Looking for An IT Consultant? Here’s What You Need to Know.
How smoothly is your business running? Are you poised to take advantage of new tech trends, or are you at risk of getting blindsided by them? What can you do to increase efficiency and disaster-proof your tech systems?
Many companies rely on their IT department for the answers to these questions. However, in-house IT departments may struggle with the bigger picture as they deal with daily crises. And smaller enterprises may not even have a dedicated staff for this. All of these companies are at risk of inefficient workflows, potential data breaches, and more.
If your teams don’t have the right tools, productivity may suffer. Meanwhile, exciting new tech is always on the horizon, coupled with increasingly bold cybercriminal attacks. A third-party IT consultant can help you navigate the challenges and the opportunities of this constantly-changing tech landscape.
What Is An IT Consultant?
IT consultants are third-party specialists who consult and collaborate with businesses. They may work with the company briefly or through long-term and recurring contracts. The IT consultant offers a variety of assessments and other types of guidance. They may sometimes roll up their sleeves and work directly on a project or update software. However, these experts are primarily hired for strategic or operational work.
Once contracted, the IT consultant will assess your company’s needs and analyze the data that’s been collected. They may observe how easily your team interacts with office equipment, test your computer system’s firewalls, research tech that could better fit your company, and more. The IT consultant might discuss the situation with other in-house experts during this process. Once they’ve tapped into a wider knowledge base, they’ll bring their findings to you.
Together, you and the consultant will dive into the report. They may also propose an action plan to address problems. This plan will likely cover transitioning the company to more efficient devices or more secure software, among other fixes.
Top Benefits of Working with An IT Consultant
Why choose to work with an IT consultant instead of handling this within the company? If you have in-house IT staff, they may be too close to see the broader situation. If you don’t, you’re in even greater need of an outsider’s viewpoint. IT consultants are used to working with businesses of different sizes and infrastructures. They’ll be able to come up with actionable advice no matter what your company looks like.
IT consultants also tend to be specialists who can offer you an expert´s perspective. You’ll be able to access the knowledge of professionals who deeply understand your industry and the tech you’re working with. They can advise you on the latest and best technology or help you prepare for exciting new software in the development pipeline. All of this experience can be yours for an affordable consultancy fee.
You pay to work with them, but you’ll also cut costs in other areas. IT consultants can spot inefficiencies or brewing problems like a hole in your data security. They’ll advise you on how you can trim waste or increase productivity. The consultant will also detail how you can avoid or minimize a crisis, whether it’s cyberattacks or old equipment failing catastrophically.
How to Find the Right IT Consultant for Your Company
Define What You’re Looking For
The advice you’ll receive is only as good as the IT consultant. How do you find the right fit? Start by closing the search engine window and doing a little homework.
What do you need? We’ve talked about IT consultants in general terms here, but most of them specialize in a specific area or industry. Do you need advice on a legal front? Management? Adhering to data privacy regulations? Disaster-proofing your computer systems?
While you’re still in the preparation phase, this is also a good time to get a rough idea of what kind of contract you’ll need. How long will you need to work with the consultant? What’s the budget like? Will you need them to come in, or can they work remotely? It’s best to have some flexibility here, but you’ll need a general plan for what your business can afford financially and time-wise.
How do you find an IT consultant? You can try ‘your city’ + ‘IT consultants,’ but what do you do with the dozens of pages of results? Anyone can throw a listing up. A better way to find a third-party company is through networking. Reach out to other business owners in your industry and the people you can count on to give you an unbiased recommendation. If you’re still striking out, you may be able to find consultants on social media, online marketplaces in your industry, or freelancer sites.
Check Their Background
Once you have a shortlist, do a little research on each consultant. Do they have degrees and certifications in the specific area where you need advice? How much experience do they have in your industry or with companies of your size? Any major accomplishments?
When you reach the interview stage, it is time to get into the details of what they can offer you. For instance, who would you be specifically working with? Do they have a preferred way to communicate with their clients? What hours and days are they available? How do they handle problems or disputes? The way the IT consultant company answers these questions can tell you if they’re the right fit for working with your business.
Businesses that hire IT consultants are working with an experienced specialist who can assess their company’s tech environment. The information they get from these third-party services can help them trim costs, dodge data security issues, and invest wisely in the right equipment and software.
Is your Bloomington business looking for an IT consultant? Contact DTS today to learn how we can help you better manage your IT environment.