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Smaller businesses that do not have an entire IT department may need to hire IT specialists from time-to-time. Other companies which do have IT-specific employees, on the other hand, could need to outsource an IT consulting firm for larger projects with critical deadlines.
IT consultants can be an incredible resource for you and your team, providing objective advice and needs-based recommendations. With customized strategies to help you meet specific deadlines, hiring an IT consultancy could be the way to go. But, how do you know which firm is right for you? Here are some tips to help you decide.
Can the consulting firm explain their methodology to sufficiently warrant hiring?
To attain whether the firm can meet your needs, it is crucial that they are able to clarify, in simple terms, what they will execute and how they’ll help you reach your goals. From the assessment phase to risk-analysis and planning, to the infrastructure deployment, and post-project support phase – understand intimately the project’s structure and firm’s process.
To justify the substantial costs of having IT professionals consult with your team, you will need to provide support to your financial management on why the consultants are necessary and how their funding will be spent.
The cost of consultants will depend on many factors, including where your company is based. But luckily, with some of the biggest consulting firms based in the U.K., finding a reputable IT consultancy in London has never been easier. Importantly, your financing department should also understand that hiring consultants is much more affordable than permanent IT staff, so this could be used to motivate engaging IT experts.
Check carefully for transparency or implications of hidden costs
It is worthwhile, ahead of time, to clarify with the IT firm what their costs will be. Of course, consultants are not always able to assure you with an accurate figure, but there should be a ballpark figure that your financial team can work with. It may be important, too, to check with the consulting team whether there are likely to be ‘future costs’ that you should be prepared for. Being on the same page is essential with outsourced members, and they should know that you will not be played the fool with excessive hidden costs down the line.
Are they prepared to sign a contract or agreement?
To give you peace of mind and to ensure transparency and trust in the new working relationship, the consultancy should feel comfortable signing project contracts. For bigger jobs, it is vital that all team members are well comprehended, especially with regards to the scope of the project and the understanding of each party’s responsibilities through the project timeline.
There are various types of contracts that can be drawn, but oftentimes it can be as simple as a confidentiality agreement. Having all relevant parties sign a non-disclosure agreement is an easy way to feel more comfortable sharing information and private data with an external company, some of whose other clients may be direct competitors.
Be prepared that the outsourcing of professionals is dealt with – legally and financially – in a different manner to internal employees. And knowing the constraints and regulations around outsourcing, as well as remaining committed to lawful business practice, is critical for your company.
Does the firm have a reliable track record?
When hiring consultants for the first time, you may ask the IT consultancy to provide a history of some of their previous clients. This will give you a much better idea of the industries with which they have worked prior, as well as which environments they are comfortable working in.
If it is appropriate, you could also ask for a reference client to contact which you could query the firm’s standard of work or work ethic. If this is inappropriate, unsuitable, you can simply request some previous client feedback or scope their reviews and connections on LinkedIn.
How will the firm support your team during the deployment process?
Having a full understanding of how the consultancy completes its deployment process is crucial. You would be looking for professionals that bring about as little disruption as possible, that can train your staff in advance, and will switchover at a pre-planned date.
You may also want to know beforehand how the consultancy can support your staff after the deployment and switchover are complete. Find out if the firm offers post-project training for staff, and whether there is an appreciation for the continued relationship after overhauling your technology infrastructure. Maintaining a relationship is crucial, as the consultancy will be familiar with your structure and processes, and can assist your team more effortlessly in the future.
How is the consultancy prepared for cybersecurity risks?
With cybersecurity and data privacy an enormous concern for companies the globe over, it’s critical that the consulting firm is aware of your cybersecurity risks and has strict software and programming that can alleviate some of these risks.
It is always a risk to hire a consulting firm to address internal needs, but being more cost-effective than permanent IT staff and having expertise in different specialized areas, finding the right IT consults will transform your project delivery and your technology infrastructure!