A guide to choosing a data center for your business

Data is the most valuable commodity. Typically, businesses small and large house their data in an off-site data center. But, when the stakes are this high, how can you decide which is best for you? That’s where our comprehensive guide to choosing the right data center comes in.

5 Qualities That Make a Good IT Consultant

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.

4. Trustworthiness

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.

5. Flexibility

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.

What Does An IT Consultant Actually Do?

You’ve probably heard the term IT consultant before. And you may have many ideas as to what they can actually do and what services and value they provide to organizations. The growth of IT consulting has been prominent over the last few years and is expected to hit $53 billion by 2020. But how will they help shape your company?

IT consultants often have specialized skills

IT consultants may have specialized skills relating to a variety of IT topics from cybersecurity to cloud services. They may be engaged to help companies with a specific project or to guide them in developing a comprehensive IT strategy. 

Launching new technology

Not only can IT consultants provide assistance in launching new technology within your business, but they can consult with you to help you select the best technology for your needs. After deciding on a particular platform, the IT consultant would then provide you with the installation of the products, ensuring that the technology works harmoniously with other systems and training employees on how to use it.

By utilizing the expertise of an IT consultant, you’ll likely save time and money. If you want to launch new technology quickly and seamlessly, hiring an IT consultant is a great approach to take.

IT consultants can be a liaison

If your staff has difficulty communicating their IT problems and needs to your technical support team, IT consultants can be the necessary liaison between the two groups. They can listen to employees who actually use technology to do their jobs and determine their biggest pain points and challenges, and present their findings to your technical support team.

Additionally, if you have challenges contacting and communicating with your IT vendors, like your phone or printer providers, an IT consultant can act as your one-stop-shop, managing the communication between you and your vendors. 

Risk assessments

An IT consultant can also conduct risk assessments. Every organization is vulnerable to the threat of a cyber attack. You have valuable data that someone else might want. Currently, a data breach could cost a company up to $6.9 million. That’s a hit most SMBs could not stand, so it’s important to understand the threats your business faces and devise ways to prevent them.

IT consultants can be experts in Cybersecurity and can offer you key advice on what protocols you need to put in place to ensure you aren’t the victim of a cyber attack.

Developing an IT strategy

Does your company have an IT strategy? If not, an IT consultant can help. To ensure your business’s future looks bright, you are going to need a plan on how your technology can scale as you grow and offer new products or services.

Technology is often the lifeblood of any organization. This could include moving to the Cloud so you have more flexibility and storage, or developing a scalability plan to ensure your infrastructure is agile. Investing in an IT strategy is a smart move that can save you money in the long run because you’ll have a plan in place to continue to strengthen your IT resources.

An IT consultant can play many roles in your business. It all depends on your focus and needs. They bring with them years of experience working with companies to ensure they can continue to operate efficiently and expand sustainably. 

If you have questions about IT consulting, feel free to contact us to learn more.