Top 10 SharePoint Consulting Companies in DC

Below is a list of what I believe are the top 10 SharePoint consulting companies in the Metro DC area including Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington D.C.  The ratings are based mostly on industry insider knowledge, including factors such as the satisfaction of known customers, consultant turnover, and knowledge of key 3rd party products.  The top SharePoint consulting companies are active speakers in local user groups and organizations such as SharePoint Saturday DC.

I decided to build this list after noticing which companies came up in Google’s search results and which did not.  In fact, several of the folks that show up in the search results have less than two dedicated SharePoint consultants in the D.C. area.  Others in the search results outsource or offshore most of their work.  A few others did not make the list because of low satisfaction of known customers.  I hope potential customers call vendor references and ask specific questions about their work.  The list below is in no particular order (so don’t email me to complain if your company is #9, we can still be friends).

1.  DAn Solutions

This company was founded in 2007 in Northern Virginia by Lawrence (Larry) An and Jay Dinsick.  They mostly work in the intelligence community and are great guys.  In fact, we have referred people to their company and helped out each other’s customers.

2.  Booz Allen Hamilton

These guys have a pretty large Microsoft practice focused primarily in the Federal government.  Their customers include the intelligence community and the Internal Revenue Service.

3.  Avanade

This company was originally created as a joint venture between Microsoft and Accenture.  These guys are large, national, and prefer to work on the biggest projects.  Known local customers include Washington Gas and Sodexo.

4.  Xgility

Yes, I am biased, but we made the list.  As a SharePoint Consultant, Xgility helps some of the largest Federal Government Agencies, local government, government contractors, and associations achieve transformational results using SharePoint and Office 365.  Our great culture is the key reason we attract and retain the best consultants.

5.  Bravo Consulting

Bravo Consulting is an 8A company the focuses solely on SharePoint.  Their customers include several DoD agencies, the Veterans Administration, and the Department of Homeland Security.  They are frequent speakers at SharePoint Fest and have spoken on the topics of records management in SharePoint as well as SharePoint branding.

6.  Protiviti

This large company (also associated with the staffing firm, Robert Half) acquired a Winchester, VA company called SusQtech in 2012.  Most of their key consultants have left since the acquisition, they still have a large customer base.

7.  AIS

AIS, also known as Applied Information Sciences, grew out of small business status by performing mostly on government contracts.  While not as active in the SharePoint community, they still have a good (mostly federal) customer base in the metro D.C area.

8.  RePoint

RePoint is a relatively new firm started by a great developer named Greg Galipeau.  I have seen Greg speak at SharePoint Saturday and the Reston user group.  His business model is based on providing 100% remote consultants to the federal government.

9.  RDA Corp

RDA is headquartered in Baltimore and has an office in Reston.  We have heard pretty good feedback on them, including that they have a good program for training recent college graduates.

10.  Planet Technologies

Planet Technologies is a Microsoft partner headquartered in Montgomery County, MD.  They have a good presence in the state and local government and also do federal work.

Author: Kurt Greening

Contract Tracking Part II, Invoice Approval

A few months back, a general counsel of non-profit organizations wanted to see examples of how their legal and contracts team could use SharePoint. Our team built this proof of concept to show how SharePoint forms and workflows can be used to build a system to track contracts and invoices against those contracts. This is part two of the video series.  Part one of the video can be found here.

 

The transcript for the video is below…

Welcome to part two of a two part video series on using SharePoint for contract tracking. Hi, I’m Dean, a SharePoint expert at Xgility and in this video I’m going to demonstrate how to apply invoices against the contracts stored in a contracts library.

First, a quick recap of the first video. In that video, I demonstrated that a SharePoint library is an excellent tool for storing and tracking contracts, metadata and views are essential tools for gaining insights into the status of contracts, the available balance and percentage value remaining of a contract can be tracked, the ability to track changes within Microsoft Word is still available within SharePoint, and that SharePoint will automatically store previous versions of a contract.

Now, onto part two…Applying Invoices Against a Contract. We begin with an accounts payable clerk having already received and reviewed an invoice from Vendor C for Contract 1. The clerk opens the vendors invoice submission form. There, the clerk selects Vendor C from the vendor drop-down and selects Vendor C, Contract 1 from the contract drop-down. Note that the contracts displayed in the drop-down will automatically change based on the vendor that’s selected. Upon selection of a contract, the available balance of the contract will be displayed. This field is for reference purposes only and cannot be overwritten. The clerk then enters the value of the invoice and attaches the invoice to the form and finally clicks submit to add the invoice to the library. When the file is added to the library, an automated email is sent to the invoice approver. In our example, the email message is fairly simple, but please note that the content of the email can easily be changed and you can put whatever you want in it.

Clicking the link in the email will open the invoice form again, but this time to the approval view. Here, the invoice approver can open the invoice and review it, add the decision date, select the approval decision, and add comments about the approval decision. Clicking “Submit Decision” saves the decision information. If the invoice was approved, the invoice amount is automatically deducted from the available balance of the associated contract and the accounts payable clerk is sent an automated notification that the invoice was approved and the check can be cut. If the invoice was denied, both the vendor and the accounts payable clerk are sent automated notifications including the approval decision comments.

That is all there is to it. Now, lets revisit the contracts library to see that the amount was deducted. As you can see, the remaining balance of Vendor C, Contract 1 is now down to $100 and the percent remaining is now well below 20%.

Lets take a quick look at the below 20% remaining view to see if the contract shows up. Click on the below 20% remaining view and there it is. If you remember from the last video, we did not have any contracts that were below 20% remaining, so nothing displayed in this view and now we have something.

In this video I demonstrated a fairly simple but very effective solution for processing invoices against a contract. This is just the baseline solution. There’s so much more that can be done to enhance the visibility and tracking of your contracts using SharePoint.

If you have addition questions are would like help automating your workflow in SharePoint, Office 365, or SharePoint Online please contact us.

 

Author: Dean Virag

Editor: Alex Finkel

10 Reasons HR Departments Use SharePoint

Most organizations have SharePoint and almost all organizations can afford SharePoint if purchased as part of an Office 365 package in the Microsoft cloud.  In our video, Tips for SharePoint Adoption, we recommend that information technology (IT) departments involve business users early on in the process of building an intranet in SharePoint.  The human resources department is one of the best places to start.  Below are ten common uses for SharePoint by the human resources department.

 

  1. Policies and Procedures

Publishing sites are the most common place to start based on the Xgility SharePoint adoption maturity model (see the graphic below).  Many organizations tell us they are looking for their Intranet to be the single version of the truth.  In the past, organizations emailed documents to users and many organizations found email is not effective for distribution of policies and procedures because users may delete the emails or are overwhelmed by the amount of emails.

When using file shares to store policies and procedures, it can be difficult to keep track of the latest version of a document. We worked with one organization that had to manage different policies and procedures across 8 divisions and 16 countries.  By using SharePoint, the human resource department can ensure that employees only have access to the latest documents that are relevant to them.

8 Reasons HR Departments Use SharePoint blog (Xgility DC MD VA Consulting) Picture 1

 

  1. Leave Requests

Many companies have come to us looking for solutions to replace a combination of PDF documents and emails.  Solutions can be basic or integrated by checking a HRIS or accounting system for vacation balances and automatically debiting the balances.

 

  1. Resume Databases

While several SaaS based solutions exist to track resumes, many companies, especially government contractors, prefer SharePoint for two reasons.  First, their teams work in SharePoint all day long and don’t want use other systems.  Secondly, many organizations utilize resumes as part of their proposal sites.

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  1. Requisition Requests

By using a requisition request form during the hiring process, human resources departments can ensure accountability and eliminate errors and miscommunications.

SharePoint forms can be used to capture requisition requests so that the human resource department and their recruiters can formally start searching for potential canidates.  Views and reports can be created on the types of jobs open, how long they have been open, and other important metrics.

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  1. Offer Letter Generation

By using a form to request an offer letter, it is possible to create a workflow that ensures sign off by each department including the hiring manager, human resources, and finance.  The information in the form becomes part of the metadata within the document and can be used to automatically generate and email the document for signature by the candidate.  It is possible to integrate DocuSign or other electronics signature software applications into SharePoint, Word, or Office 365.

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  1. Employee Reviews

Most organizations have a formal review process where the employee fills out a self-evaluation, the manager adds her comments, and the final review document is sent to human resources.  Using SharePoint, organizations have the ability to automate this workflow including notifications, creating dashboards based on information in the document, and controlling permissions to allow for different views of the data based on role.

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  1. On-boarding

In very simple implementations, SharePoint can be used to manage a task list to track the completion of on-boarding tasks.  These tasks may be completed by human resources, information technology, the hiring manager, and the employee.  With custom code or Nintex, the workflow can be completely automated to handle the complex processes of a very large organization.

 

  1. Off-boarding

Managing the process of off-boarding is similar to tracking on-boarding tasks.  Completion of these tasks can be important to make sure former employees have completed all paperwork, return company assets, and no longer have access to systems or buildings.

 

  1. Mentoring Programs

Many organizations have formal mentoring programs or high potential employee programs.  While some companies may purchase a software as a service (SaaS) application to help manage these programs, companies at a minimum, may want to link to these programs in SharePoint or store key artifacts used to manage these programs.

 

  1. Training

SharePoint has out-of-the-box features such as video libraries and wiki’s. If you have more experience with SharePoint, you can create extensive knowledge management.  If your organization requires a full learning management system (LMS), our team can help you compare your requirements to what is offered by 3rd party SharePoint companies and products offered by ShareKnowlege and ELearning Force.  If you have a 3rd party LMS that is not integrated with SharePoint, it is possible to integrate or supplement your LMS with content on your SharePoint intranet.

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Interested in learning more?  Contact us.

 

Author: Dean Virag

Editors: Kurt Greening and Robert Anderson