Microsoft 365 implementation and operation can be tricky, causing many businesses, especially those with small or non-existent in-house IT teams, to turn to managed services providers (MSPs) for help. Implementation is also a time-consuming process. Businesses with less than 1,000 mailboxes to migrate could spend up to two full weeks on the project, while those with more could spend a month or longer. This list includes the best Microsoft 365 service providers and partners to consider for your business. One thing to note is that Microsoft partners are a huge market, with more than 300,000 channel companies offering Microsoft services. While we do our best to make judgments about such a large market, you may find someone locally who can do a good job for you but isn’t on this list.
What is a Microsoft 365 Service Provider?
Microsoft 365, the cloud subscription service for common Microsoft products like Word and Excel, service providers are third-party organizations that help businesses manage and get the most out of their Microsoft 365 subscription. They may handle all billing and licensing needs to make sure you’re getting the best deal, and they’ll provide technical support, help you connect other applications with APIs, or monitor the security and performance of the platform. These MSPs typically charge a monthly fee for their services, taking the place of internal Microsoft experts.
Key Services from Microsoft 365 Partners
When looking for a Microsoft 365 partner, you should make sure that the companies you consider offer the following services:
Even if you don’t need to migrate your Microsoft 365 account now, you may in the future. Cloud migrations are difficult, and if you don’t move data and applications in the right order, you could face longer periods of downtime or lost data. Microsoft 365 providers with experienced migration teams can help you keep downtime to a minimum and build workflows to improve efficiency.
When employees have trouble with an application like Microsoft, they may try to get your in-house IT team to help, but a Microsoft 365 partner can better handle these issues and keep your in-house team free for more general issues. Choose a provider that offers live support at least during your hours of operation. However, 24/7 support is best because issues can happen outside of business hours and still affect operations.
Assessments and Consulting
Microsoft 365 service providers can also help ensure that you’re getting the most out of your Microsoft 365 subscription through assessments and consulting. By analyzing the features you’re currently using and your business’s needs, a Microsoft partner can identify any features you’re not taking advantage of or develop custom apps that integrate with Microsoft 365 to automate tedious or repetitive tasks.
Benefits of Hiring a Microsoft 365 Partner
A Microsoft service provider can improve the value of a Microsoft 365 subscription, lessen the workload of internal IT teams, and lower operating costs for businesses.
Microsoft 365 partners have a lot of knowledge of and experience with Microsoft applications, meaning they can help you get the most value from your subscriptions. They can identify the types and number of licenses you need to help you better allocate your budget and make sure you aren’t wasting money. Along with license optimization, they can make sure you’re taking full advantage of features that will improve your business operations.
Lower Operating Costs
Additionally, they’re typically cheaper than hiring an in-house Microsoft specialist and can handle short-term projects where it might not make sense to hire a full-time employee. Plus, you typically get a team of Microsoft specialists, rather than a single consultant, meaning you’ll still have help if someone is off or out sick.
Reduced Internal IT Workloads
You may also need custom applications to automate processes or add extra functionality to your Microsoft 365 platform. Instead of using internal resources for that, Microsoft partners can often handle that work for you and expertly integrate those new applications into the Microsoft 365 platform.
Best Microsoft 365 Services Providers
The following is a list of some of the top Microsoft 365 services providers, based on their user reviews and the type of services they offer.
- Catapult Systems
- KTL Solutions
Catapult Systems offers implementation, consulting, assessments, and support services for a host of Microsoft applications, including Dynamics and Power BI. They can build custom workflows and applications, integrate your Microsoft apps with other critical systems, and provide training to help you get more functionality from the platform. Users get strategic recommendations for optimization, including license allocation, storage usage, and API utilization.
- Knowledgeable and experienced team
- Responsive and helpful support
- Ongoing training for employees
- Project documentation can take longer than expected
- Some users complain that their implementation took longer than planned
Choosing the Best Microsoft 365 Partner for Your Business
When choosing a Microsoft 365 service provider for your business, you’ll need to determine what, if anything, you want your internal team to handle. If you’re going to have your own developers build new applications, then you can focus on providers that mainly offer migration and consulting services. But if you don’t want to bog down your internal team with Microsoft work, then you’ll need a partner with development expertise.
You may also want to consider a local provider, especially if you expect them to ever be onsite at your business. Local providers may also have smaller client bases, making them more available for your needs than large, national providers. They’ll also likely have a better understanding of your client base if it’s also local, meaning they can help identify features you should be taking advantage of.
Read user reviews and talk to other businesses that use Microsoft service providers to see what issues they’ve run into. If you’re in the same industry or a problem seems widespread, you’ll likely encounter it as well. If the issue is a dealbreaker for you, you should look elsewhere.
Additionally, you should choose a Microsoft service provider that offers 24/7 support, so they’re available whenever you need help.