The concept of deferring to an expert is not new, especially in terms of running a business. If your business encounters a problem in its plumbing, you call in a plumber. When it comes to your business’ IT solutions, there are professionals who can help with issues there as well: IT consultants.
Before we dive in and discuss what an IT consultant can do for your business, let’s examine the role a consultant should have in service of your needs. Essentially, a consultant should serve as an on-demand expert that you can leverage (as needed) for a faster and less expensive resolution to whatever need or issue you were experiencing.
The need for someone to be in this role regarding your IT is dramatic. Imagine what would happen if one of the critical components of your infrastructure suddenly went on the fritz and you and your staff were unable to do what needed to be done. On top of that, what if this component could not be fixed and needed to be replaced? You would have to find a vendor and negotiate a deal with them, keeping you from your much-needed managerial duties.
Now, you may already have an employee or two maintaining your IT. However, they may not be as practiced in some skills as they are at others, and if they’re busy keeping your resources running, they may not have time to learn new solutions and processes. This is where an IT consultant becomes especially useful. Rather than replacing any staff resources you may have, an IT consultant can supplement their efforts, picking up any deficits that your staff couldn’t accomplish otherwise.
This can take a few forms--either the consultant comes in, examining your infrastructure, and works toward optimizing and improving that, or they focus on attending to the needs of the business’ on-site end users, the employees leveraging the machines to get their jobs done. Either way, the consultant is taking steps to improve the function of the business’ technology.
When selecting an IT consultant, you need to look for a few things from your candidates to narrow down the field:
- Value-based pricing structure: Even if you’ve never heard the saying, “You get what you pay for,” you know how true that statement can be. While it may be initially tempting to default to the option with the lowest overhead, you’ll want to find an IT consultant that maximizes the value you receive from them, rather than one whom you pay nothing, and does nothing for you.
- Open Communication: While it may sound obvious at first, you’re going to want to find a consulting firm that listens to your needs and attends to them. However, you also want to find a provider who is not afraid to tell you exactly what is the matter, and what it will take to fix it. This balance of give and take will help lead to a mutually beneficial business relationship.
- Successful Experience: Of course, your IT consultant candidate’s track record with a particular set of issues will speak volumes of the kind of service you can expect to receive from them. If they haven’t already supplied plenty of evidence that sings their praises, ask for some. This gives you an excellent means of judging their success, and if they provide the service that you seek.
Directive can provide these services to you as well, so be sure to include us in your considerations as you shop around. Give us a call at 607.433.2200 if you have any questions and are interested in learning more.