In our latest guide, ‘How to support your Office 365 & SharePoint environments’, we go into detail about what Support is when it comes to these platforms and whether you’re in a position to be needing said Support.

So, what does ‘Support’ actually mean?

Depending on the complexity/scale of the process needing to be supported, various elements of the platforms will require diverse levels of Support. Therefore ‘SharePoint Support’ or ‘Office 365 Support’ can mean different things to different people. E.g.:
• bug fixes
• upgrades
• migrations
• guidance and knowledge transfer

Support is usually undertaken whenever things go wrong (on an ad hoc basis), but this is technically not Support, it’s ‘mending’.

Alternatively, Support can be outsourced to a third party, or administered 24/7 in house. Regardless of how your business operates Support; whether you’re in the cloud or on premises environments, it’s essential to know how to do it right. Some organisations look after the purely technical side of things whilst governance and compliance can drop down the priority list. For others, it’ll be the opposite.

As a Microsoft Gold Partner, specialising and expert in SharePoint and Office 365, we at Business Agility know
that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to Support isn’t appropriate. Our team of expert consultants know how to
gauge the complexity and ‘health’ of a system – and can advise on how much, or how little Support is likely
to be needed. Our advice goes not just to help-desk staff, but to the organisation as a whole. We take into
consideration the various areas of difficulty. This provides a much higher level of Support that’s tailored to your
individual issues.

Do you actually need Support?

Office 365 and SharePoint have the potential to be business-critical digital platforms there to help the modern workforce collaborate, securely store, organise, share and access information (from almost any device). Therefore, we wholeheartedly recommend some form of a structured and governed Support agreement be in place.

But, how do you evaluate your need for Support? The best way is to think of how easily something can go wrong – and what the consequences are if it does. The greater the risk, the greater the need for Support. You can only know this need internally – every organisation is different.

It’s important to remember why you acquired these business platforms in the first place. If they are used to
underpin business-critical applications then Support is essential.

Your options are:
• Manage all the Support in-house
• Arrange a Support contract with the Systems Integrator that implemented them in the first place
• Engage a third party to support your system
• Do nothing and hope it all works perfectly (!)

In-house support

In-house Support may be a viable option, but that doesn’t mean it’s free (!) – skilled resources need to be available and, crucially, able to solve any potential issues that crop up. Sometimes, in-house can cost significantly more in the long-run.

contracted support with original supplier:

Arranging a Support contract with the Systems Integrator (SI) that implemented your SharePoint environment in the first place is a typical option. The benefits of this are obvious – your SI will know your environment and the way your business operates and full context of the process previously performed, even if SharePoint was a few years ago.

Engage a new supplier to support your system

The pros and cons of this option are almost the opposite to having a Support contract with a known SI. If you don’t know who implemented your SharePoint environment or if it was done in-house, then a third party may be a viable option. Getting Support from a third party also increases capacity if your current IT department is strained. It’s important that if this option is pursued then a full system health check and review should be done (so the architecture and governance in place is known).

Do nothing and hope it all works

perfectly
Er…don’t do this!

If you’d like to know more about various Support options and scenarios that your business can benefit from, you can read our new guide here.