3 Key Considerations When Hiring an IT Consultant
One of the most important processes a small or medium-business can undertake is the selection of an IT consulting firm to assist them with a diverse range of issues such as securing information assets, building an improved online presence, and developing e-commerce applications that will help them efficiently and responsibly process their sales. The right consultant or team of consultants can make a world of difference to your business operations, helping you to attain a streamlined system that builds confidence among both employees and customers.
How can a business find that ‘right’ consultant, though?
Any business has a set of core competencies, and this is just as true of IT consulting firms as of any other organization. You would not hire a specialist in laying tile to reroute the plumbing in your employee workroom. Just the same, you should not hire a specialist in mobile applications to provide managed services, not unless the firm in question actually specializes in both.
You therefore need to find a firm with specialties to match your needs, but this requires you to take a step backward first so that you can identify your IT needs. This alone may also call for IT consulting. Keep your options open, though. Once you know where you want to go with an IT consultant, be sure that the firm you are currently working with has experience and expertise in those areas.
Look for an SMB focus
The computer infrastructure and programs in place at a large business can be very different from those needed at an SMB. This difference is not merely quantitative, with more CPUs in place, but qualitative as well; entire approaches to IT that are not applicable in a smaller business setting. This means that the IT consulting firms serving industry giants are probably not the best experts to serve SMBs. If you own or manage a small business, look for an IT consultant that understands at a deep, instinctive level your particular needs and resource limitations.
You get what you pay for
A small business in particular may be used to a certain level of informality in some kinds of business interactions. It may seem logical, and cost-effective, to hire a friend's son-in-law who just graduated from a tech school to help you explore IT solutions. More often than not, though, this sort of arrangement produces sub-standard results from a business standpoint. Work with a professional firm. It may cost a little more up front, but it will save money in the end because all IT solutions created for you will work correctly from the start.