Technology February 26, 2014 Last updated September 18th, 2018 1,278 Reads share

5 Questions To Ask When Choosing An IT Consultant

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Hiring an external resource to support your business growth can seem like a daunting task. With countless providers out there, how can you be sure that you are bringing in the best person for the job?

#1. What is your previous experience in this area?

As when hiring an employee, it is always important to get as much background information as possible. Be sure to ask the consultant for detailed overviews of previous projects or ask them to provide client case studies. Don’t be afraid to look for references also. A good consultant will have no problem with you contacting previous clients for information about their work.

#2. Do you have the support of an external team?

Although the role of the IT consultant is to integrate into your business and work alongside your staff, it is also important that they are supported by their own team where possible. Many large-scale IT projects require the input of various people along the way, so always establish if there are others available to lend a hand when necessary. Having access to the diverse range of talent, knowledge and skills will only serve to enrich the work being carried out by your consultant.

#3. Where can I expect to see returns on my investment?

Although technology is essential to the running of every business, many management teams are reluctant to invest in it. While this often frees up cash-flow, it can lead to problems down the line when things go wrong. IT can be costly, so be sure the consultant can clearly demonstrate the areas that a return on investment can be seen. For example, while a move to the Cloud may be more costly than a traditional IT set up, benefits such as improved backup and disaster recovery will outweigh the costs should something go wrong.  Your consultant should clearly set out the ways in which you will see measurable returns on your IT spend.

#4. How familiar are you with my industry?

When checking references and case studies, it is also important to get an idea of how much industry knowledge the consultant has. Ask them how well they know your business and your industry as a whole, and how comfortable they are working with the key applications used in your office.

While understanding highly specialised technology is critical to the role of the consultant, it is also important to ensure that they are knowledgeable about the overall needs of your business. A good consultant should be able to leverage technology in keeping with the trends in your industry, all the while ensuring the high-level objectives of your business are at the heart of everything they work to achieve.

#5. Can you clearly illustrate how you will add value to my business?

As a key stakeholder in your business, the consultant should be able to clearly demonstrate the real value that they can add. For example, this could focus on projects that improve business processes, enhance engagement with clients and third parties or make internal collaborations more effective. The success of projects such as these should be measured in line with the overall business goals so that added value and return on investment is clearly identifiable.

Images: ”expert consulting – text in 3d blue glass cubes with white letters, business concept  / Shutterstock.com

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Finian Nally

Finian Nally

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