilities and in turn waste time, and
-intelligent planning and ideas can eliminate unnecessary development time

I found those 'soft' benefits from 10 mins of googling on the commercial websites of Sharepoint consulting companies. While I understand the points, and they are valid especially to self-respecting companies, it's also generic and can be seen as vague (especially by companies who don't want to spend). It's like saying you save time and money if you invest in a fast sports car and hire someone to buy the car for you so you don't waste time shopping for a car and choosing the right car, but instead relax in the Caribbean sipping on Mojitos knowing a brand new car is waiting for you when you get back from your vacation...

Really looking for 'hard' benefits (if it does exist) that will really twist the arm of the directors, and possibly scare the Compliance officer or Risk manager to consider outsourcing Sharepoint to certified experts ... and 'save' the IT staff from having to undertake the project.

With construction work, healthcare, law, and even IT Security there are rigid requirements to use certified personnel to perform the respective tasks. In the world of Sharepoint... i don't know... i know I might be asking for the impossible.

Thanks for reading through my long explanation...
posted by gttommy to Work & Money (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I will tell you what I tell my customers: if you just need a fileshare, I can deploy Sharepoint in an hour and there you go. It's not hard.

But if you want Sharepoint fully deployed, configured and customized to requirements, properly secured, and adopted by users, use experts. Because adoption is the biggest issue in Sharepoint deployments, getting the usability right for your environment is critical, because otherwise? I've seen users contort themselves, going way out of their way to make their own jobs harder, to keep using whatever they had before rather than learn a new thing they didn't ask for and don't want but requires their participation to succeed.

If you're going to throw time and money at this, throw it at someone who can actually give you references that they've done it before.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:02 PM on July 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nthing Lyn Never, as a software consultant, I have worked places with terrific sharepoint implmentations, and unusable implementations.
posted by Altomentis at 3:01 PM on July 18, 2016

Response by poster: What about the risks specifically related to the Migration to Sharepoint Online
posted by gttommy at 8:20 PM on July 18, 2016

One of my biggest concerns there would be my assumption that there's a right way and wrong way to undertake that migration, and I'd want someone who knows the pitfalls to be doing it. Because again: do it badly and everyone will hate you.

I do not actually know if there are migration tools, or if that's the sort of thing an actual Sharepoint consultancy would create for themselves to use. I know when my company's own very simple file-server-type Sharepoint site got moved to our O365, we had access and rights errors for a while (though we also had the very old Federation authentication still going, which also routinely horked up our mail). At the point he did it, he had to re-create the structure manually and move the documents folder by folder. It sounded really painful.

If all you have is a fileshare, no integrations (like to CRM maybe) and no Infopath-type forms, no team sites and fancy rights and all that, I'd cautiously consider doing it in-house. I'd probably assign a resource to research the steps and provide a clear draft project plan to see if someone without that experience could even find and document the actual migration path.

If too many questions remained, I'd get someone in to do it, and again I'd ask for at least 2 references they'd already done it for.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:03 AM on July 19, 2016

And a point I always make when discussing projects like this is that, unless you are a very lucky company, your internal resources are not sitting around with zero to do all the time. There is a cost, though it is lower than consulting rates mooooostly, to the resources that get assigned to it. There is work they are not doing.

But if it takes two internal resources 200 hours total because they're figuring it out on the fly, or doing it twice, and you can hire consultants to do it in 40 all told, that's probably cheaper in real effort and pain than doing it internally. It'll be up to you to figure out how to calculate the ROI there.

And if your company is not looking to be in the business of Sharepoint migrations, there is limited value to your internal resources knowing how to do it.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:08 AM on July 19, 2016

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