We recently received a call from a local business that had purchased Office 365. The business had implemented Exchange Online, but was experiencing issues with mail flow, duplicate accounts, and various other troubles. After a few questions, we determined that it was an Exchange Online implementation gone terribly wrong. What started as pro-bono assistance quickly turned into hours of troubleshooting to determine where Exchange was configured incorrectly. It became very clear that the person who had configured Exchange had no actual Exchange experience.
Sadly, we run into similar situations far too often. Office 365 is a great solution for a small business. Unfortunately, small businesses often don’t have sophisticated IT organizations that have training in complex solutions like Exchange or SharePoint. At some point during these types of calls, we always ask “Who helped you implement Office 365?” We receive a variety of answers, from “I did it myself” to “My local IT support person”.
Equally as frustrating, we often run into small organizations that have purchased Office 365, but don’t know what capabilities they have purchased. One of the most common scenarios that we encounter is an organization that has implemented SharePoint, but is only using it for file storage. SharePoint is an enterprise class document collaboration solution, allowing companies to easily share data with customers, business partners, and employees. We have successfully shown many small organizations the value in implementing SharePoint as a true collaboration solution.
Whatever your scenario, be sure to work with an Office 365 partner that has experience completing multiple Office 365 implementations. Ask for references and examples of the types of deployments the partner has completed. A good partner will be happy to share customer references and examples of how Office 365 has helped their customers solve real business issues.