Back in 1965, Moore’s Law estimated that computing would continue to exponentially increase in power and availability. Over 55 years later, the trend continues. How we communicate, how we share information, how we work together, and even where we work is constantly being reinvented.
It’s no wonder, then, that businesses regularly turn to information technology (IT) strategy consultants for help. This article will define and explore IT strategy outsourcing: what a consultant can do and what advantages and drawbacks there are when hiring one.
What is IT strategy
IT directly affects almost every aspect of a modern organization, including its policies, employees, and networks—not to mention the hardware and software it uses. Because of its profound influence on how a company works, businesses hire consulting firms that specialize in analyzing various technological aspects of their organization to help them develop an IT strategy.
This strategy usually consists of a plan that’s designed to best achieve the company’s goals and objectives. It involves plotting a path for future success and outlining in practical terms how they can achieve it. These steps involve strategies to improve current IT systems and processes, hardware and software recommendations, as well as best practices to utilize these IT components.
How a consultant can help
An IT strategy doesn’t just happen. Rather, it takes either a skilled consultant or team of consultants to conduct an in-depth analysis of past IT performance and how effectively systems are managed or utilized, as well as reviewing the effectiveness of software or hardware.
From there, the consultant identifies room for improvement. This may include recommendations to help companies achieve their goals, increase an IT system’s reliability or scalability, and monitor the execution of IT decisions. A consultant will provide the needed expertise to an organization looking to harness technology to achieve success.
Consultants often play a temporary role. Because acquiring and implementing new systems can be an arduous task requiring immediate expertise, it often doesn’t make sense to teach in-house employees specialized skills to deploy complex systems that will also usually require maintenance and modification over time.
Instead, savvy business owners will hire a consultant for their skills and expertise as needed. Once the requirement has been satisfied, a consultant can move on to the next company in need of their services.
How to implement consultant services
Since technology continues to create new opportunities, businesses will need to harness IT strategy consultants to help put these developments to use. That may involve using artificial intelligence (AI) that can automate a task, utilizing the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve how a system functions, or improving their IT infrastructure for greater stability or speed.
A consultant often begins with an IT strategy assessment. They can look at how your current technologies and systems are meeting goals and accomplishing the company’s mission. By analyzing IT spending levels and staffing, the consultant can understand the cost/benefit ratio of a company’s current IT environment.
From there, the consultant can review a company’s software systems. These systems include software that handle enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), or other enterprise software systems. The consultant’s expertise will help the business choose the best software products to meet their goals while still fitting their budget.
Following a consultant’s software recommendations can provide a key advantage for your business. After all, the consultant has already examined the company’s budget and the effectiveness of current systems. They know what’s working, what’s not, what needs improving, and what is attainable for that specific company.
From there, they deliver a recommendation that’s based on an intimate knowledge of the company. They’re fully aware of the huge variety of software available in the tech world. These recommendations may include emerging technologies that your company’s IT team isn't aware of.
What are the advantages and drawbacks of using an IT strategy consultant
Having an external, objective analysis can reveal strengths and weaknesses that could never be discovered by an in-house IT team. Combine this with an IT consultant’s specialized knowledge and abilities, and a business can discover key insights that will deliver enormous advantages over their competition.
A company can also enjoy cost savings from working with a consultant. System audits can reveal components that have wasted resources or performed poorly. A consultant’s role is also temporary in nature, and so they are often less expensive to hire compared to a full-time position.
Their recommendations, however, may lose traction once they leave if their advice is only partially or incorrectly applied. A client may also lack the ability to successfully execute their strategy without retaining the consultant’s ongoing help. This may lead to increased expense compared to what was initially expected before the strategy was developed.
Bringing in an IT consultant is usually cost effective
Technology is constantly changing how we work and how we do business. An IT strategy consultant can help an organization make the best use of new technology, reveal the effectiveness of current systems, and make important recommendations that provide key advantages over the competition, all while providing savings on time and resources.