Reprint: Chris Gilmour – Unleashed – using technology to solve business problems
Hiring the right IT Consultant is challenging, let’s be clear on this. No two businesses are exactly the same and nor are their goals. Trying to find the right consultant that will help drive core business your way, without getting into a long term contract or having it cost the earth, is a process that cannot be rushed.
Which brings us to the first challenge:
What is the Cost of Your IT Infrastructure?
Your IT system is an integral part of your business. It has to be able to move and develop with your business model, but IT development and upgrades come at a cost:
- Hardware and software
- Ongoing maintenance
- Upgrades and security
The difficulty lies in identifying where your company needs to invest. Does it need infrastructure, specialist applications, or something else? An IT consultant can provide the right hardware and business applications for your organisation to achieve its goals.
With that in mind – and assuming your IT consultant has agreed – can you then be sure they will remain at your side and have the dynamic capability to alter their applications when you need a change in your business model?
And where they are when you do need them is key; will they be there in your office, at the end of the phone, or are you going to have to wait for THEM to schedule YOU in? Getting the cost right is one thing, but they need to be the right fit for your business too.
Do You Want an IT Partner?
There is a difference between an IT Consultancy ‘selling’ their services to you as opposed to one matching your client needs with a strategy for growth and change, and it can be difficult to spot which one is which. What it really boils down to is what kind of IT Consultancy are they going to be, are they going to be a vendor or a partner?
- Vendor – Just because they are an IT Consultant, it doesn’t mean they can solve or help with your particular set of problems or challenges, especially if they sell their services like a commodity or are steadfast in pushing a particular maker’s products.
- Partner – They will understand both you and your business and will be able to address your specific needs, highlighting the potential difficulties and even offering solutions. A partner will always be available to you because your business matters, not just to you but to them as well. Ask yourself a question: does your IT Consultancy want your business to reflect on them?
Your Business Goals Will Determine Your Partner
What benefits does technology need to bring to your business?
- Streamline your operations?
- Offer increased customer service?
- Reach more customers?
Simply put, you need to find an IT Consultancy that has experience in, not only your business, but helping other, similar businesses going in the same direction you want to go in.
Your Timescales Are Important
The timescales you set in order reach your company targets should be matched by the goals your IT Consultancy partner can achieve. Choosing the right IT Consultancy is as much about assessing where your organisation is now, as it is how far you want it go and determining whether your IT partner can make that journey smoother or easier. While many businesses get stuck in the here and now with cashflow, personnel, product development or sales campaigns, their IT strategy can often be forgotten.
The most successful organisations align their IT strategy with their core business plan and they do it either by ensuring they have the talent in-house or by finding the right IT partner. Remember, the best IT Consultancy is always a Partner
Leverage IT Consulting
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