According to J.J. Bussert, Principal Architect of the Portals and Collaboration Practice, SharePoint Managed Service has a more evolved mission. In this shop, the standard consideration of executing break/fix and functioning merely as an extension of the client’s staff is an outdated paradigm. One that limits value to all involved. So to amplify the value prop, SPR’s emphasis in this area is distinctly more consultative. The focus is on further developing clients’ staffers and advising on how to strengthen their technical environments.
Clients buy managed services in hour blocks per month, but it’s the intention behind the offering that elevates value. While the hours are utilized to perform specific tasks and actions; such as supporting and augmenting artifacts, planning and advising on major version upgrades, or providing support during peak capacity demands; SPR consultants go above and beyond to uncover and establish extended worth.
Consider SharePoint as a baseline. This tremendous asset offers numerous capabilities. Folks can share, organize, discover, build and manage using the complex suite of tools, allowing organizations to customize solutions directly targeted at building business benefit. But maintaining SharePoint requires dedicated resources that are highly-skilled. Without them, it’s near certain that things will become a tangled mess of fragmented content, sites, pages and web parts.
One client, prior to engaging SPR’s SharePoint Managed Service, was having such an experience. To begin with, the asset was poorly installed. On top of that, the resources assigned to the SharePoint environment were limited in the necessary skills and had other roles and responsibilities, as well. The time they spent supporting and monitoring the ecosystem was sporadic and inadequate at best. Consequently, not only did users contend with solutions that performed sluggishly, but the functionality was often hit or miss. It’s easy to understand why the user community had developed what can accurately be described as a deep mistrust for SharePoint.
When SPR entered the mix, it was almost a no-win situation. Not only were the consultants faced with uncovering and repairing the jumble of problems inherent in the implementation, the user population was downright hostile. Hour by hour, the talent in SharePoint Managed Service sifted through the mire and began mending the many sore spots. During this process, they worked seamlessly with client designees to share insights and transfer knowledge. Strategies around user acceptance and adoption were also introduced, paving the way for consideration and cohesion between the client’s IT group and user communities. In most iterations of a managed service offering, work is addressed and completed more or less in a vacuum. But the SPR way? Make the client’s staff smarter and improve the technical circumstance.
Another client, whose implementation was buttoned up pretty tightly, assigned a few site changes to one of their power users. Let’s just say there were nuances of SharePoint that this particular power user was, well, unfamiliar with. Long story short, the changes they made created a quite a predicament. Essentially, the locked site became impenetrable. There didn’t seem to be a way in. The prognosis was bleak, shut it down and rebuild. But the managed service team wasn’t ready to let it go. They dug in, searching in obscure crevices until they found an opening. Once the fix was designed, they deconstructed the conditions to prevent the issue from recurring. Then they opened up expanded functionality to power users, while ensuring there was a knowledge plan to support them.
Building Outstanding Consultants
When J.J. was first introduced to SPR more than four years ago, he was a contract player constructing custom apps in .net. After about six months, the project nearing an end, company leadership asked if he was interested in staying and joining the firm fulltime. It was his way of working that impressed them; the keen attention to detail, a willingness to learn new methods and an obvious commitment to the team’s success. These attributes made him a good fit. From J.J.’s perspective, the openness offered by higher ups regarding how areas of the business were progressing was something he welcomed.
The interesting bit? J.J. was a .net developer. Yet leadership wanted to hire him to code and administer SharePoint. It was widely known that projects which included SharePoint were growing, and climbing in profitability. But he had absolutely no experience with the tool. Still, he was willing to learn and they were willing to teach. From there, J.J. has risen to lead the practice. It’s a comprehensive role that he relishes. Overall, he monitors projects and execution of managed services with a sharp eye on all aspects of delivery. Specifically, he consults with teams to ensure established standards are being met; evaluates situations to strengthen best practices; and explores opportunities to promote learning across teams.
Of course, J.J. has seen his team shift over the past few years. Consultants are routinely afforded opportunities to switch practice areas, as he did early in his tenure. This tradition facilitates strong cross-discipline knowledge among SPR staffers. And it’s a huge advantage in the current tech world, considering the increasing interconnectedness of data, cloud, social and mobile. This ability to gain vital skills across technologies strengthens consultants’ marketability and brings unmitigated gains to SPR clients.
J.J.’s View of a Great Candidate
“Candidates who’ll do well here should be ambitious and excited to learn new things. They should really desire to be part of something, and to grow with it,” says J.J. Whether tech talent is seeking to join SPR of or some other leading organization, he believes they should work to set themselves apart. One obvious way is to get out and learn the latest things, and consider blogging about it. Build some web development demos, assemble a few artifacts, deconstruct a problem and post the results. Be proactive. Show! Rather than tell.
Kind of like the consultants who currently work the ranks of SPR’s SharePoint Managed Service. When it comes to helping clients gain unexpected advantage from what they do, there’s minimal telling. They’re all about showing!