If you need to hire an information technology consultant, it can be costly in time and money, if you choose the wrong person. Use due diligence. Sophisticated tech vendors and consultants of all sizes have been known for cost over-runs.
Again, certain precautions are needed. Your technology dilemmas can worsen with the wrong choice – whether the person isn’t up-to-speed or simply isn’t the right fit for your organization. Either can cost you time and money unnecessarily.
In hiring a tech consultant look for five values: Efficiency, information, innovation, objectivity, and productivity.
To help you make the right decision, here’s a checklist:
1. Make certain the person is competent in security issues.
Cybercrime is here to stay. You need to protect your business in two ways: 1. Keep your customers’ records safe. 2. Protect your business by making preparations with precautions and response philosophy.
2. See to it that the person understands your company requirements.
Ask the person the right questions about understanding your industry and your specific project needs. A Web site developer is not an expert in accounting systems. Check references.
3. Don’t pinch pennies to your detriment.
It’s important to hire a pro. In that way, you’ll get an agreement in writing about the services you’ll receive. Make sure your employees will understand how to operate your new technology before the job is done.
4. On the other hand, be as economical as possible.
Discuss the budget and the proposed plan for new technology. If you have to take baby steps and make additions when you can afford them, make certain the old technology isn’t adversely affected.
5. Insure that communication is adequate.
You need a person who can provide a written action plan, and can fully explain the necessity of any recommendations. Don’t allow mission creep and monitor the situation on a regular basis. Some vendors want to own the intellectual property rights for custom work – don’t allow it – and see to it that it’s part of your contractual agreement.
6. Make sure you’re getting objectivity – not a biased sales rep.
Clarify to the consultant you’re not hiring a biased vendor.
From the Coach’s Corner, here are a few tech resources:
4 Recommendations to Avoid Spending Too Much on IT — To take advantage of big cost savings in information technology, a study says businesses need to change their buying habits. Here’s how. Despite an unprecedented trend to control information-technology costs, the majority of companies fail to achieve maximum savings, according to a multi-nation Forrester Consulting study.
Risk Management – Picking the Best Cloud Storage Provider — There’s been quite a buzz about using the cloud. Personally, I’m still not sold on using cloud services for many businesses. There have been too many problems, and I prefer to maintain controls to alleviate uncertainty in business. Not to mention one of the lessons I learned very early — when there’s a lot of hype — go slow with due diligence. Frankly, I’m not alone. But here are tips in case you want to retain a cloud storage provider.
How Small Businesses Can Capitalize on Cyber Strategies for Profit — Yes, it’s become important for small businesses to capitalize on cyber strategies for profit. Small and even regional retailers should be cognizant of three realities: Potential customers probably think that national chains have easier-to-shop Web sites. Big retailers have lower prices.
Some consultants are like the bottom half of a double boiler: They get all heated up but don’t know what’s cooking.