Consultants are subject matter experts that businesses turn to when their projects require specialists but no one among the staff can fulfill the role. IT consultants, in particular, focus on specific fields, such as business continuity planning, cloud services, and digital transformation strategies like virtualization.
Your business may currently be using Windows 10 and is now anticipating the arrival of Windows 11. Or maybe you’ve been thinking about enhancing your company’s cybersecurity after hearing about how cyberattacks have been making life harder for Charlotte businesses and their customers alike. If you have a big IT project and are looking for an IT consultant, use our tips to hire the right one.
1. Determine skills requirements
IT progresses swiftly. Outmoded methodologies are replaced with newer ones for the sake of efficiency, effectiveness, and security. To help standardize practices, major software developers (such as Microsoft and Google) and reputable educational institutions provide certifications for practitioners.
Your IT project will likely involve one or more particular programming languages, apps, or IT practices (e.g., SEO). Thus, you’ll want to check if you need the people working on it — including your consultant — to have the necessary knowledge and skills. One of the easiest ways to screen candidates is to require certifications.
Additionally, you may be in an industry governed by specific data regulations. While most governing bodies don’t provide certifications for expertise in regulations compliance, you’ll still want to mention requiring such expertise if it’s necessary.
2. Ask about the IT consultant’s recent accomplishments
In any professional field, no one could be an expert at everything, which is why you’ll want to know if a particular IT consultant would be a good fit for your project. To do so, see if they’ve worked on projects similar to yours and if they have experience working with clients in your industry. Asking those clients about their experience with their respective consultants will help you pick the right one for your own project.
In any professional field, no one could be an expert at everything, which is why you’ll want to know if a particular IT consultant would be a good fit for your project.
3. Know how the consultant obtains results
There are multiple ways to make an omelet, and diners’ preferences will determine the technique that the chef employs. If, for example, a diner wants their omelet browned and slightly crispy on the outside, the chef will cook it American style. If another diner likes their omelet soft, runny, and not browned at all, the chef will make it à la Français.
In a similar fashion, different IT methodologies may meet the same general objective but will produce different results. For instance, you might want to increase your data processing and storage capacity. One consultant may be experienced in leveraging the cloud, while another might have more in-house infrastructure projects under his belt. Each method has its pros and cons when it comes to scalability and cybersecurity, so pick the consultant that can best achieve the results you want.
4. Have every detail laid out in your contract
A well-detailed contract will ensure that both you and your consultant will have an amicable working relationship. This document will bind both parties to stipulations regarding costs, payment schedules, scope of work or deliverables, and project deadlines.
If your company regularly hires consultants, standardizing agreements will help you manage projects because the consistency allows you to keep tabs on your consultants without having to review each contract.
Make sure to include a confidentiality clause in your contract. Your consultant has other clients besides your business — and some of them may even be your competitors. Therefore, you need the clause to keep company data and information regarding corporate strategies from falling into the wrong hands.