Common scenarios for SharePoint & Office 365 support

Not all companies need 24/7 Support when it comes to Office 365 and SharePoint. Many will know what needs to be achieved, but they’ll simply be over capacity or perhaps a new direction of Support needs to be considered. On a technical level your Support may be adequate – however from a governance point of view you may be lacking. Below are some typical scenarios that businesses ought to consider when it comes to Office 365 and SharePoint Support:

“Office 365 and SharePoint have evolved into something difficult to use”

Office 365 and SharePoint are functionally rich business platforms. But if implemented without consideration for governance/information architecture, security, scalability or user adoption, they can end up feeling like more of a hindrance than a help for their users. In some ways, it’s a good idea to address your Support from a ‘back to square one’ approach. It may well be that Office 365/SharePoint got into that state because they weren’t maintained or repaired when they failed to work. Not many people in the business know how they works, but they don’t want to get rid of them just yet.

Our recommendation:

• Get a professional/third party ‘health-check’. This should review and document the system failings/ issues and potential fixes. It’ll give you an idea of how much support is needed.
• Introduce ‘after the fact’ governance. Implement rules and security. If the system has gone into disuse, or evolved into something difficult to use then rules need to be established to correct that.
• Turn off troublesome features (basically, reign in the misuse). You may want to rely on your SI or ask for third party help.

“Office 365/SharePoint are currently supporting business-critical processes”

Traditionally, business-critical tends to mean that functions, such as production and sales are crucial to a business operating normally. Platforms like Office 365 and SharePoint frequently run business processes that are crucial to success. For example, a banking transaction processing system or a hotel’s reservation system are business-critical systems. The impact of these systems is measured in terms of a loss of revenue. Reduced SharePoint performance or stoppage would result in loss of productivity for partners, internal staff, and the IT department slows due to backlogs and troubleshooting problems getting addressed.

Our recommendation:

A contingency plan (at least one) should be in place if systems were to fail. If the risks are financial, operational, or reputational, then they’re business-critical. Here are some things you should consider to ensure business-critical support is provided:
• Identify business-critical processes across your organisation by conducting an internal Office 365/SharePoint user survey
• Consider who was/is responsible for setting up Office 365/ SharePoint processes or sites and what would happen if they left the business
• Consider the key drivers of success for your business
• What is the risk involved with the identified processes – and how much risk is there?
• Have your SharePoint sites been customised by users? How much? If so, can they easily be supported? Business continuity planning is vital to be able to identify an organisation’s exposure to internal and external threats
• Review inside Office 365/SharePoint support competence. Is your team qualified and accessible 24/7 (if required) to support your system? If not, why not?

“We only need advice on an ad hoc basis”

This is a relatively good position to be in, as it means that the majority of your risk is already taken care of in house or by other means. Ad hoc Support can be useful for training up new members of staff or doing health checks on your existing system. Alternatively, if you’ve upgraded or migrated your SharePoint system, you may need some extra support with capacity on such large-scale projects.

Our recommendation:

• Ensure you have super users trained internally to help mitigate issues
• Set-up ad hoc support with regular but small amounts of maintenance to support updates and managing permissions etc.
• Ensure any ‘ad hoc’ support still conforms to strict SLAs (even if handled in-house)

Our recommendation:

• Set-up ad hoc support with regular but small amounts of maintenance to support updates and managing permissions etc.
• Ensure any ‘ad hoc’ support still conforms to strict SLAs (even if handled in-house)

“Office 365/SharePoint is in the organisation, but not used”

This is somewhat similar to the scenario where Office 365/SharePoint have evolved into something beyond what they were intended for (and not in a positive way!). There will be various reasons as to why Office 365/ SharePoint aren’t used in your organisation. It could well be because they are too cumbersome to use. Alternatively, it may be that they were implemented and never picked up internally. Or perhaps a key member of staff left the company and the projects weren’t revisited.

Our recommendation:

• Attend an education session about Office 365/SharePoint, or better still, set up an exploration workshop which will illustrate the many, many business headaches you can cure with these platforms.
• Arrange some onsite expert training

You can explore further scenarios and guidance regarding SharePoint and Office 365 support in our handy, downloadable guide – you can find it here.