Do you have a business IT problem that you cannot solve in-house? This Guide explores the cost/benefit of using a consultant and will help you find a consultancy supplier.
One of the key strengths of successful business people is their ability to ask for help when they need it. Struggling to solve a problem yourself can be a huge waste of time and money and what you do during the working day needs to be based on the notion of how effective you can be.
Spending hours sorting out a broken PC is not best use of many small business owners' time.
The problem is where do you go for help that is cost effective and provides you with the answer to your business needs? We will explore this issue in this project. By engaging with an IT consultancy supplier you can save money for your business, even though there will be some cost up front. Costs of IT consultants can range from £150 - £3000+ per day.
How to choose an IT consultant
You will need to think through your problem and the type of consultant best suited to get the issue resolved. Word of mouth is a good way to find a consultant so ask around other businesses and see how they fare. If your problem is product specific then a check of a vendor’s website will often show a listing of potential consultants.
Many consultants would consider visiting you to discuss your requirements. This is an opportunity for you to both size each other up and decide if there is both a technical and personality fit. It is very difficult working with a consultant you don’t get on with. Ask them to provide references or case studies of similar work they have undertaken to get a feel for what they can deliver. You may also check to see who would be doing the actual work. Many larger consultancies will send in a sales consultant who would then pass the actual work onto other staff.
Take a common sense approach and you should be fine.
Define the task
This is very important as you will need to be very clear what you are expecting the IT consultant to do for you. Many will charge a daily rate rather than a fixed fee which gives you flexibility in defining the work but will require you to watch your budget. If you want a fixed fee for anything other than the simplest of jobs you need to get the agreed task and deliverables documented on a contract. If you are unsure how to progress try and get a friend or colleague to help you through the process. Many IT consultants will offer a mentoring scheme in their work, so even if they do not do the work themselves they can help you outsource it effectively to another third party.
Where to find a consultant
Here are some resources that may help you find an IT consultant:
Microsoft Small Business Centre
Choosing an IT supplier
Business IT Guide
enables businesses to make the right IT decisions