The business models, processes, and success strategies of companies can be extremely diverse. However, they all have one thing in common: they are based on IT. If there’s a problem with the IT systems, not even emails can be sent. In other words, the business is put on hold. This is why IT is a decisive factor in corporate success.
In addition, IT-based processes hold great potential for increasing efficiency. Unfortunately, the flip side is also true: suboptimal IT systems hinder collaboration instead of driving business. Smart companies regularly invest time and energy into auditing and optimising their IT landscape.
At the same time, IT is the business area that is undergoing the most rapid evolution of all. What was state-of-the-art yesterday is already obsolete today. IT tasks are becoming increasingly complex, while requirements are changing rapidly. It’s no wonder that more and more companies are trusting external IT consultants rather than their own judgement. But what exactly does an IT consultant do, and in what situations is it worthwhile using them? We will answer these questions and more in this article.
What does an IT consultant do?
IT consultants are highly specialised experts in the area of IT. They have in-depth knowledge of hardware and software, understand complex process architectures and are familiar with the latest market developments.
IT consultants work at the intersection between computer know-how and the business world. They understand both and can therefore mediate between developers and managers, enabling them to provide companies with comprehensive advice and active support when it comes to introducing or developing IT systems.
What does an IT consulting process look like?
Hiring an IT consulting firm might work something like this:
Order clarification: The goals of the cooperation are defined together with all the parties involved.
Analysis: The IT consultant comes to your company. They get an overview of your IT on site and evaluate technical and financial aspects. This allows them to uncover any potential deficiencies and weaknesses.
Presentation of possible solutions: Considering the opportunities and risks, the IT consultant develops proposals for improving IT-based processes, applications, and systems. They then coach and guide managers through the decision-making process.
Project phase: The IT consultant oversees the entire project – they develop, implement, configure, and optimise the IT systems together with the in-house IT department or their own employees. Tests, training, and evaluations also fall within their remit.
How to recognise that it’s time to turn to an IT consultant
Operational blindness: You have been working with your systems for so long that you can no longer see the forest for the trees.
“IT fossils”: Your infrastructure has not been optimised for a long time.
Insecure networks: You havebeen a victim of cyberattacks.
Innovation backlog: Your digital transformation has come to a standstill, e.g., you don’t have a digital workspace.
High risk: You are about to make a major investment/changeover or start an extensive IT project.
When should you turn to an IT consultant?
IT consultants are versatile contacts for almost any form of technical concern – whether that’s a specific IT problem, an upcoming software rollout or permanent basic support. The most common cases are:
Disruptions: Your IT is not running seamlessly. Their task is to uncover the faults or bottlenecks and eliminate them permanently.
Quality control: This can be a one-time or annual review of whether the IT landscape and associated processes are up to date and whether they can be made more efficient.
Optimisation: The company would like to see a tangible improvement in a specific sub-area or with regards to IT holistically.
New requirements: Certain situations, such as a legal change or a new product, require the migration of IT or the introduction of new technical solutions. Your IT consultant will support you with this extensive, planned project.
Product recommendation: Independent IT consulting firms can draw on their experience to identify reliable, suitable applications and tools for every need.
Prevention: Whether data leaks or cyberattacks – prevention using specialised IT consulting makes a lot more sense than damage limitation after the incident has already occurred.
Reasons why having an external IT consultant is worthwhile
IT consulting is definitely an investment, but it pays off no matter what due to the numerous benefits. External IT consultants:
Are more cost-effective than a permanent employee
Are available at an ad-hoc basis and can be deployed flexibly
Know the best, most up-to-date solutions and have comparative values to other companies
Draw your attention to opportunities: cost savings, modernisation, and efficiency gains
Point out risks. Wrong decisions, gaps in cyber security, failures and disruptions cost a lot of money.
External consultants bring fresh insights and are not influenced by internal issues. They step in where your company lacks knowledge and human resources and serve as a competent partner to help you make decisions.
Their impartial, expert opinion is also helpful before making major decisions or performing certain actions. The cost of bad investments can quickly skyrocket. By initiating optimisation measures, IT consultants ultimately help to reduce ongoing costs.
How to recognise a good IT consulting firm
You have decided you need an IT consultant, but don’t know which consulting firm is right for you? There are huge differences in IT consultants – both in the way they operate and in terms of quality.
It’s vital that the personal chemistry is right and that you feel well looked after. After all, IT consulting is primarily a matter of trust. Does your consultant respond to your individual wishes instead of selling you standard services? Do they take the time to analyse your IT landscape, or do they push you in a certain direction over the phone?
Another issue is availability. IT problems tend to occur outside of normal working hours. Choose an IT consulting firm that offers24/7 IT support and can get to you quickly if an emergency arises. You can also recognise good IT consulting firms by their qualifications. Stay away from IT consultants who can’tp rovide proof of advanced training or their certifications.
Experis take pride in providing pragmatic approaches to complex business challenges from sustainability to process optimisation. We provide fit for purpose consulting consultancy services for Business Transformation, Cyber Security, Digital Workspace, Cloud and Infrastructure, and Enterprise Applications. If your business is looking for specialist advise on any of these areas, find out more on our website and get in touch.