6 Tips for Hiring an IT Consultant
There comes a time in many small businesses when the need for IT support and structure surpasses the current capabilities and knowledge base of the key stakeholders. As a result, the company experiences bottlenecks and risks impacting customer service.
The obvious solution is hiring an IT consultant, but that’s not a task to be taken lightly. Here are six important tips for finding and hiring an IT consultant for your small business.
Outline Your Challenges and Goals
Before you start looking outward for support, you need to look inward at your business. Take some time to outline the challenges your business is facing. This could be anything from finding the right software to suit your growing business needs to implementing better cybersecurity measures to be in compliance with modern legislation.
Outlining your challenges and goals will help you clarify your needs when vetting an IT consultant for your business. This exercise will help you narrow down your options and find the right fit.
Read Reviews, Case Studies, and Testimonials
One challenge many small business owners face when searching for an IT consultant is the nuanced jargon of the industry. Everything can sound big and flashy when reading about IT capabilities and processes. However, it’s important to look beyond the lingo and read about your potential consultant’s success rate.
Read reviews, case studies, and testimonials about the firms or consultants you’re considering. Don’t hesitate to reach out to previous customers and ask questions about their experience. Ideally, the consultant you’re working with will be transparent and simplify the terminology to ensure you’re on the same page.
Evaluate Their Offerings and Relevance
As with any industry, every consultant will have specialties within the IT spectrum. Taking the time to evaluate their offerings is essential for choosing the right partner. For example, Evolve-IT Consulting, a software house in Leicester, UK, offers bespoke software and in-house team extension to startups and blue-chip companies alike. Other consulting agencies specialize in third-party tools integration or provide silo solutions like QA and UX/UI consulting.
It’s also important to look at how relevant their experience is. While having a consulting firm with decades of experience is great, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to hire someone specializing in Fortune 500 companies when you have a small business. Finding someone who has experience with companies comparable to yours is ideal.
Look for Change Management Experience
Choosing software or implementing standard processes is one thing; change management is quite another. For many small businesses, getting employees on board is the most challenging part of an IT project.
Look for a consultant that offers assistance in change management. You’ll want someone who not only implements the changes but sticks around to offer training and support after the fact. It can take months for employees to become comfortable and knowledgeable with new technology. You’ll want a provider who’s there to help.
Create Clear Communication Standards
During the selection process, you must get on the same page regarding communications. Outline how you’re expected to talk to each other and what the update process will look like. You should feel comfortable in clearly outlining your expectations throughout your time together.
Get Everything in Writing
Finally, it’s integral that you get everything in writing. You’ll want a secure contract that outlines timelines and budget, as well as the scope of the project and communication methods.
Beyond that, you’ll also want wording in place to protect the sensitive information you’ll share with the consultant. A non-disclosure agreement is an absolute must when working with an IT consultant. You need to be able to speak freely and clearly about the project— an NDA will help you feel comfortable doing so.
Use these six tips to help you find the right IT consulting firm for your small business needs.