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How To Pick An IT Consultant

How To Pick An IT ... some point, most ... are going to need to have somehelp from an IT ... Maybe your business is ... many IT ... Maybe your company is large

How To Pick An IT Consultant

At some point, most businesses are going to need to have some
help from an IT consultant. Maybe your business is small,
without many IT resources. Maybe your company is larger,
with significant resources in IT already, and just needs a
healthy dose of outside perspective. Whatever the reason, it
can be difficult to choose an IT consultant, especially if
you aren't a technical person.

I've heard stories about selecting consultants from all
sorts of people. Quite a few have told me heard horror
stories about how they wound up with large bills and little
or nothing to show for it. Fortunately, it doesn't have to
be hard to choose an IT consultant, because I've used the
knowledge I've accrued to create some guidelines you can use
in choosing your IT consultant.

A Contract Programmer or an IT Consultant?

There are quite a few contract programmers out there
masquerading as IT consultants. A real IT consultant isn't
in the business of writing code; rather, he's in the
business of solving problems, and code just happens to be
one of the way that he (or she) does it. Conversely, a
contract programmer will want you to spell out exactly what
kind of program you want him to write. He doesn't solve
problems; he just writes code the way he's told, and hopes
it will fix the problem at hand. With a real IT consultant,
you wind up with a solution that leaves everyone happy.

Focus on benefits, not technology.

Some IT consultants can get wrapped up in their technology;
it's not uncommon to see consultants who specializes in
"AS/400 mainframes" or "embedded systems", for example. A
real IT consultant, though, focuses on benefiting his
client, using whatever technology is necessary, rather than
on what technology he's familar with. You want to hire
someone that's skilled at solving problems, and that will
use the technology that's best suited to your business,
whatever it may be. You shouldn't have to pick a consultant
based on what technology he's familar with; he should be
able to take care of almost any technological problem,
either by doing the work himself or outsourcing to someone
in his network of contacts.

Pay only for value.

Amateur IT consultants tend to charge for their time, not by
the value of the work they perform; so do contract
programmers. Real IT consultants, though, charge based on
value provided to you, NOT based on time. This is because
amateurs are afraid that they won't be able to complete the
project in a reasonable amount of time, so they want
reassurance that they'll be paid for their time in any
situation. Experienced IT consultants, though, are confident
in their ability to deliver code under their estimate, they
are confident in their ability to provide value, and they
that they can provide value that's worth MORE than their
time is. You shouldn't be making an investment decision
every time you consider calling your IT consultant.

It always takes time.

Some consultants will offer to send you a proposal after a
ten or twenty minute phone conversation. It is impossible to
accurately assess your situation that quickly; they are
trying to provide you with a 'one-size-fits-all' package.
Real IT consultants will not provide you with answers,
proposals, or fees until they know enough about your
business to have an informed opinion. Unless your consultant
is willing to spend enough time to really know what your
problem is, you won't end up with the solution that you
really needBusiness Management Articles, because your consultant is making random shots
in the dark.

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David Berube is a former child prodigy; he started his college education while just twelve years old. Now, he's a consultant solving business problems. He's also a prolific writer and speaker; you can see more of his
works at his website, . He'd
love to answer your questions via email; just contact
d_berube@berubeconsulting and he'll get right back to you.

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