Friday, 7 May 2010

How To Pick A SharePoint Consultant

So we have a ‘Hung Parliament’ so we might be looking at a replay. In this week’s SharePoint Blog I am going to compare the process of selecting a SharePoint Consultancy with deciding who to vote for.

Yesterday for the first time when I went to vote I had to actually queue before I was able to place my cross in a box. As I queued I just kept thinking why is this process still so old-fashioned? Why aren’t I just at home logging on to a website or pressing the Red button on my television and entering a pin number to vote? I expect give it ten years and it will probably become ‘X-Factor’ style voting when you can vote MPs off live on a Saturday night. I also thought about how people decided who they voted for. As I stood in the queue I was still a floating voter undecided whether to vote for the local man, a party leader who was a Villa fan or who had looked best on telly.

In the end I voted for the only person who had bothered to push a leaflet through my letterbox to even say they are standing. The fact that the others failed to do this seemed a poor show especially as I had received over ten Pizza leaflets pushed through in the last week alone. People seem quite happy to discuss who they have voted for this time and the reasons for their vote. One lady said she got to the booth and then just chose the only candidate who lived anywhere near to the area. Another person said that if she didn’t vote conservative she would never be able to look her dad in the face again.

With any successful SharePoint project the help of a SharePoint Consultant is important. Having somebody who knows the SharePoint pitfalls and has the SharePoint knowledge will help the project run smoother. Problem is that if you Google ‘SharePoint Consultants’ you will receive a list of 100’s and it is very difficult to know where to start. So how do you decide which ones to consider?

Well, like when choosing your MP maybe a factor to consider for your SharePoint Consultant is location. You don’t want your SharePoint Consultant to come from a different country and if they are local it might mean they are able to quickly come to site if needed. Interestingly, we at Office Talk are based in the Birmingham area yet most our customers come from outside the Midlands. It would be nice to have more Birmingham based customers even if they were ‘Bluenoses’ (Birmingham City fans). Another selection criterion could be looking at consultancies that have experience in your specific area. If you are a school does there website mention any work with schools. Maybe try googling ‘SharePoint Schools’. Office Talk have worked closely with Fire Services, Colleges and Health organisations, but other Consultancies might have more experience of Police Services or Estate Agents. It is important to think of any systems you are going to link your SharePoint to as well. If you are linking it into SAP has the SharePoint Consultancy got the expertise and experience to do this?

There are many other factors to consider when selecting SharePoint Consultants including;

- Are they able to provide training as well?
- What support do they offer after the project go live?
- Do they have good reference sites or have you heard good things about them?
- Do they have good knowledge of SharePoint third-party applications?
- How approachable are they and are they easy to communicate with?
- And perhaps one of the most important factors in the current climate ‘price’.

There isn’t a set rule for selecting SharePoint Consultants and as with choosing which candidate to vote for it is very much down to personal taste.

So as the political parties in the UK try to come to a deal after slagging each other off for the past three weeks the SharePoint world is preparing itself for the launch of SharePoint 2010 on Wednesday 12th May. So what will come first the new SharePoint or a Villa supporting Prime Minister?

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1 comment:

Harlequin said...

Another article that is along the same lines is what makes a good sharepoint analyst? Located at