IT consultants are technology professionals who help design and execute a strategy for better leveraging technology in your company. This includes using technology to streamline operations, reduce challenges and risks associated with your company’s unique IT structure, or helping to improve security and ensure compliance.
Implement the Right Software & Technology
Your IT consultant will help you select and implement the right software and technology at the right time. This includes analyzing your current business objectives and challenges, auditing legacy systems, understanding budgetary needs, and contrasting current needs with future needs for the best decision for your company.
IT consultants will also help to implement these systems and ensure your team members are comfortably trained on the new technology.
Streamline IT Infrastructure
IT consultants will also make sure that your IT infrastructure stays running smoothly to ensure technology improves your team’s productivity instead of detracting from it. This means making sure there are systems in place for updating software, solving technology challenges, training or onboarding, automating backups, etc.
Improve Business Intelligence
One reason many modern companies are hiring IT consultants is to help improve business intelligence. With the right systems and processes, businesses can organize and consolidate information more effectively to improve business intelligence and insights. This means making sure the right reports and data are ready at the right time to help inform strategic business decisions.
Oversee Security & Compliance
Many business sectors have inherent security risks or formal regulations they must abide by. However, many companies may not have internal team members who understand these risks or regulations, or how to manage them. An IT consultant takes the guesswork out of navigating these challenges and implements the necessary systems and processes to fulfill your security and compliance needs.
Network Development & Support
An IT consultant will help support and facilitate company growth by implementing, maintaining, and monitoring the business’s network servers. An IT consultant will often start by analyzing your current systems, looking for bottlenecks, observing challenges, and seeing areas for improvement. Then the consultant will design and implement a network solution that will be most successful for your company. If you already have an in-house IT team, offloading network support to an IT consultant frees time for your current staff to take care of more pressing, on-site problems while ensuring network issues are addressed in a timely manner.
Organize Backup & Data Recovery Planning
Regardless of your industry, chances are there’s a lot in your business that rides on documents, records, data, indexes, and so on. If you were to lose all of your data today, how long would it take you to get back up and running? A report by FEMA showed that 40% of businesses experiencing massive data loss never reopen, and a further 25% went out of business within 1 year. An IT consultant provides backup and disaster recovery solutions by putting safeguards and systems in place to reduce the risk of data loss and increase your ability to recover with as little downtime as possible in case of a data emergency.
What to Look for in an IT Consultant
Not all IT consultants are created equal. If your company is ready to hire an IT consultant to help design and implement better systems and technologies for your company, you’ll want to make sure the consultant will provide the greatest benefit for your company.
Look for an IT consultant with specific experience in your industry
It’s important to look for an IT consultant who not only has significant experience in information technologies, but also who has significant experience in your particular industry. This helps inform better system and software decisions based on experience, helps to predict and understand risks and challenges more thoroughly, and helps provide better, more educated responses to certain challenges or business objectives.
Look for an IT consultant experienced in business strategy.
The best IT consultants are the ones who not only understand technology but also understand how it all fits into the overall business strategy. Look for an IT consultant who has experience in business operations and organization and who has real-world application in aligning business strategy with technology.
Look for an IT consultant who is vendor agnostic
Some IT consultants receive kickbacks or commissions when they commit a client to sign up for a particular software or service. This bias makes it difficult for the company to know whether they’re getting the right choice for their company or simply helping to pad their consultant’s bonus check. Instead, intentionally look for an IT consultant who is vendor agnostic—or who has no biased ties to vendors.
Works well with your team
IT consultants do more than just choose the right technology and systems for your company; they also help to implement them. In order to help this part of your IT strategy go smoothly, the IT consultant should mesh well with your existing team. This is especially true if you have an IT team in place. Your IT consultant should be able to provide new solutions, encourage buy-in for change from your existing team, and be able to train the right people to ensure a smooth implementation.
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