Information technology has firmly entered not only everyday life but also business. Analysts point out that companies that have developed business process manageability demonstrate the greatest competitiveness and resistance to market fluctuations. Specialists of IT consulting firms are called upon to improve management efficiency and point out new opportunities for enterprise development using modern IT tools. In this article, we will consider how to order IT consulting services.
Reasons to invite an IT consulting company
Information technologies are used by any more or less large company. Hired IT people specialists are usually concerned with ensuring the operation of existing equipment and maintaining current processes. Suppliers of such equipment are more concerned about sales growth than technology development. An IT consulting firm, in turn:
analyzes available resources;
assesses the state of the enterprise in the field of IT;
identifies opportunities to improve the situation;
indicates the direction of further growth.
The firm, regardless of its size, usually has a development plan for the coming years or months. This document will be incomplete and ineffective if it does not include a section on IT strategy. Specialists will indicate the specific systems that the business needs, and identify elements that cause problems and additional costs. Their responsibilities include determining the potential of IT in the enterprise and developing measures for the systematization, development, and implementation of new technologies.
What is IT strategy?
IT strategy is a document that defines how to use IT as efficiently as possible to achieve the company's strategic business goals in the planning period (from six months or a year to 3-5 years) and includes the IT mission, goals, objectives, methods and resources for development in the company of IT infrastructure, IT services, and IT projects.
As a result of developing an IT strategy, the organization will get:
practical guidance on the application of modern IT to achieve the overall goals of the organization;
increasing the efficiency of return on investment in IT;
understanding the timing for the implementation and/or development of IT projects;
The vision of IT architecture and infrastructure for the planned period;
the total budget and the cost of implementation, refinement, and training of employees.
It is important that the IT strategy takes into account and proceeds from the goals and mission of the company, and is aimed at achieving the best results in the core activities of the organization. It is necessary that the IT strategy satisfies the real IT needs of the company's employees, from ordinary people to top managers and founders of the organization.
Goals of the IT strategy
The goal of the organization's IT strategy is the optimal use of information technology to achieve the mission and goals of the enterprise.
The main objectives of the IT strategy include:
compliance of IT with the main priority directions of the organization's development and its tasks;
formation of conditions in which it is possible to use IT resources as efficiently as possible;
appropriate use of IT resources;
improvement of existing IT services;
selection and implementation of an optimal corporate information system (CIS);
integration of IT projects, products, and software used in the organization;
definition of the concept and policy of information security and implementation of information protection methods;
identification of possible risks and assessment of the consequences of using information technologies;
achieve the required level of resilience;
exclusion of additional costs for infrastructure and additional purchase of software due to the unexpected need for new functionality and integration and interaction with existing ones;
selection of tools and programs to ensure business continuity;
and rapid integration of IT services;
reducing IT costs.
How to order IT consulting services?
This section will be useful to those who have never used the services of IT consultants. Let's look at the main steps in cooperation with an IT consulting company.
Step 1. Choosing a consulting company.
Software products and specialists in their implementation are a dime a dozen. And each company specializes in one type of IT consulting. It's not bad. It is impossible to be a professional in everything. Therefore, companies hire employees of different specializations.
One way or another, the information sectors intersect, complement each other, and sometimes are interdependent. So, firstly, you need to choose the area that best suits your needs. It will weed out a good half of the companies.
Step 2. Formation of requirements and approval of the terms of reference.
So how should you choose? Start with yourself. To find out who you need, determine what you need!
Therefore, it is necessary to draw up a technical task. Point out what you need and detail your requirements. As a result, a technical task will be created.
Step 3. Controlling the analysis of the company's business processes.
Together with the auditors, you need to sort out the blockages of ongoing processes in your enterprise. Identify their relationship and influence on each other. It will be necessary to provide consultants with the opportunity of personal contact with the management staff of your enterprise.
The collected information will be analyzed and presented in the form of a report, diagram, or graph, demonstrating the dependence of the activities of the company's divisions on the information network.
As a result of the analysis, it will become clear:
structural features of the enterprise;
mutual influence of departments;
dependence of departments on the information system;
Step 4. Approval of the proposal of technical solutions to existing problems.
Infrastructure analysis is an important part of the process. Often, all the shortcomings of the system itself are attributed to technology and "buggy" programs. A competent redistribution of technology is not considered at all, or it is distributed according to the classical pyramid: the director - new, managers - worse, hard workers from managers, and the warehouse - rubbish.
This requires a dialogue between the consultant, workers, and management. We need to come to a common denominator. To what extent you are ready to equip your production, you decide. But in any case, the consultant for the implementation of the project will request the minimum necessary technical means, otherwise, he simply will not be able to do his job.
Step 5. Control of diagnostics of enterprise information systems.
First of all, problematic components and weaknesses are identified. Reserves and existing items are tracked. The existing and planned versions of the information system are compared.
Make sure that the interests of your employees and the specialists of the consulting company do not collide, but, on the contrary, coincide. Carry out a mutually beneficial policy of building a future information system. For example, a report on computer facilities may be compiled by a specialist of a consulting company together with your employee who operates them.
As a result of the analysis of the operation of the information system, the following conclusions are drawn:
about work efficiency;
on rational use of resources;
about the need for expenses;
on the compliance of the existing complex and the required components.
Step 6. Payment for the services of a consulting company.
Professionals do not waste their resources in vain, so if you are interested in a consulting company as a client, an analysis of the state of the information system will be carried out free of charge but with an eye on a future project. But most often a phased payment system is introduced, although some firms return the audit fee for the complex implementation of the project.
The use of external IT consulting specialists is justified in many cases, however, like any other tool, external consulting in the field of information technology must be used wisely, taking into account all the pros and cons. It is not necessary to order the service for the entire company. You can start with an assessment of the current project, a separate link, subdivision, etc. Intellectsoft IT consulting specialists perform an audit of the existing IT infrastructure of a company, help to form a strategy, and automate management processes. It uses such innovative technologies as IoT, blockchain, AI, cloud computing, and more.