IT consultants provide specialized knowledge, training, and services to businesses of any size. Small businesses can work with a consultant to set up needed managed services and medium businesses can hire one to assist with networking projects or migrations. Even enterprise IT teams can offload projects to a consultant or fill skill gaps needed for highly specialized projects. But how do you find the right IT consultant? Identifying the best-fit consulting team for your business requires:
- Knowing when projects need specialized IT consulting services.
- Identifying the services that solve the business’ problems.
- Finding a consultant specialized in the business’ field.
- Working with a consultant that matches the company’s workplace culture.
Plan Early and Define Success
Waiting to hire an IT consultant when roadblocks arise for projects may mean waiting too late. The most important step for finding the right consultant is planning IT projects or training objectives early. This allows leadership to identify potential skill gaps or specialized work that could benefit from consulting before challenges begin to disrupt schedules. By identifying a project’s goals and understanding the services a project can benefit from, a consultant can be brought in when needed and be given the information they require to execute strongly and provide the best results.
With a plan in mind, a business can begin a search for the right consultant early. Having plenty of time to research the specialties and approaches for each prospective consulting firm allows the business to make an informed decision and hire the best-fit consultant. It is recommended to define project goals clearly and establish appropriate metrics for success in order to search for a consultant that can provide the services and expert knowledge needed for your business’ field.
Verify IT Consultant Services
Not all IT consultants provide the same services and solutions, so it is critical to understand your environment and find a team that meets your needs. For example, some consultants will specialize in certain products by exclusively providing hardware and software solutions from a distributor they know and trust. Other firms offer a wide selection of products and can accommodate varied needs for managed services, hardware acquisition, and consultations. Make sure to research potential IT consultants so that their years of experience, technical expertise with your tech, and provided services match your goals and can reasonably meet expected metrics for success.
Three key service areas businesses want to consider when looking for a consultant are IT consultation, managed service provider (MSP) support, and value-added reselling (VAR). Combinations of these services provided by a firm can help lower project costs and save valuable company time when completing projects. For example, an IT consultant that provides MSP services can streamline implementing the best security solutions for the business’ IT environment, so you don’t have to create contracts and work with separate companies for these services. Additionally, a consultant that provides VAR services can help identify technology needed for infrastructure or networking projects and then work with distributors they already have relationships with to pass on savings to the businesses.
Check for Industry Experience
IT consultants specialize in industries or at a minimum have a proven track record in certain areas, so it is critical to identify the experience a prospective consultant has. Review each firms’ website and promotional materials to identify the industries they specialize in and the projects they highlight for their success. This can help narrow down consultants that have worked with similar projects and weed out unrelated firms that don’t have the knowledge or resources necessary to assist with company projects.
When engaging with potential IT consultants, it is recommended to ask about their approaches to problem solving and the strategies they use to assist their clients. Initial conversations can be a prime opportunity to understand how knowledgeable the consultant is in the business’ industry and hear about related projects they may have worked on. Proper planning helps at this stage as it allows project leadership to ask pointed questions focused on workflows, team engagement, and the required scope of work.
Think About Company Culture
No matter how important the project or strict the deadline, a business looking for an IT consultant must always take into consideration company culture. Onboarding a consultant means the business’ team will be working with new resources and need to establish workflows and new relationships. This makes an alignment of company values essential to project success. Finding a consultant that matches company culture can lead to a smoother onboarding process, better project results, and the creation of a longstanding relationship between the businesses that can aid future work.
A few key areas to ensure the business and a prospective consultant agrees upon include:
- Means of collaboration
- Transparency with completed work
- Project management styles
- Work ethic
Especially with projects that involve sensitive data, it is critical that businesses understand their core values and the expectations they have for an IT consultant. This way, leadership can introduce a valuable resource that meshes well with current company culture and workflows.
Finding the best IT consultant for your business and its current needs can be a challenge, but taking time to find an IT specialist that works well with your business can pay dividends in the long run. With the right planning, a company can narrow down the areas they need consultations for and locate a firm providing exactly the services needed for a project. Once a consultant specializing in the business’ industry is found that can provide the required services, a company must ensure their company cultures align. Ultimately, the right consultant for your business will take the time to understand your needs and offer well thought out solutions that balance quality and budget.
Robinett Consulting believes businesses should take time to develop a strong relationship with their IT consultant, so they know they have a reliable partner in IT they can trust. If your business is looking for a consultant that prioritizes your needs and has the experience to get complex projects done effectively, then our engineers are ready to provide a complimentary consultation today!
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