Are you thinking of bringing in IT consultants?

IT consultants allow you to get access to technical skills and experience that you wouldn’t otherwise have. But no two consultants are the same, which is why it is important you find the right team for our business.

We are here to help. Make sure you find the best IT consulting companies for your business by asking them these seven questions before hiring them.

1. What Experience Do They Have with SMBs in Your Industry?

The first thing you always ask is how much experience they have with businesses like yours.

Let’s say you’re an accounting firm, but the IT consulting companies you are looking at have only worked in the medical field. They might not have the knowledge of the industry they need, like the best tech to go with, or up-to-date policy and procedures.

Any good IT consultant will be familiar with your business size and industry needs. To get a measure of this, ask them what obstacles they’ve faced in your area. Then ask them how they solved them.

If those issues sound like what you’re up again, then that’s a good place to start.

2. What Qualifications, Certifications and Specialties Do They Have?

You’re going to depend on your IT to get your job done. It’s important that you’re working with a consultant who has the right qualifications. You want to go with a consultant who knows what they need to do to improve your IT infrastructure.

Make sure you ask them about their qualifications and certifications. Find out what they’ve studied, and anything they’re working on in the pipeline.

You should also find out if there are any areas they specialize in. If you’re looking for a particular skill set, make sure you ask for those skills before you hire someone in.

3. How Will They Communicate with You?

A lack of regular, clear communication can be disastrous. This can disconnect both parties from their expectations. In the end, it’ll cause disappointment and frustration.

An IT consultant should include you at every step of the way. From planning to progress and changes. You’ll know what’s going on at every stage of solution or infrastructure implementation.

Get your potential consultant to explain how they communicate with clients. Ask what the level of client decision making is, and at what stages they get their say. Be clear in saying that you need an open communication line for any partnership going forward.

4. Are They Willing to Do Personal Meetings?

Speaking of communication, we know it can be tough to keep up to date. But having a working relationship and trust is vital to the successes of any partnership.

You’ll struggle to get that without regular personal meetings. You need to be able to meet face to face to connect as humans, not only as businesspeople.

This helps build that working relationship, but it also helps you get on the same page. How can you hope to understand each other if you never meet in person?

Getting to know each other on a human level helps you understand the client and supplier needs. You’ll have a better understanding of where to improve, and it’ll foster more openness. So, ask them if they do personal meetings, and tell them that it’s something you’ll need from them.

5. Are They Affiliated with any Vendors?

Ask what vendor affiliations your potential consultant has. Most experts will have a bias one way or another when it comes to technology. Some may prefer Linux over Microsoft Windows, for example, or vice versa.

Find out what extent they base their recommendations on these bias and comforts. This will give you a wider insight into the options that would work for your business.

In an ideal world, you should hire a consultant who has experience in a multitude of platforms. This way, they can offer you an unbiased opinion on what will work for your needs.

But it’s not always a bad thing if you do go with someone with a strong vendor affiliation. If you know this is the one you want to go with, this can offer a more comprehensive insight into the platform.

6. Who’s Going to be Doing the Work?

One of the biggest frustrations when hiring an IT consultant is, when they get the job, they send in a junior. They’re the ones that actually do the work in their stead.
It’s common with a lot of consultancy organisation, especially the larger ones. They’ll send out their top consultant to work out the principles of the deal. And you’ll feel at ease and in good hands.

But, when the job starts, they don’t come back to do the work. Instead, you get a fresh college graduate, or another junior consultant instead.

Larger firms will often hire bright, promising students after they graduate. They’re then sent out to a lot of these jobs to carry out the top consultant’s vision. But this can be a disaster, as the juniors often lack the practical experience you need.

You’ll have a mess that you will need to clean up. If this happens to you, you could end up having to hire another consultant and start over so they can fix it. So always ask who is going to do the work, meet with them and vet them with these questions as well.

7. Will They Protect Your Intellectual Property (IP)?

Protecting your IP is always a top priority. You don’t want a cowboy consultant coming in and holding your accounts hostage. Nor do you want someone who will not turn over login info or data when they leave.

This is why you should address IP in your questioning session. There are ways that you can protect yourself and your IP. You can use standard IP language.

In other words, the consultant will agree that the ownership of any IP belongs to the client. And as the organization receiving the service, this makes you the client.

Choosing IT Consulting Companies Made Easy

So there you have it! Now you know these seven questions to ask, you’ll go in prepared when choosing between IT consulting companies.

Make sure to do a background check and go over their credentials. You want someone qualified as a consulting, and with experience in your industry. Make sure they’re willing to communicate at every step of the way. You don’t want them leaving you out in the cold in your own business.

If you found this article helpful, check out our other blog posts today.

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