An external IT consultant is too expensive.
I’ve already got an IT team.
I don’t have time for that.
I’m not sure what I want.
It can’t be that complicated.
Stephen Diamond, Vice-President, Engineering at Logient, often hears this type of thing, but the fact is, using an IT consulting service is one of the smartest decisions you can make when embarking on a new project. In this article, Stephen presents multiple ways that an external IT team can make your next technological transformation a success.
They help you build a strong foundation
Some of our clients are planning to update legacy technologies. Others need to improve the software solutions at a company they’ve just acquired or launch a brand-new IT initiative. But no matter what your goals are, it’s essential to know know what you’re already working with.
That’s what an IT architecture expert does. By performing an in-depth benchmarking analysis of your tech needs, a consultant can:
- Help you create an IT architecture solution that fits your business’s needs and realities
- Evaluate the quality and security of your current solutions
- Propose ways to improve existing systems
- Identify when a complete overhaul is necessary
- Help develop and launch a new system
A solution architect also identifies your technologies’ potential weaknesses and scalability.
Say, for instance, there’s only one supplier in the world managing the applications your business uses. What happens if they go bankrupt? Or decide to stop supporting that software?
They pinpoint your real technological needs
Are you confusing your current solutions with what your business really needs?
Take Excel. If you use Excel every day, you probably think you need a system that converts data into spreadsheets. After all, you need those spreadsheets to create invoices and export them to various other applications.
But do you really need Excel?
Not at all! You need an invoicing system that automates data entry and sends those documents where they need to go. Now that you’ve identified your actual business need, Excel no longer looks so essential.
An IT architecture expert identifies the real needs behind your requests, finds the best solution on the market, and directs you to the right specialists. Sure, you can get a lot done on your own. But with a whole team behind you, you’ll find better solutions faster.
They help you make the best possible decisions
Before writing a single line of code, an IT architecture expert provides you with an architectural analysis. During this first step, they:
- Learn your business realities (vision, business model, work processes)
- Carry out a feasibility study
- Evaluate your existing platforms
- Propose new architecture, technologies, processes and information systems
- Offer solutions for security and performance
This analysis helps establish a game plan and a list of deliverables for your project. Which areas need the most change? What budget should be allocated? Which business needs do the new solutions meet?
Further, an analysis performed by an IT architecture expert can shed light on aspects of the project you might not have otherwise thought of. For example, can software already on the market adequately meet your needs? Or are your business processes so unique and complex that you’re better off with a custom-built solution?
After all, sometimes it’s easier to buy a brand-new house than renovate an older one. An IT expert shows you all the possible options so you can make the right decision.
They demystify what you’re investing in
Let’s be clear—you don’t have to be an expert in your company’s tech solutions. You’ve got a business to run! But with that said, understanding what you’re signing up for, knowing which decision factors matter most, and having a solid sense of your priorities is always a good thing.
An IT architecture expert takes the time to explain what you’re getting in a new solution and shows you what aspects to pay most attention to.
Without a good understanding of your IT needs, you might waste time asking the wrong questions or miss out on something that could transform the way you do business.
They keep your budget on track
Have you assessed the feasibility of your budget with an IT architecture expert? If the answer is no, here are some problems you might run into:
- You might not have factored in the costs of ownership, including hosting, licenses, and maintenance
- What you want might require a custom solution…and cost twice what you expected
- The technology might need frequent updates to keep in sync with your evolving processes, incurring additional costs
- A simpler, more affordable off-the-shelf solution might already exist
An IT architecture expert can provide a more realistic idea of how much you need to spend, potentially saving you thousands of dollars—or giving you the heads-up that you need to find a bigger budget.
Regardless of your situation, it’s better to have your facts straight and prevent any unpleasant surprises. Spending a few thousand to avoid financial pitfalls is worth it when you’re working on a $250,000 project.
They know the market
You know you need a new solution. How are you going to find it?
Your IT team is focused on your day-to-day operations, so they don’t always have the time to stay abreast of new market innovations. Therefore, they’re not necessarily who you want to turn to when planning to adopt new technologies.
Planning on doing the research yourself? Here’s something to keep in mind. When we discover an exciting, brand-new technology, we’re inclined to adopt it without taking the time to think about its impact and viability.
But once you’ve switched over to a new way of doing things, chances are, you’ll want to stick with it for a long time. Don’t make the costly mistake of adopting the wrong solution!
An external IT expert helps you identify the best the market has to offer. As part of their services, an IT consulting firm:
- Keeps constant tabs on new technology solutions
- Works agnostically with any system
- Stays informed about the latest developments
- Offers unbiased opinions
No one is better suited to identify the emerging technologies that will help your business succeed. An external expert will adapt to your IT culture, work with your teams, and show you the best possible options.
Your IT teams are there to run your business. Your IT architecture expert is there to develop it.
They plan for growth
Do you know what kind of technological solutions you’ll need one year from now? Three years? Five years? Do all your departments know about this plan? Is your IT team on the same page as you?
An IT expert does more than consult on a single project. They can advise you on an ongoing basis and help you:
- Establish your business’s technological context
- Plan for future technological growth
- Share these plans with your teams
By determining these technological foundations and planning their future development now, you won’t waste time and money on unforeseen surprises.
You also lower the risk of finding hidden data too late, creating security issues, or running into objections due to lack of communication.
An IT architecture expert builds a plan with your team, sets it in motion, and supports you throughout its progress.
Choose an IT expert to see your project through
Even if you think you have a feasible budget.
Even if you’re in a rush to get started.
Even if you have a great IT team.
If you’re planning on updating or transforming your technology solutions, consult an external IT expert. They’re there before, during and after your project’s launch to ensure your technologies keep pace with your business growth. Your success depends on it!