Important Considerations When Hiring An IT Consultant
With today’s tough economic climate, rapid shift in work locations and the continual demands of digital transformation, businesses that are able to adapt to these challenges are able to not only survive, but to thrive by taking advantage of market conditions with a flexible, agile enterprise. However, as your business is going through this process, there are some strategic decisions you’ll need to make, using triage to determine where to invest and where to cut, so that you are best able to leverage your company’s resources to gain ground on the uphill battle of success.
At some point, you’ll need to make changes and upgrades to your technology and technological assets in order to continue your climb. In many of these situations, hiring a CIO or capable IT director could be your best option. Unfortunately, finding and paying the right person for this extremely critical position can be both expensive and difficult. But that doesn’t mean your company should go without this level of expertise. In fact, it doesn’t even mean that you need to hire a new employee. You can hire in an IT consultant to guide your in-house technical department through the process, without having to even hire them on a full-time basis. Though it can seem challenging, it’s actually much more effective if you take certain considerations into account.
Mark Veldhoff provides managed IT services in Grand Rapids with Envizion IT shares important considerations when hiring an IT consultant.
Important Considerations When Hiring An IT Consultant
It’s projected that information and computer technology (ICT) spending will see a 25% annual rise over the next five to ten years across a range of industries, much of which will go into updating traditional systems and adopting the latest technological advances as digital transformation marches forward. The focus of this spending can vary greatly, but about half of all businesses are focused on improving worker productivity through AI-assisted workflow (52%), better business performance management through data analytics (49%) and meeting customer experience expectations (46%).
But how do you approach these changes? An IT consultant helps guide your company through these processes, and because all businesses are different, what works well for one company may not be as effective for your business. That means that the approach that is taken requires a customized strategy to best suit your company. You’ll have to hire the right IT consultant for your business’ needs. Here are a few questions to ask your prospective IT consultants when you’re working through the selection process:
- Do they have relevant experience in your sector? Though there will still be a little bit of a learning curve to understand what makes your business unique, you shouldn’t have to work with an IT consultant that needs to learn everything from scratch. Take the time to vet your prospect’s credentials to avoid any delays, misunderstandings or disappointments as the process moves forward so that you can be assured of getting what you need out of the deal.
- Have they worked with businesses on the same scale as yours? If all of their experience is working with small retail shops, they may not be a good fit for your large corporate office. They won’t have the expertise to work on this level and you don’t want to have to pay to be their learning experience for that level of work. Ask for a few references if possible so that you can see how the consultant worked out for other companies like yours.
- Can they provide a portfolio of past work? If they do, take some time to really pour through it so that you can get an idea of what they’re able to deliver. If you think it looks like a good fit, ask them what kind of methods they used to gain the great positive outcomes you’re seeing in the portfolio, which gives them a chance to showcase their strategies and methodologies. If they can’t, look for a different IT consulting firm that can provide this information.
- Are they a team player? You don’t need a consultant who will come in and make a lot of changes without working with your people. If you do, they’ll eventually go away and you’ll be stuck with a big mess that you won’t know how to sort out. They should be able to collaborate effectively with others, demonstrate that they understand complex business processes and articulate their ideas clearly and precisely.
- Can their results be quantified? If your IT consultant can’t deliver ways to track measurements and outcomes of their changes, you won’t have any way to determine how effective your new digital initiatives can be. Whether you’re getting new apps installed, upgrading your systems or updating your data networks, you need to have agreed-on, observable metrics that allow you to monitor the results, giving you a solid gauge of your company’s progress.
- Can they train the rest of your staff and supervise them? If an outsider to your business makes a lot of changes that look like they would be helpful, but can’t or won’t provide the training needed to your staff so that they can stay on top of most issues that would arise, you may have trouble managing your new digital assets when the IT consultant is on another project or away from the office and an issue arises.
In many situations, hiring a solid IT consultant provides you with a much more cost-effective, expedient process than bringing on a full-time CIO or IT director, but only if you hire the right one. By keeping these questions in mind when you’re speaking to different consultants, you’ll find it much easier to not only hire an IT consultant but to find the right one for the job that can help take your business to the next level. If you’re looking for a qualified IT consulting firm to handle your company’s digital transformation strategy and tactics, why not contact us today and see how we can help? We’re happy to provide more information, answer any questions you may have, or schedule a consultation to go over your company’s goals, vision, and potential growth.