As a business owner, chances are you understand your service or product pretty well. However, you may not be expert at computer systems or branding or sales.
Hiring an expert to handle parts of your business that are outside your expertise is a vital business decision. It frees up time for you, and you are guaranteed a professional job that will boost your business.
From the time you will find that you need services of an IT consultant. When such a time arises, here are five questions to ask them before enlisting their services.
What is your area of expertise?
Some IT consultants are a generalist, meaning that can do pretty much anything IT related. In other words, they do not have an area of specialization.
When bringing an IT consultant on board, identify their area of specialization. If you need to setup servers and networks, you are going to need a consultant who is infrastructure focused. If you are setting up a web-enabled service, It Consultings Firm In The Bay Area who is solution focused.
How do you make design decisions?
The majority of IT consultants tend to be biased toward a particular technology, one in which they have a solid background. It could be Linux or Windows, for instance, and in that case, their decisions will be based on what they are most comfortable with.
The ideal candidate should have experience across multiple platforms and a range of technologies.
Can you make cost/benefit trade-offs?
The ideal consultant should have the skills to make cost/benefit tradeoffs that will save you money. As a small business owner, you don’t have the privilege of a large IT budget, so you need a consultant that can make sound financial decisions as reliable technical decisions.
Do you have any affiliations to vendors?
Some consultants make decisions based on their affiliations to certain vendors – think Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco. Since they can potentially earn commissions by selling solutions they represent, they are more likely to recommend those solutions regardless of whether they are the right ones for your business. This is not necessarily a bad thing but is is good to know how these relationships might affect your business need.
What is your technical expertise?
Finally, you need to know what expertise the consultant brings. If he has a team, you might also need to know how qualified they are to do the job.
This is when you can ask to look at their certifications – typically vendor sanctioned – and you may also ask for references of previous clients.
These are generic questions to give you a start when sourcing an IT consultant. Remember, it is not a cookie-cutter question guide (there is no one). Define your specific needs and ask questions based on those needs.…