Make Sure You Work Effectively With Your IT Consultants
When IT challenges are overwhelming your team, you may decide to bring in outside resources to help you get your systems under control. IT consultants bring in expertise and unbiased opinions that can help you make strategic decisions; they can also provide hands-on help from experts with deeper knowledge than you have on staff. You can also use consultants to do the routine maintenance work that’s keeping your team from focusing on projects that add value to the business.
Once you’ve decided to hire an IT consulting firm, it’s important to plan how your internal team will work effectively with the consultants. Make sure you get the full value from these experts by:
- Defining the consulting firm’s work. Make sure your contract fully defines the scope of work. You and the consulting firm should agree on the cost, the number of consultant hours provided, and deliverables and deadlines. You may want approval over the consultants the consulting firm assigns to work on your projects. Agree on the technologies the consulting firm will use to complete their assignment to make sure it fits in with your long-term technical objectives.
- Agreeing on service levels. Know what level of service the consulting firm will provide—how many consultants, their knowledge level, and their availability. If you’ll be receiving 24×7 support, know how systems will be monitored, how the firm will respond to problems, how you’ll be informed of issues, and how issues will be escalated when necessary.
- Knowing where the consulting firm’s responsibilities end. Unless you’re receiving managed services, with the firm taking over complete responsibility for an area of your IT, the consulting firm’s employees will have to interact with your own IT team. You may need to reassure your team that the consultants will not be taking over their jobs. Clearly define the separation of responsibilities to prevent disagreements over what the consultants should be doing and what your own team will do.
- Knowing how you’ll pick up the work when the consultants leave. Because all IT requires support and maintenance, no project is ever truly “done.” Define how deliverables will be handed off to your internal IT staffers, including any training needed to ensure your team can successfully continue support.
Prescient Solutions’ team of experts has provided IT consulting services to Chicago and Schaumburg-area businesses for 20 years. Our expertise is backed by our certifications and our partnership with Microsoft, along with the knowledge gained by working with multiple clients in industries including education, distribution, non-profit, manufacturing, technology, and municipals. Our clearly defined engagement process ensures clients’ technical challenges are addressed with cost-effective best practices. Download our guide to IT consulting or contact us to learn more about how Prescient Solutions helps Chicago and Schaumburg organizations maximize their use of technology.