IT consulting has blown up in popularity over the past decade. As the business world continues to improve its tech capabilities, companies need help making the switch. That’s why there are now more than 2.4 million IT consultants in the United States.
The question is, should you work with an IT consultant or build an IT team in-house to handle your technology needs?
Do you want to learn more about what an information technology consultant is and how they can help your business? Keep reading to learn the answers to your questions.
What Is an Information Technology Consultant?
An information technology consultant is a technology professional who is tasked to help businesses set up and manage their IT infrastructures. Many of these people don’t work for large internal IT teams. Instead, they work as individual consultants or work with larger consultant firms.
These people can replace an internal IT team by offering you insight and help setting up your company’s technology. They can create a plan for you to follow and provide ongoing support for issues and training.
On top of that, the information technology consultant tips you receive can help you make the most of your new tools and accomplish more during the day.
How Can an Information Technology Expert Help Your Business?
Now that you know what an information consultant is, you’ll need to learn more about the different ways they can help companies. Below are several things you’ll gain when working with an IT pro.
Saving time is one of the best benefits of working with an IT consultant. Your time is already limited as a business owner. You need to focus on business growth and working on the things you’re great at doing.
It’s hard to do that when you’re constantly dealing with computer issues. You won’t get enough finished during the day and potentially miss opportunities.
Working with an IT consultant can save you a lot of time. You’re allowing an IT expert to handle the hard work, which lets you focus on what you’re good at doing. This is far more effective for business growth and will still allow you to build your business’s IT infrastructure.
Time isn’t the only thing you’ll save when you work with IT pros. It costs a lot of money to hire an experienced IT professional. Technology workers know their worth, so finding someone who will work for subpar wages is hard.
You won’t have those costs when you start outsourcing IT work. You can pay your IT consultant by the hour or hire a team of IT pros on a monthly retainer. In many cases, those costs will be far less than hiring a team yourself.
On top of that, you don’t have the cost of hiring and training new employees. Your IT provider will maintain knowledge about your company and ensure everyone has the necessary expertise to meet your company’s needs.
Improve Your Security
If you don’t take action to secure your business against hackers, you’ll put your entire company at risk. It’s not easy to do this, either. Compromising a business network and exposing your sensitive data only takes one mistake.
The good news is that most IT professionals have access to security professionals. You can work with a pro from an IT consulting firm or hire a security consultant yourself. Here are a few security services you can get:
- Firewall installation
- Anti-malware support
- Account security
- Data encryption
- VPN installation
- Employee training
Your IT partner will examine your current IT infrastructure for issues and create a report. From there, you’ll get help fixing any security issues and maintaining your company’s security in the future.
Improve Your Productivity
Technology has come a long way when it comes to business productivity. Tasks that you used to handle manually can now be done with the help of software.
In many cases, software products will help you streamline tasks to make them more efficient. You can use digital tools to organize data, create quick reports, and more.
In other cases, software products can automate tasks to eliminate them correctly. That will free up a lot of time for you and your team to work on other critical tasks.
An IT consultant knows how to set all this up for you. You’ll get a partner who will learn about your business and recommend changes to help your business gain much more productivity.
Gain Specialized Knowledge
Being great at IT is more than knowing how to fix a computer. Several IT roles require deep expertise. Here are a few examples of roles you can take on in information technology:
- Reporting expert
- Database management
- Network Infrastructure
- Cloud infrastructure
- Computer troubleshooting
- Infrastructure planning
- Network cabling
You won’t find a single employee that knows all those things. Each of those roles is a separate position you would need to hire for if you wanted the job done.
You’ll get all that expertise when you work with an IT consultant. You can hire as many experts as possible if you work with individuals. If you decide to work with a consulting agency, you can work with their experts and get all the help you need from one organization.
Supplement Your Team
In some cases, you’ll still want to hire an IT team yourself. This is important for many organizations since it gives you more control. An IT consultant doesn’t work for you, so you work on their terms.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t work with IT consultants when you hire an IT team instead of hiring a consultant. There may be times when you lack expertise or don’t have the staffing to handle what you need.
It doesn’t always make sense to post a job to look for the needed role. It isn’t long-term, and you’ll waste too much time finding the perfect candidates. On top of that, you’ll have to deal with laying off your new employee once the work is complete.
You can supplement your IT team by working with a consultant. You’ll only pay for the service you need instead of going through the motions to onboard someone new to your organization.
Comply With Government Rules
You can’t do anything you want with your IT infrastructure. You may store sensitive data about your employees and customers. It’s your responsibility to safeguard that data.
With so many data breaches in the past few years, governments have gotten involved and laid out rules for businesses to follow. This is more of a big deal if you work in a more regulated industry like finance and healthcare. People can have their lives ruined if that kind of information is compromised.
Unfortunately, some of these rules aren’t easy to follow if you don’t have experience. You’ll need to work with an industry expert to ensure your company follows all the rules.
How Can You Find an Information Technology Consultant?
Now that you understand why it makes sense to hire an IT consultant, you’re probably wondering how you can find a pro who can help your company. Follow the tips below to aid your search for an information technology expert.
Identify Your Needs
The first step to finding the perfect IT consultant for your company is to define what your company needs. Some companies only need someone to help with computer issues and basic IT support. Others need larger IT infrastructure projects designed and completed.
Ensure you understand your needs before you start your search to ensure you know the type of IT pro to find. You can then give your requirements to the consultants you interview to determine if they have the skills to handle the job.
Determine Your Budget
You don’t have to have a large budget to hire an IT consultant. If all you need is help from time to time, you can work with a consultant hourly. However, you can also hire a consultant or firm on a retainer to get their help during the whole month.
Figure out how much you can afford with your IT budget and search for a consultant that can meet your needs. Of course, check the services you’ll receive to ensure you get the help you need for your business.
Look for Amazing Communication
There may be times when your computer equipment breaks and you need help immediately. You’re already dealing with enough stress, so you don’t want to stress out more because you can’t reach your IT partner.
Excellent communication is a must for any consultant. Ask what the response time is like with your support requests.
It also pays to ask how a consultant likes to talk. Some will be fine with talking on the phone on short notice, but others will want to work primarily by email and text messages. Find an IT consultant that will communicate on your terms.
Consider Vendor Choices
You have more to consider when searching for IT help if you already have an infrastructure. You’ve already selected your hardware and software vendors. Not every IT consultant will have experience with every vendor.
While an experienced professional may be able to figure things out, it pays to work with someone who already has experience. Ask your IT consultant options about their preferred vendors and if they would want you to switch vendors to account for their expertise.
Look for Industry Experience
Certain aspects of IT don’t require industry experience. Knowing how to set up network infrastructure and fix computer issues is all you need. However, not every industry is that way.
Other industries have specific requirements that you need to know to handle IT. Some of those requirements are complex, so it’s hard for someone without experience in them to learn. Make sure you see if a consultant has industry experience before you hire them.
Ask About Contractors
Sometimes a consultant will need extra help during jobs. It’s not because they can’t do it themselves. It’s because the job is complex and will take too much time to handle with one person.
Working with contractors isn’t a bad thing, but it’s something you should know about. Check to see how often a consultant outsources work and if you’ll be able to vet the people who handle the job.
Ask for References
References are a must if you want to hire a reliable consultant. It’s easy for someone to claim to be an industry expert. It’s another thing to back up your claims with positive testimonials.
Ask to see if you can get references from satisfied customers. Talk to those people to learn the pros and cons of working with a consultant. These will be things you may not usually learn by talking with an IT pro.
Start Interviewing IT Pros Today
Technology is more important than ever for running a successful business. It doesn’t only open the door for business opportunities. It also offers a way for you and your team to be more productive during the day.
However, setting up an IT infrastructure isn’t easy if you don’t have experience. Reach out to an information technology consultant to get the help you need to bring your company up to date with the latest tech tools.
Of course, you need to understand what technology is out there if you want to make the most of the latest tools. Learn more about the information technology benefits you’ll by reading more of the blog.