Information technology (IT) is an integral part of modern business. Virtually no company in any industry could hope to compete without having the advantage of the IT solutions that our modern society takes for granted.
From VoIP phone systems to inventory tracking software and basic internet setups, modern companies rely heavily on IT systems for improving business outcomes. However, not every business uses technology as effectively as they could be. Many companies lack a set strategy for ensuring maximum efficiency, stability, and compliance for their IT systems.
Often, this can be the result of a lack of dedicated IT expertise in the organization. Or, it can be a consequence of years of under-planned IT modifications, creating confusing messes of ad hoc networks and solutions that weren’t designed to work together.
In any case, technology consulting services can be helpful for improving the way that businesses acquire, manage, and use their IT resources.
What Is Technology Consulting for IT?
IT consulting, also known as IT advisory services or technology consulting, is a kind of service some technology companies—such as managed service providers (MSPs) or managed security service providers (MSSPs) offer to their customers.
Here a technology consultant can provide a variety of services to their client—usually to help the client meet some specific technology goal.
For example, a technology consulting service might help a company streamline their software licenses to reduce software costs, remove extraneous software/hardware to limit security risks (and simplify workflows), or help the company find cheaper or more effective alternatives to existing legacy IT solutions.
According to data from IBISWorld, the size of the IT consulting industry in the US market is $476.1 billion as of 2021.
Types of IT Consulting Services
Consultants in the technology industry might provide a wide variety of specific services depending on their expertise and resources. Some examples of the types of IT consulting services an MSP or MSSP might provide include:
One of the most basic (and common) IT consulting services is the provision of an IT strategy to the business.
Here, the consultant takes a look at the company’s existing IT resources, budget, and goals to create a comprehensive plan for using technology to its fullest potential. This may require the company to conduct a full IT audit so the consultant can know exactly what resources they have to work with.
In some cases, this is a one-off kind of service that helps the company quickly get to grips with what they need to do to meet their immediate goals. However, some technology consultants may translate this strategy into an ongoing service to ensure long-term success.
Almost any business can benefit from having a dedicated Chief Information Officer (CIO) on hand to manage their overall IT strategy, organize technology resources, and make course corrections when necessary.
Unfortunately, not every business can afford to hire a CIO when their base salary is, according to Payscale, an average of $166,752 per year (sans benefits). This can be an exorbitant cost for many businesses who need the money for other things.
CIO services provide an affordable alternative to recruiting and maintaining an internal C-level officer. Plus, they often provide the benefit of giving companies access to an entire team of IT talent rather than relying on the knowledge and experience of just one individual (and for a fraction of the cost of hiring a CIO internally).
Keeping IT resources in compliance with government and industry regulations can be a major challenge—especially when regulatory requirements change. IT governance services are geared towards helping organizations verify that their technology resources and processes are aligned with compliance requirements.
This can be immensely helpful for avoiding compliance violations—and the fees and damaged reputation that noncompliance with regulations can invite. By applying the experience and knowledge gained from working with numerous other companies in the same industry, MSPs and MSSPs can help businesses find key IT governance issues that may be impeding their compliance much more easily than those companies could on their own.
Are IT resources properly aligned with the company’s existing workflows and processes? Having the wrong IT assets in place can actually hurt rather than help with productivity. Process assessments take a look at existing processes to identify strengths, weaknesses, and potential opportunities.
For example, say that the accounting department is using a legacy solution to track company expenses and income, but the other departments reporting these numbers to accounting use different IT solutions to track this information. This could create a process gap that makes it easy for information to be recorded incorrectly or missed entirely.
In this instance, an IT advisory service might recommend replacing the legacy solution so information and technology can be standardized for this process across all departments—minimizing the risk of data loss or incorrect reporting.
Or, say that a specific process had an extraneous step in it that consumed extra time without providing any benefits for compliance, accuracy, or other important business goals. Analyzing the process and identifying ways to remove the extra work could improve the user experience for employees and provide a small productivity boost—and even just a minute saved can really add up over time!
IT Environment Setup
Setting up a new IT environment can be a major undertaking for a business. Whether the organization is brand-new or is conducting a complete IT refresh to bring things in line with modern technology standards, IT environment setup services can be a lifesaver.
Here, the technology consultant looks at the business’ needs and available resources to identify the best way to set up a new IT environment to support long-term success. The consultant can walk the company through which operating system (OS) and technology platforms will provide the biggest “bang” for their buck, how to set up a new IT platform, and other advice to help ensure a successful IT deployment.
Tips for Finding a Technology Consultant
So, how can you find the right technology consultant to meet your needs? After all, the technology industry is crammed full of businesses that offer consulting services—and not all of them are created equally.
Some tips for finding a reliable IT consulting firm include:
- Checking Past Clients. Has the consultant helped another company in your industry before? What did they help with? What were the results? Getting in touch with a consultant’s past clients and getting answers to these questions can be vital for separating the good from the bad.
- Checking for Specific Skills and Compliance Services. What skills does the IT consulting service have? Which compliance requirements do they advertise? When you have a specific IT goal in mind, it’s important to verify that the consultant has the right skills to meet that goal. So, checking the IT advisory service and verifying that they have the right skills can be kind of important. Here, having an MSP who is also an MSSP can be incredibly useful, as they can provide a wide variety of IT and cybersecurity advisory services under one umbrella.
- Deciding to Use Onshore or Offshore IT Resources. Some IT companies offer “offshored” IT labor and services that leverage cheaper labor from overseas locations. Others offer “onshore” labor that comes from techs who live in the same country and speaks the same language as your business. There are advantages and disadvantages to each setup, so it’s important to consider which one is the best fit for your needs.
- Verifying Who Will Be On Your Team. Who is going to be on your IT advisory team? Will your team keep the same members long-term or will they be cycled out regularly? Verifying this information ahead of time can be incredibly important for finding a good IT consulting company to work with on long-term initiatives.
Need an IT consultant to help you get the most out of your IT investments? Reach out to the Systems X team to get started!
We have years of experience in helping companies of all sizes tackle a variety of IT and cybersecurity challenges efficiently and effectively. Learn more about finding an IT consultant that's right for your business by downloading our IT checklist below.