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?
- Key Services from Microsoft 365 Partners
- Benefits of Hiring a Microsoft 365 Partner
- Best Microsoft 365 Services Providers
- Choosing the Best Microsoft 365 Partner for Your Business
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.
Also read: Top Cloud & Application Migration Tools
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.
Also read: The Best Help Desk Tools for MSPs
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 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
Optimum offers consulting and migration services for Microsoft 365, including SharePoint, Power BI, and Azure applications. Experts provide a full assessment of your current Microsoft 365 or SharePoint environment to create a detailed migration roadmap. Businesses can get custom applications, automated workflows, and licensing help to ensure they have the right number and type of licenses. By integrating with Power BI, users can also get helpful dashboards and visualizations for improved decision-making and actionable insights.
- Thorough project scoping
- Easy and efficient processes
- Helpful and responsive customer service
- Meetings with the service provider can feel disjointed
- Inconsistentcy with consultant expertise
KTL Solutions offers implementation, development, support, and security services for Microsoft 365, along with Dynamics, Azure, and the Power Platform. The team can configure your Microsoft platform to be HIPAA compliant or meet other security requirements for your industry. Users can also get technical support for a single project or the life of the partnership. KTL offers expertise for a variety of industries, including manufacturing, non-profit, life sciences, and government.
- Can build custom applications
- Compliance expertise
- Provide helpful strategies for businesses
- Support requires a login for access
- Fees may be confusing for some users
Capgemini offers migrations and consulting services for Microsoft 365, including Office and Dynamics. The migration team offers a flexible hybrid model that makes it easier to keep access to critical applications during the migration process to reduce downtime. After migration, Capgemini can also help users optimize their Microsoft 365 subscription, ensuring they’re utilizing features that will help their business the most. Additionally, users get helpful integrations and cybersecurity services.
- Experienced and helpful consultants
- Solid execution strategies
- Valuable post-meeting updates
- The services can be expensive compared to competitors
- Some users complain about project delays stemming from miscommunication
Avanade provides Microsoft 365 migrations and helps businesses get the most out of their subscriptions with managed services. Its experts can help organizations get modern data and analytics for their Microsoft suite for actionable insights and data-driven decisions. And because Avanade is experienced in change management, it can help employees adopt the technology faster. Users get shorter migration times and their IT teams are free to work on in-house projects.
- Good communication
- Technical and functional expertise
- Fast implementation
- Can be inflexible with consultancy fees
- Some users complain about miscommunication from their consultants
Cognizant offers migration, modernization, and managed services for Microsoft 365. Its experts can build a detailed migration plan to get the most out of the platform and minimize downtime. The Cognizant BigDecisions offering uses Microsoft data, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) to improve business decision-making and provide actionable insights. Cognizant also provides a secure cloud environment, making remote work a more viable option for organizations.
- Flexible with client needs and requests
- Helpful and responsive support
- Large number of useful features
- Some users complain about accounting processes
- Can be expensive compared to competitors
Insight offers Microsoft 365 managed services, including 24/7 support and migration. The Insight team can also manage the subscription on an organization’s behalf. There are a variety of plans for organizations to choose from depending on the number of applications they need and the number of employees they have. Insight can also analyze the type and number of licenses the business has to ensure they’re using their resources efficiently, and its experts can provide advanced security monitoring.
- Can buy products and services in one place
- Quick project turnaround times
- Good attention to detail
- Some users complain about support responsiveness
- Multiple points of contact may lead to miscommunication
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. And if you just need help migrating your data and applications, check out our article on the Top Cloud Migration Services Providers.