Jacob Adler was in a dilemma. The recent spurt in the growth of his Cloud-based CRM software company also meant additional IT infrastructure and the need to build a new version of their software to accommodate the additional 200,000 customers they had acquired in the past six months.
He knew that the task was too big for his internal team. Even if they worked round-the-clock, they wouldn’t be able to meet the deadline, and besides, the management had decided that the web and the mobile versions must be launched on the same date.
They didn’t have enough time. The technology that was needed was a totally uncharted territory for him and his team and they would all require extensive training.
Michael Colby, his CEO, had suggested roping in an IT consulting company. This would immediately allow them to start working on the new technology and with an increased workforce, they would easily meet the deadline.
So far, the entire CRM software had been Jacob’s baby and it was very difficult for him to accept that he would not just have to seek outside help, he would also have to expose his inability to handle a project of such a scale, on his own, in front of his company as well as the IT consultants.
Perhaps it would have helped Jacob had he known that working with IT consulting services is a norm among companies and organizations that are growing faster than anticipated.
Working with an IT consultant doesn’t mean your capabilities are being questioned, it just means an immediate access to cutting-edge technology and a highly experienced workforce that will immediately get down to the task.
Worldwide, worth $ 415 billion of business is done by IT consulting services.
Smaller businesses and agencies use IT consultants, when they need expertise and technical knowledge that they don’t currently have, but also don’t plan to employ people with these skills and abilities on a permanent basis.
What is IT consulting?
It is the business of providing information technology support services in terms of skills (programming, project management, business intelligence, analytics, and maintenance) and human resource.
These services provide strategic, architectural, operational and human resource support on a contract basis.
You would want to partner with an IT consulting service to
- Take care of temporary skill shortage
- Fill the gap created by employee absence
- Avail a skillset that is not available in-house
- Avail special expertise that is available only with a particular consultant
You can partner with an IT consulting service on an ongoing basis or only for specific projects.
For example, you want to take on projects or you have some requirements that don’t justify a full-time in-house team but are very essential. In such cases, it makes sense to work with a consulting service.
The benefits of working with a consulting service are:
- You pay just for the service.
- You don’t go through the hassle of interviews, assessment and recruitment.
- No infrastructural cost if the consulting service works offshore.
- You don’t need to pay employment benefits.
- No associated taxes.
- Cutting-edge technology becomes available to you at a fraction of the actual cost.
- Massive experience becomes available to you as your IT consulting service works with multiple clients supplying for multiple needs.
How does an IT consultant help your business?
An IT consulting company can help you in multiple ways, but, broadly, there are two prominent ways they can help your business:
1. Help you function and deliver like a large IT company without actually being a large IT company.
2. Help you implement an IT solution within your organization without having to hire a full-time IT team.
Following are the various ways described in detail.
They possess expertise in a particular niche
Most of the consulting companies or services gain their edge by developing an expertise in a specific market. Instead of providing their services to every client who comes their way, they selectivity choose their partnerships where they can provide maximum leverage.
For example, if you need an IT consulting service to work on a financial application development project, it would be prudent to look for a consulting partner that specifically works for the financial sector.
Through their vertical insight and vast experience of having already worked on similar assignments, their knowledge wealth is comprehensive.
An IT consulting team can help you decide on what technologies you’ll need for the upcoming or ongoing project.
If you need to assemble a team the service can assist with looking for and hiring the right talent.
They can identify your problems
Sometimes, from your own position, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what problems you are facing.
An IT consultant brings you an outsider’s perspective with a fresh outlook.
Again, since a consulting company must have already worked with businesses and organizations dealing with similar or identical problems (and must’ve solved those problems), it is in a much better place to give you advise.
They may have a better grip at your industry than you have because it may have the needed analytical know-how, technology, and tools to run your situational metrics through number crunching formulas, and present to you a data-based analysis of what you face and how you can deal with it.
They helps Business be more adaptable to change
As they say, “change is the only constant in this world,” and nowhere it is truer than in the world of business in general and technology in particular.
Take for example a very prominent case of Microsoft, one of the biggest software companies. When the Internet arrived, the company failed to adapt to this massive disruption and lost its place to newcomers like Google and Facebook (although it is recovering now).
Then again when the world embraced the mobile technology companies like Apple and Samsung took the lead while Microsoft was left playing catch-up.
A competent IT consulting company can help you quickly adapt to the market changes and benefit from those changes.
They can help capitalize on opportunities
An IT consultant can help you turn challenges into opportunities.
Take the same example above. The arrival of the Internet and then the mobile technology was a big challenge for the software giant. With the right information and analytics, a consulting company could have helped Microsoft port its legacy applications and make it web and mobile friendly in advance. Of course, in the case of Microsoft, it would have done the porting itself but a timely advice would have definitely helped.
Similarly, an IT consulting company can help you recognize the emerging trends and adapt your business processes and an adjustment to the market placement accordingly.
They can help in setting business targets
The reasons why an IT consulting company is in a better position to provide you objectivity is because
- It brings an outsider’s perspective.
- It has the needed tools and intellectual skillset to better analyze data and trends.
- It has already helped businesses and organizations deal with identical challenges and opportunities.
A consulting company, with its analytical abilities, tools, and above all, experience, can help you set realistic targets.
They can help in setting up your business
Want to set up a new business?
There’s a reason why a consulting company provides consulting services: it has access to knowledge, resources, manpower, and tools that are needed to run a business successfully.
Hence, when you decide to work with an IT consulting company, it brings with it its vast experience. It can help you avoid the pitfalls. It can help you reduce business setup expenses. It can help you develop and acquire the right technology. It can even help you quickly launch your first product to kick-start your venture.
They can help in reviving your organization
Is your growth stagnating? Are your competitors quickly bypassing you and lapping up opportunities that could have been yours?
Your organizations might be lagging behind because it may not have the market insight, the manpower, and access to technology that your competitors have.
When you work with an IT consulting company, all those strengths immediately become available to you and you can begin the process of reviving your organizations.
They can help in building an effective team
An effective and proficient team is normally the backbone of your organization. Hence it is very crucial to have an adequately qualified, skilled and experienced team.
Assembling an effective team can be an arduous exercise and even when you think you have a team you need, you can never be sure.
An IT consulting company, with its vast repository of experience and even access to a trained and experienced workforce, can help you build an effective IT team.
Benefits of working with an IT consultant
One of the biggest benefits of working with an IT consulting company is that you can avail experience, technology, and workforce almost as good as immediately. All you have to do is, pay the consulting fee and a world-class team of IT consultants who have already worked on multiple killer projects is working on one of your projects.
The multiple benefits of working with an IT consulting team are listed below:
1) Access highly specialized talent
A consulting company consults because it doesn’t just have the right technology – anyone with money can obtain technology – it consults because it has the needed experience and the needed expertise in the field of its specialty.
We can use the example of an IT consulting company especially providing its services to the financial industry.
As a software company, you have just landed a project with a finance company. You have a small team of programmers, but your team has never worked on a financial application. It’s a highly critical project and you need to work with a team that has already worked on multiple such projects.
You hire an IT consulting service with this particular specialty. This will make sure you have the right time, and the team works with the right technology, with the full understanding of what your client requires.
What if you decide to use or build your in-house team?
You will be never sure how your team performs until they’ve worked on the project for a couple of months. You may need to hire a new team. You may have to obtain training for your existing team. You may have to invest in acquiring new technologies.
All this effort and investment is worth it provided you are 100% sure that you are taking the right steps, otherwise it can be a big disaster.
2) Focus on core business functions
What exactly is your core business? Is it IT management? Is it software development? Is it mobile app development?
If not, you will be better off if you outsource these needs to an IT consulting company so that you can focus on your core business.
Research has shown that when you indulge in an activity that is not your core competence and for which you need to learn and make an immense mental effort, you expend 3X times more energy than what you spend on your usual work in which you are comfortable.
For example, if you are a marketing professional you can do marketing more effectively than managing an IT team or working on a software application for marketing. Your happiest doing what you do best and are comfortable at.
If you have a chain of hotels you are better at managing your hotels than supervising a team that is building a hotel booking software.
Similarly, if you are an architect, a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer, you should spend time on your core competency rather than learning and manage something totally alien.
Information technology is a totally different, dedicated ballgame. People spend years providing real-world solutions using cutting-edge technologies before they start calling themselves consultants. It is not a side activity, especially when a lot is at stake. It is a full-time job.
3) Saves budget and time
Assuming that IT is not your core business if you decide to go on your own without hiring an IT consulting company, your organization incurs monetary losses in many forms such as
- You are working with a team that is less experienced and hence more prone to committing mistakes.
- You continuously must get involved to make sure that your IT team is on the right track, ignoring your own business and competency and consequently, harming your business.
- You move forward through trial and error incurring expenses that could have been easily avoided.
- Hiring and firing employees can be an expensive affair.
- You will need to get your existing employees trained.
- You will have to invest in software and hardware.
- After completing the project, you may realize the approach was all wrong and everything needs to start again from scratch.
The biggest casualties are the lost opportunities. You want a software application or a mobile app because you want an asset for your business. Instead, it becomes a liability.
Hiring an IT consultant, on the other hand, can help you save both money and time.
The only cost will be the fee charged by them. After you have signed the contract, it will be the responsibility of the company to make sure that you get what you need. It is not your concern whether they finish the project in one go or it has to do the entire thing a couple of times.
While the consultants you have contracted is building your next software app or mobile app, or your website, you can spend your time doing what you are best at – your core competency.
4) Provides best return on technology investment
There are two reasons for partnering with an IT consultant which can give you the best return on technology investment:
- They deliver the product or service that you need without you having to worry about managing the resources and the people associated with the project.
- The best-of-the-breed (depending on your partner) work on your project making sure that you have a top-notch product by the end of the contract.
5) Helps in taking Control scope and budget
When you work with an IT consultant almost everything is pre-decided. When the contract is being drawn you can decide the budget (mutually agreeable), the features of your product and the deadline. You won’t go over-budget because it is the responsibility of the consultant that once it has started working on your project it delivers what it has promised. You’re not worried about how they do it, your only concern is that they deliver it.
6) World-class expertise at your service
Normally, if you have an in-house team, it may take years to develop the experience and expertise needed for important projects. Having already worked on numerous projects the IT consultants has solved many problems, has worked under many challenging conditions and its team is adept at leveraging technological tools to their best abilities.
Suppose, you need a mobile app that should be available on all major platforms including Android, iOS and Windows Mobile.
Rather than having your own team working on various versions of the mobile app, it makes sense to hire an IT consulting company that is comfortable working with React Native, a mobile app development platform that allows developers to build mobile apps for different platforms in one go.
7) Reduce downtime
Building a software application or a mobile app can be a big constraint on your IT resources and may even result in frequent downtime.
Downtime means something goes wrong with your server or software and it either crashes or becomes unavailable.
If your in-house team is using your Web server to test the various components of your software application or mobile app, it may in some manner affect your existing IT infrastructure.
An IT consulting company will use its own servers and its own IT infrastructure (unless it is working on-site) and in case of some eventuality, no impact will be borne by your business.
8) Provides technological edge over competitors
The world of software and technology is volatile and constantly changing. Existing software gets new versions and new software is being introduced every 15 or so days. Before you know it, the applications and IT tools you are using are outdated if not outright obsolete.
An IT consultant constantly has to provide cutting-edge solutions to its various clients. Efficiency and promptness are not options for them, but necessities.
This is why, when it works on your project, it uses the latest information technology, even such technology that is not available to your competitors, consequently, giving you the much-needed edge.
The IT consultants being professionals constantly go through training, orientation, and skill upgrade because just like you need to gain an edge over your competitors, they too. Since IT is their core competency, they don’t want to be left behind and as an end user, you gain from this competitiveness.
Suppose as a finance company you want a mobile app for your customers that allows them to quickly take shots of their documents and then automatically extract figures from the right columns to digitally create financial reports. Advanced camera technology will be needed. If your competitors don’t have access to this advanced camera technology but your consultant does, it gives you a big edge.
Information technology is a double-edged sword. It makes challenging tasks appear simpler while being very complex. You may think the project is easier to handle but once you start working on it, you find yourself on totally uncharted waters. Sometimes, by the time you realize this, it is too late.
Working with an IT consultant gives you the much-needed surety. There is a less financial risk. You are concerned with the product and not the process. There are no hidden surprises. The company can be easily verified and by the time you start working with the team, you know that it has already implemented multiple cutting-edge projects similar to what you want.
As an IT consulting company for years we have been providing enterprise level web and mobile app solutions to businesses and organizations from all over the world. Right from discovery to analysis to choosing the right technology and then creating an app or a software solution to give a big push to your business, our services will definitely give you a winning advantage. Do contact us for more details.
- What is IT consulting?
- How does an IT consultant help your business?
- They possess expertise in a particular niche
- They can identify your problems
- They helps Business be more adaptable to change
- They can help capitalize on opportunities
- They can help in setting business targets
- They can help in setting up your business
- They can help in reviving your organization
- They can help in building an effective team
- Benefits of working with an IT consultant
Dhananjay (DJ) Goel is the CTO at Alphalogic, passionate about technology, startups, game of thrones and coffee. He enjoys working on challenging problems with innovative startups.