Software development is a fast-paced, ever-changing industry that tends to have the best outcomes when approached strategically. Looking back to 1965, when Moore’s Law famously predicted the future power and availability of computing, it should come as no surprise that the trend continues today. How we communicate, how we share information, how we work together, and even where we work has been transformed beyond recognition. To ensure their development initiatives are running at maximum capacity, 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 (information technology) strategy refers to an overall plan, consisting of objectives, principles, and tactics, that outline how technology is to be used to meet the objectives of an organization.
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.
Due to its profound influence on business, consulting firms that specialize in analyzing various technical aspects of their organization are being hired to help develop IT strategies.
These strategies usually consist 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.
What is IT strategy consulting?
An IT strategy doesn’t just happen. The strategy comes from:
- either a skilled consultant or team of consultants.
- in-depth analysis of past IT performance.
- analysis of past use.
- review of 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. It is through these recommendations that a consultant provides the often much needed expertise to organizations looking to harness technology to achieve success.
Is an IT consultant a permanent role?
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.
What does a strategy consultant do?
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 handles 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 pros and cons 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. If you're thinking about an IT consultant, you may also benefit from contracting managed IT solutions. You can learn more about managed IT solutions her here.
Using software to supplement your IT strategy
Software development analysis tools like that offered by Foreworth can be a huge asset when developing your IT strategy. Foreworth analyzes source code, offering comprehensive code quality and team productivity metrics that can help shape your strategy and positively influence your software development ROI. You can use Foreworth in tandem with your consultants or at times when you prefer to carry out your development operations alone. For more information on the Foreworth platform and how it can be used to maximize the impact of your software development operations, book a free demo today.