Perhaps you constantly have an IT crisis on your hands or perhaps you have many questions and realized that you have shortcomings within your IT organization. Either way, a systematic and organized examination of your organization’s information technology systems and operations needs to be conducted to start the process. For many larger organizations, this may be attempted in-house, but a fresh perspective is extremely valuable. This is where the services of an IT consultant become very helpful.
The initial step is to arrange a meeting with an IT consultant who can help identify potential problem areas. This is most commonly called a “discovery meeting” for obvious reasons. For my clients, these meetings are informally structured so that issues and concerns will easily surface. General questions are asked, and if problems are identified, then follow-up questions become more specific and directed at relevant areas. Conducting on-site tours of the functional areas and data centers may also reveal other areas of concern. These meetings often require just a couple of hours and can yield a substantial amount of information and insight.
During constrained economic times and robust economic cycles alike, organizations often have difficulty spending time and money on IT development and maintenance. I see very few organizations that have a dedicated budget allocated to information technology itself. Instead, they throw money toward IT only when urgencies or emergencies occur. By then, the costs of fixing a problem as opposed to preventing it in the first place have escalated significantly. Choosing to assess and audit your IT department operations is without question a step in the right direction financially and strategically for the organization.
Finding a qualified IT consultant (especially one who fits well with your organization) is important and often difficult. Qualifications and certifications are far from standardized within the industry. In addition, this individual will have access to some of your organization’s most valuable information. This person should not only be someone with whom you can easily interact but also someone whom you can completely trust. There are many factors in selecting an IT consultant, but in general, word-of-mouth referrals are often the most reliable.
For more information, see my book www.ITSurvivalGuideBook.com