Ten things to consider:
How important is accuracy and consistency in the global marketplace?
Where will I be in five years?
Will hiring an IT consulting firm just cause me more headaches and more contract negotiations, and further complicate how I get the things I need to complete my project?
Do I want the personal attention of a boutique IT consulting firm?
How do I know if the IT consultant understands how to get through my procurement department?
Will an IT consultant be interested in my organization’s long-term success?
What happens when the project is over?
Is an IT consultant really going to help me, or are they just selling a product?
What if my work and materials are sensitive? How do I find a consultant who can handle such information?
How do I know the IT consulting firm has expert team members?
Take some time to research and review your global IT needs. If you need to meet specific standards for all of your diverse clients, a consulting firm that has achieved International Standards Organization (ISO) certification is your best solution. The ISO offers accreditation for companies that have met the rigorous requirements for global standardization. This standardization ensures that your project will be executed throughout the world with the same quality and consistency at all of your locations.
With the variety and diversity of IT projects, finding a consulting firm that is scalable can be a challenge. Large companies often bring extensive experience and knowledge of industry best practices to the table; they are stable and have the stamina to succeed in the ever-changing telecomm arena. If your company is on a path for growth, you’ll need an IT firm that can grow with you, that can continue to meet your needs in the future, as well as right now.
Acquiring resources, products and services through other manufacturers can add additional stress to the project. Large corporations with long-standing relationships with industry experts can expedite the process and leverage these relationships to help maintain your project budget. The right IT consultant can streamline the process instead of further complicating the procurement and acquisition process.
With large IT firms, it can sometimes feel like your project is treated as a number, that your team comes second to their organization’s success. If you need a firm that has regional, localized offices and staff to respond to the smallest of details, a boutique IT consulting firm can offer the support, top-quality service and personal knowledge of your marketplace and your culture.
If you’re a government agency, you need a consultant with experience in that arena, in the nuances of the process specific to that environment; you’re looking for someone on the GSA Schedule. Consultants that have experience working with government clients are usually experts in their field and can seamlessly integrate with the established procedures.
While you’re considering an IT consultant, explore how committed they are to your long-term success. Will they make recommendations, then send you elsewhere for implementation? You want an IT consultant that will be less focused on a quick-fix, and more focused on a comprehensive strategy that will accommodate your future needs. You want a firm that can help you plan, implement and measure the success of your project. You want a firm interested in establishing a relationship with their clients.
Even after the system is in place, will the IT consultant be available for training your team on proper use and maintenance? Will they be available for trouble-shooting and problem solving? You want an IT consultant who will provide answers and improvements, someone committed to the continued success of their work and yours.
The most effective IT consulting firms provide thorough strategic guidance, not just a sales pitch. You want a trusted advisor, someone who understands your needs and your unique situation, and can tailor a solution based on all of the circumstances. Some products are more effective for certain projects than others, and you need a firm who can recognize that and keep your best interests at the forefront.
Many consulting firms that have met the needs of government agencies include staff members who are familiar with the complex security needs of such organizations. Employing consultants with active government security clearances allows an IT consulting firm to provide on-the-spot solutions with integrity and confidentiality. You need an IT consulting firm with the versatility and agility needed to respond to both commercial and government clients.
Review the qualifications of the team your IT consulting firm has put together. Have they published any articles or studies on the subject matter of your business? Do they offer personnel with the necessary certifications? The right person and firm for your project will understand how to work within your requirements and will produce consistent results in a cost-conscious manner.