Having an IT specialist can add power to your business, but being familiar with your industry is what multiplies that power. A business IT consultant brings that knowledge and expertise you won’t usually find in an IT service provider, making them helpful in more ways than one.
What are the differences between an IT specialist and a business IT consultant?
Technically, business IT consultants are also specialists. They just happen to specialize in both business and IT, rather than only focusing on one or the other. The purpose of a business IT consultant (or a business IT specialist) is to work both of these facets together for the overall success of your company.
This usually means they have some industry-specific wisdom or experience to offer, a familiarity with your goals as well as the problems you’ll encounter day-to-day. An IT specialist might set up a software for you and walk away, whereas an IT consultant can actually take a look at your business as a whole, diagnose what it needs, and recommend a solution—and then work with you to implement that fix.
Put simply, an IT specialist works for you, but an IT consultant will work with you. The ideal IT consultant is someone committed to the long-term success of your company, so their objective is to use technology in a way that’s relevant to your business.
What exactly does a business IT consultant do?
A business IT consultant’s daily work focuses around the regular processes that sustain your business. Pretty simple, right? But it can get fairly complex from the consultant’s side, since they’re on board for everything from projects and training to researching, designing/developing and implementing new solutions for the client (that’s you).
For example, let’s say you were an automechanic seeking a new system to implement that can improve your diagnostics of cars. In this case, a business IT consultant might conduct some independent research into what types of systems you can utilize, which can be pretty extensive if you’re working with cutting-edge tech like that of the Tesla.
Here’s where it gets interesting (and you can extrapolate this to any industry or business)—with new technology also comes training. For any proposed solution, your IT consultant should take it upon themselves to make sure anyone using it has a thorough understanding of it. Additionally, the consultant is also responsible for identifying what hardware will be necessary to make use of that solution. Furthermore, it’s imperative that they work with managers and employees alike in order to make sure that things are running smoothly for all involved. If things aren’t running smoothly, they should be there to help you change course and find a more practical solution, whereas your regular IT service provider might just install what they think is the best solution and then walk away.
What are the benefits of business IT consultancy?
Frankly, having a consultant flat-out reduces your risk of project failure. If you have consultancy by your side working through a project with you, there are simply fewer chances to mess up and implement something that fails usability. Remember, even if a solution is excellent in theory, an extra pair of expert eyes can catch you before you make the mistake of jumping the gun on something too different from what your end users are accustomed to. Conversely, they’ll be keen to determine when a new solution is, in fact, worth training for.
At the end of the day, there’s only so much productivity benefit you can get out of a faster computer. Yes, you want someone who can replace failing hardware or even introduce better software from time to time. That gives you a good base level of stability on the IT side of your business, and it’s why IT specialists are important. But the biggest difference will be found when engaging with someone who also specializes in your field of business. They can continually evaluate your technology and ask strategic questions, like:
- Can this solution make the business stronger?
- If so, what will it take to implement?
- Based on the way things are going, is it worth making such a significant change at this stage?
How do I choose a business IT specialist?
There are questions you should ask any prospective specialist to narrow down your options. Have they worked in your industry before? Do they have any other clients in the same industry? The more times the answer is yes, the better. It means they know the roles, the terminology, and the daily obstacles you’ll be facing (and they’ll be prepared to face them with you). All of those things are totally different from business to business.
However, it’s also important you find a specialist who cares enough to ask you questions. An IT consultant who wants to work alongside you should show some interest in how you run your business and be properly concerned about its goals. Some consultants may be more interested in selling you their services than in actually serving you. Others may have a very particular way of dealing with things—a template or a system that they sell you and then move on to the next client. Particularly at the enterprise level, you might get a consultant who has loyalties to or contracts with specific brands or companies. This means that, although they’re probably very knowledgeable, they’ll be obligated to recommend only a narrow, promotional range of products/solutions to you.
Of course, a business IT consultant should be able to teach you new things, but ideally they’ll also be open to learning with you. From experience, Club IT can walk in the door, observe your business on a regular day, and immediately start to pick up on things that could be optimized—whether you’re running a hospital or a casino or even an auto shop. Together, we we might discover a solution that neither of us have used before. If it seems like the perfect fit for your business, we’ll learn it together. On the other hand, you might really like a product you already have, but not be using it to its fullest extent. If that’s something we notice, we can work to integrate your tech better into your existing process instead of prescribing some expensive new software solution.
Where should I go for business IT consultancy?
Business IT consultancy is all about strategy. Some consultants, like Club IT, take a hands-on approach in working out that strategy with you. Others will approach you with a cookie cutter, even though every business is unique—which means some corners are bound to get cut throughout the process. If you’re dealing with a consultant who insists on fitting square-shaped problems into round holes, or if you’re just looking to get a quote and ask questions, drop us a line! It’s easy to get in touch, since we’re always here to help.