New technology systems and networks have been integrated into almost every business in recent years. Whether based online or not, nearly every business will be using some form of technology to help with their operations. This fact is now fundamental to every new start-up in most industries.
This means it’s nearly impossible to shy away from the IT sector. Obviously, it would be very helpful if you were an expert in the technology systems you need to use, but sometimes this is not always the case.
As a business owner, your expertise will likely be in daily management and niche industry knowledge- IT systems are not always tailored to this.
This can be a dilemma for many start-ups. Many firms experience unambitious progress or extensive periods of decline due to problems with IT. Poor IT systems can be the difference between a struggling business and turning over a lot of money.
IT consultants can be of great help with any issues regarding technology and networks in your business. Read on to learn more about IT consultants and how to pick one that will benefit your business.
What is an IT Consultant?
An IT consultant will work with you to improve any IT systems that your business is using. This means increasing the efficiency of any current IT networks to reach your business objectives.
Furthermore, IT consultants can also increase the integration of IT with your business. This means recommending and implementing any IT technology you are not currently using. IT consultants will outline any ways you can improve your operations and how technology can make production more efficient.
They can also help if you’re running into problems with your current IT systems. Consultants can identify and fix any issues which may be harming your production.
When Should you be Looking for IT Consultants?
The great thing about IT consultants is that they can be helpful at any stage of your business journey. As long as there is the possibility of using IT in your business, a consultant can help with that.
Alastair Williamson-Pound, the CTO of Mercator IT Solutions, states, “[You should be looking for IT consultants] when the company is lacking a key skill and doesn’t have the time to train up someone internally. Consultants will apply years of experience and knowhow and be able to start solving the problem within a day or so (depending on the nature of the problem and amount of information available). The application of this skill maybe something that the company doesn’t necessarily wish to invest in but only tactical.”
Alastair continues, “When you want to get up to date with best practice. Working practices can get out of date. Bringing in a consultant can enable to you see what good looks like. Learn best practice and help shape your own internal employees’ working practices to optimise their productivity.”
IT consultants can offer immediate help by integrating technology with your business. Since this technology improves your production methods, you’ll find yourself with lower average costs. This should allow you to pass on lower prices to consumers and stand out from competitors.
Consultants can still be of use if you’re further down the line with your business and IT integration. IT consultants will prevent any standstills where production can no longer continue because of problems with IT.
Technology is constantly changing and improving. This means consultants will always be able to implement more efficient systems throughout your business journey.
Picking out a Reliable Consultant
There are many IT consultants in the market, all claiming that they are the best in the business! Therefore, it is pretty challenging to know if you’re actually working with someone who will provide long term benefits for your business.
It would be best to use these tips to help you pick an IT consultant that will help you reach your business objectives.
Most IT consultants will cover many industries and know about many different systems. However, it’s not possible to be an expert in absolutely everything. So some IT consultants may not be as valuable to you as others.
Different consultants will specialize in different industries. If you don’t pick a consultant familiar with your industry, they may provide sub-optimal solutions that aren’t of great help to your operations. Therefore, you’ll need to research consultants and ask them what they specialize in.
If you’re hiring a consultant to iron out any problems with your IT systems, then being specific is even more crucial.
Try to understand the issue as much as possible. This will allow you to search for consultants who know your IT system very well and easily spot issues. This will allow quick fixes instead of waiting for a diagnosis from inexperienced consultants.
Who do you work best with?
If you’ve ever looked for an IT consultant before, you’ll know there are many different options. They range from smaller individual consultants to huge consultancy companies.
Different types of firms will have different potential benefits. Very large companies will have the advantage of many reviews and high reputations. This may work better for you if you’re in a well-known market and looking for quick solutions.
However, smaller firms or individuals could be more valuable if you’re working in a niche market. You’re more likely to find individuals specialising in these markets than larger firms. This may result in more effective solutions.
Communication is Key
When working with any 3rd party company, communication is vital for efficient service. Make sure you’re working with a consultant who is communicating regular and in-depth information with you.
Ongoing communication will make sure you know how they plan to help you and whether or not you’re ready to implement their method. This will make the process much faster and have you back to a booming business in no time!
This is why you may prefer working with small firms and individuals. Communication can be much faster since you are not on a waiting list among other clients that large companies may be working with.
You also don’t have to avoid going through multiple chains of command if you need to pass on urgent information. This information will be relayed immediately if you’re working with an individual since you are already talking to the boss!
Alastair states, “The best way is to go to a trusted and reputable consultancy. They can have a large network of consultants and they will be able to select the most pertinent person to match your requirements. It also depends on the nature of the role. If you needed a top tier management consultant then you could approach any of the large management consultancy firms (KPMG, BCG, EY etc). If it’s a technology consultant then Mercator would be best option.”
Keep these factors in mind as you start the process of finding IT consultants to support your growing business. Without a doubt, your team will benefit!