Are you considering hiring an IT consultant for your business? You’re in the right place.
As IT consultants ourselves, this is something we know a lot about. And, in today’s blog, we’re going to be talking about the five key qualities that make a good IT consultant — and why they matter.
Here they are:
1. The ability to ask the right questions — and then listen to the answers
When an IT consultant begins a new project, they need to figure out several things before they can get started.
Each business is unique. Each has different needs and priorities. What matters to one business might not matter to the next.
It’s important for an IT consultant to avoid making any assumptions. This can affect the success of a project before it’s even begun.
Instead, the consultant needs to know the right questions to ask. They need to be able to extract just the right amount of information from project stakeholders.
But there’s something else too: A good IT consultant will listen to the answers.
An article in the Harvard Business Review highlighted this recently, claiming an inability to focus on the client’s needs is one of the biggest reasons consultants fail:
“It’s the most basic principle of entrepreneurship: you can only successfully sell what your client wants to buy.”
2. Excellent communication skills
Following on from the above, IT consultants need to be skilled communicators. This includes figuring out how much technical information the stakeholders can understand. They need to be able to deliver the right amount of technicality to each stakeholder.
This isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
The consultant must simplify information to the appropriate level. If they deliver technical information to non-technical stakeholders, it’s likely important things will be lost in translation.
Similarly, delivering simple information to technical stakeholders can result in frustration and a lack of confidence.
3. Expertise and experience
This should go without saying, but with the rise of “IT gurus” online, it’s easy for people with little experience to market themselves as experts.
If you’re considering hiring a consultant for your business, it’s important you to verify their expertise and experience before you commit.
How long have they been working as a consultant? What was their experience before that? Where have they studied? How do they keep up to date with current trends?
These are all questions you should be asking before you engage with an IT consultant.
A good IT consultant is trustworthy. Not only that, but they should be able to demonstrate their trustworthiness with past results and testimonials from happy clients.
When this information is lacking, it should act like a big, red flag that the IT consultants don’t have the skills and expertise you’re looking for.
Finally, a good IT consultant is flexible. They are able to adapt to any business, quickly picking up on the unique aspects and nuances that make the organization different from the rest.
As Jon Younger said in a recent Forbes article: “Naturally, over time skill requirements for independent consultants change as project themes change.”
Good IT consultants keep learning. They adapt as the industry changes and learn new skills as they’re required.
They’re not rigid in their approach. They start by learning more about how your business works. And then they tailor their tried and tested approach to work for your organization.
They prioritize connection — ensuring your needs come above all else.
If you’re looking for an IT consultant that can help you scale your business, these qualities are essential.
They will ensure the consultant forms a solid understanding — starting from where you are now and taking you to where you need to be (and beyond).
Do you need to know more about this? Get in touch using our contact page — we’d love to hear your thoughts.