IT consulting is a growing marketplace, so it can be hard to sort out which providers can actually provide your business with real value, and who will give you nothing but headaches and disappointment.
Knowing which factors to consider and taking the time to compare providers will ensure you make the right choice.
In this article, we will discuss why you might consider outsourcing IT services and the top factors to consider when choosing an IT consulting provider.
IT Consulting Companies vs In-House
Before you begin comparing IT consulting firms, you must first consider whether it makes sense to hire your own in-house team instead of outsourcing the work.
An argument can be made for building instead of buying. You get to handpick your own employees, they're easy to get a hold of, dedicated to your work, and immersed in your company culture.
However, when you look at the other factors, that argument usually starts to fall apart.
Let's start with the fact that the average IT worker makes $80,000 per year. Perhaps your company can afford that. But you're not just paying a salary. There are many other costs involved in the employment process.
The reality is that the average employee will actually cost 25- 40% above their salary. This means that this employee is now costing you about $100,000 - $112,000 per year.
Where does the rest of that money go? A full-time employee comes with a number of add-on costs like:
- Sick days and vacation time
- Holiday and performance bonuses
- Computer/ software and other equipment
However, with IT consulting companies, your spending goes directly to the IT services they are providing. The overhead costs are all paid for by the IT consulting firm instead of you.
If you hire a full-time employee (or, rather, if you hire the right employee), you get access to that person's years of experience and expertise.
However, for comparable costs, an IT consulting team can give you an entire team of experts working for you and solving your problems, with the collective years of experience to draw from. This setup ensures that work is performed as efficiently as possible.
Hiring / Turnover
Another issue is that you may not be an expert on the IT services you are hiring for, so you may have no idea how to hire the best candidates. You may not have a clear idea of what skills you need, or what red flags to look for on their CV.
IT consulting companies are experts, so they know how to staff the very best, and make sure every employee has the right skills and qualifications.
But, let's say you find that great employee. That person is eventually going to leave you. The average person only stays in a job for 4.4 years these days. And in the IT sector, you would be lucky to get that long.
Good IT workers are in incredibly high demand. They constantly get "head-hunted" by other firms and will have other offers to choose from.
Assuming your IT worker gives you a proper amount of notice, you can do a proper knowledge transfer. But it will still take a few months for your replacement to get into the full swing of things.
But, if you're dealing with a sudden loss of an employee, that knowledge is simply gone, and your new hire may be playing catch up for up to a year or more.
What to Look for in an IT Consulting Company
You don't need to settle. You should be able to find a company that meets your exact needs, based on the following criteria:
It always starts here, and you can identify bad service before you're even a client.
First of all, how long did it take for them to follow up with you once you've reached out to them, or requested a quote? That could be indicative of how long you'll be waiting to hear back from them when you're a client.
Second, during that first meeting or call, what do they talk about? Do they try to stuff you into a one-size-fits-all package? Or do they talk about tailoring their service to meet your specific needs?
And finally, how specific are they when you ask questions? They may be a bit vague, in the name of protecting their "secret sauce." That's a red flag for you to find another company. Your business should be more important than their secrets.
Of course, your company is going to have a list of must-have services that your would-be provider needs to offer, and even specialize in.
IT consulting companies typically offer services like:
- Backup Management
- Disaster Recovery Planning
- Server Management
- DDoS Protection
Their website should be full of success stories, case studies, and testimonials from happy customers. And ideally, those clients should be in a similar business to yours.
If you're in the healthcare sector and they have never worked in that space before, you may want to hold out for a company that has experience with your industry.
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