What is IT consulting and when do you need it?

Advices Must Know

When launching a technology startup, or changing your technology company’s strategy, or preparing for expansion, choosing and planning the use of technologies that will aid you is crucial. IT consulting is the outsourcing solution you need if you lack the expertise to navigate this path on your own.

Typically, technology consultations are provided by companies specializing in technology and staffed with engineers with diverse experience that encompasses not only technology knowledge but also an understanding of business, its tasks, and functions. To gain enough experience and become a technology consultant, an engineer usually works in the industry for 10 years or more.

The company offering IT consulting should have a long history of working with technologies and proven examples of their advice making a real difference.

At JetSoftPro, we have been providing IT consulting to our clients as part of our project work or as a standalone service since 2003. In this post, we have compiled tips to help you get the most out of IT consulting.

How to know if you need IT consulting

Not all doubts require bringing in external professionals, but here are typical situations when it’s better to use a consultant’s services.

You are launching a technology startup

If you are planning to create a technology business and do not have experience with similar products or solutions, or if such solutions do not yet exist on the market, you should hire a technology consultant.

You are planning to update your technology product

If your product is 5 years old or older and you need to update it because it no longer meets its objectives, you should hire a consultant. Even if you have experience with the product, the internal team often suffers from the “familiarity effect”. Getting used to perceiving your product in one familiar way, so you are unable to see new opportunities.

You are planning to expand your product’s functionality or make changes to IT infrastructure

As in the previous point, it is worth inviting a technology consultant to get an external perspective on the problem.

You are preparing for a sale, IPO, or merger/acquisition

If you need to quickly maximize the technological value of your product, a technology consultant will help properly plan the necessary and minimally sufficient changes.

Your product has suffered due to a competitor entering the market

If you face intense competition and need to regain market positions, it makes sense to hire a technology consultant. They will help plan changes that will benefit the business rather than harm it.

Your product is not working as it should

If something is wrong and you have no clear explanation, it makes sense to hire a technology consultant. Let them conduct a comprehensive audit of the organization, from processes to the code of your software.

You are planning data migration

If you need to migrate data from one system to another, an IT consultant can help plan and carry out this process and minimize the risks of data loss and downtime.

You have fallen victim to a cyberattack, or regulatory requirements have changed

If you have data security issues or need to comply with new regulatory requirements, an IT consultant can conduct a security audit and suggest measures to eliminate vulnerabilities.

How to set a task for IT consulting

The effectiveness of IT consulting heavily depends on correctly setting the task. Here are examples of tasks that are typically addressed with the help of IT consulting.

  • Conduct a thorough market analysis and identify which other products help solve the problem your business aims to address.
  • Determine the marketing potential of the product.
  • Identify the technology stack you can work with to ensure future scalability and market entry for the project.
  • Find weaknesses in the system or product and plan their improvement in a way that benefits the business.
  • Align the company’s technical and financial strategy.
  • Select a list of technologies and choose those that will solve your problem.
  • Assess the level of technical expertise of your employees and plan improvements.
  • Break down a large development plan into business-beneficial iterations.
  • Determine which additional functionality needs to be developed and brought to market first to address the business’s financial objectives.
  • Find a way to close the project profitably or minimize losses.

When setting a task for a consultant, you should follow the rule:

A task for IT consulting has two sides: technology and money.

Each task should combine the technological outcome you want to achieve and the result needed for your business.

Example of a good IT consulting task:

You need to choose technologies for developing a new mobile application to stay within your budget for writing the MVP.

How to understand that an IT consulting specialist is bad

Here is a list of 7 red flags that may indicate that the IT consultant will not deliver good results. These points are often visible during the negotiation stage, so pay close attention to your potential consultant.

  1. The consultant lacks experience in your specific industry or with similar products and solutions.
  2. There is no clear work plan, project stages, and expected outcomes.
  3. The consultant is slow to respond to inquiries, avoids questions, or cannot clearly explain their proposals and solutions.
  4. The specialist cannot provide specific examples of successful projects that demonstrate their experience and competence.
  5. You are assigned new consultants during the negotiation stage, and the one who initially communicated with you disappears.
  6. The consultant does not establish clear deliverables and metrics for evaluating the project’s success.
  7. The consultant has negative reviews and a poor reputation in the industry or among previous clients. You should conduct a mini-research on this aspect yourself. Additionally, check whether your potential consultant is an agent of competitors who want to learn more about your business.

How to save on IT consulting without harming your business

As we mentioned earlier, becoming a consultant requires a long journey and acquiring genuinely valuable knowledge that can literally save your business. This leads to the logical conclusion that consulting services can be expensive. However, here are some creative ways to save on this expense:

  1. Order IT consulting as part of a service packageSome technology companies, including JetSoftPro, offer consulting as part of their services, such as consulting and software development. In such cases, the consulting fee is typically lower. If you plan not only consulting but also subsequent actions, it makes sense to consider the services of such a company.
  2. Consider multiple IT consulting offers and mention this in negotiationsSometimes mentioning a competitor’s name works like magic on consulting companies, and they are willing to lower their price, knowing that you might go to a competitor.
  3. Conduct internal analysis first, then bring in an external specialistIf you need an audit, it makes sense to conduct it internally first and then ask a technical consultant to verify it rather than doing everything from scratch. This can be faster and, therefore, cheaper. Provide your technical consultant with maximum information and data, help them understand the system, and the work will take less time.

We hope these tips will help strengthen your business position. JetSoftPro is also happy to consult you on technology issues.

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