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5 Tips to Find the Right Office 365 Subject Matter Expert

Woman writing notes during zoom meeting at desk

Subject Matter Experts or SME’s can boost your project’s success.

Subject matter experts are a source of knowledge, insight, advice, and typically can teach you to understand it as well.  They will be able to communicate effective and explain things to you like you’re five, making it very easy to understand. An SME will have a level of understanding about the subject that is not common knowledge making them invaluable to your team or project.  If you’re getting ready to create a team or start a project, here are 5 tips for selecting the best Office 365 Subject Matter Expert.

Will they take a hands-on approach with your team or project?

An Office 365 Subject Matter Expert will want to dive headfirst into the creating of your team or project.  O365 is the thing they are most passionate about, so they won’t be a passive observer or delegate every task.  They will be a proactive guiding voice.  They will prevent you from making missteps, or quickly right them when you do by applying best practices and showing a different way.

Do they have relevant expertise?

O365 is continually evolving, so length and depth of knowledge is important.  As with everything else, you need to know where you have been to know where you are going.  O365 is no different.  The SME will be able to relate what you know to what is new and how to bridge your learning gap.  They will also know details about O365 and how each program works together to form the entire O365 ecosystem.

What is their process?

If this isn’t their first rodeo, the SME will be able to outline their process on how they plan to guide you through the project.  They will be able to tell you where the problems will arise, how adoption can fail, and what will need to happen to prevent it.  There will be key milestones as well as an end goal in mind.

Do they have credentials?

Your Office 365 Subject Matter Expert doesn’t need to be super Microsoft certified to be good.  They need a deep understanding of the products.  Check their website, see what they publish, attend a learning session or watch a video/webinar they’ve hosted.  Check LinkedIn and ask for references.  No SME will be upset to point you at a few happy clients they’ve helped.

How do they communicate?

When you interview your SME, make sure you talk the same language.  If they use terms you don’t understand without explaining them, you will always be lost.  Watch their turnaround time with questions as well.  If your project is time sensitive and they take days to answer simple questions, your project will be off the rails very quickly.

Brining in the right Office 365 Subject Matter Expert is crucial regardless of how big or small your project is. Use these five tips and you’ll get the best candidate, maybe even a long term partner.