7 things to consider when hiring an IT-consultant

“My job is to help my clients ask better questions. 
My mentor taught me, ‘Ask a better question, get a better answer.” 

– Richie Norton

A couple of days ago IDG och Computer Sweden discussed an interesting topic: The art of finding experienced and competent IT-consultants. In their analysis, it appears that more and more senior consultants choose to work either for their own company or as employees for smaller companies, before employment at the larger IT-firms. What does this mean for you who are facing the challenge of choosing the right type of IT consultant? What areas are important to consider? We have listed seven questions you should ask yourself!

Your challenge: As a buyer of IT-consultant services today, it’s a large jungle to search for IT-competences, which means that an accurate sourcing process is needed, as well as a well-developed supplier control. Which questions should I ask in order to be sure to choose the right one?

Which types of competences am I in need of?

In the analysis done by Computer Sweden, it appears that the need for competences in new areas such as cloud services and knowledge about high security and legal responsibilities connected to the cloud services, increases. Meanwhile, the need for traditional competences with a purely technical focus is decreasing. There is a significant change regarding the needs of IT consulting services, where we go from technical requirements to more analytical and strategic needs. Make sure your supplier understands your entire request. If we take a look at how our specialist consultants at Asitis are growing and gaining new competencies, the answer lies in close cooperation with our customers where we have the opportunity to penetrate their needs and that way create an exact analysis based on their business model and idea. This is also something the company Radar Ecosystem has identified as a success factor in the analysis, where only 31% of the customers find that the IT consultant suppliers understand the company’s core business and idea.

Are the suppliers size a guarantee for quality? 

As the needs are quickly changing, there is also the challenge of finding the more experienced and senior consultants. Those with more than 10-15 years’ experience within the area, reject the big IT-giants and are often found in smaller companies.  As a matter of fact, 76% of senior consultants work in small or medium-sized businesses. Besides, these smaller companies usually have flatter organizations, which give more efficient communication and makes it easier for the supplier to gain a deeper understanding of your business idea and needs.

However, the major IT consulting companies have advantages such as large resource pools with secure delivery times and security due to the fact that they have been in the market for a long time.

It-konsulter Asitis

Are you aiming for a long term relationship?

It has become more important to build a partnership between the consulting company and the customer. The partnership model is replacing the traditional customer/supplier relation, simply because of the fact that new customer needs that arise are strongly connected to the business model. Comfort is created by the fact that your consultants understand your needs, are familiar with your core business, and understand your goals and therefore, can offer the right solutions at the right time.

Are personal meetings in focus?

We all know it can be hard to build relations unless there is time for personal meetings, occasions where you ”click,” both as business people but also as humans. It is after all humans who create the requirements and receive the request. How likely is it that you understand each other if the personal meeting never takes place? By getting to know each other, you build an understanding of how the client and the supplier communicates, what needs to be improved, and what can be seen as hygiene factors. Make sure there is room for personal meetings.

 

Is there a passion for the mission?

How does the consultant communicate about previous assignments? Is there passion and interest? People who are engaged in their mission are more likely to perform a better job as they go out and beyond to find the solution. By giving the consultant freer rein and greater influence, the enthusiasm increases, and competence is built.

 

Are they available if problems arise?

How do contact areas work? Are you directed to a general channel or can you reach the right person when needed? The fact that it should be easy to reach the consultants directly to ask questions or make them solve issues is a hygiene factor at Asitis.

 

And then let’s discuss senior vs. junior…

Obviously, your supplier should offer you consultants with the right competencies. It may be a good idea to keep in mind that sometimes a senior consultant can solve the same issue as a specialized junior consultant, as the total experience and knowledge within the primary programming languages and database/data storage structure can be more important than a specific special competence. But an optimal solution is to find cooperation between both of them.

In conclusion, take a look at the suppliers’ total experience. Do they understand you and your needs and do they have the right type of competences?

Still, think it’s a jungle? Let us help you! Contact us, and we will take you to the next step.

Lotta Fred