Running a small business can be time-consuming and costly, particularly when you’re dealing with older technology or systems that simply don’t work together. Companies tend to grow their tech organically over time, which can create a hodgepodge of interconnectivity that is confusing to manage and impossible to upgrade.
When you get to this point in your company’s evolution, it might be time to work with an Denver IT consulting firm to consolidate your systems and form a cohesive strategy for the future. This holistic view of your company’s tech offers a sound base for your operations and helps you stay competitive in a fast-moving marketplace.
Here are a few tips that will help you start — and maintain — a successful relationship with an IT consulting firm.
Top Tips for Working With IT Consulting Firms
1. Start With Business Strategy and Requirements
It can be compelling to hear about a new type of tech and immediately want to jump into whether it will work for your business. However, it’s best to take a step back from your everyday operations and think strategically about what you want and need to accomplish from a business perspective. Technology should be solving business needs as opposed to simply fitting in a missing slot in your technical stack.
2. Research Competitors and Their Technology Stack
You might be surprised to learn that many companies are willing to share what works. Creating this type of mutually beneficial relationship with your competitors can allow you both to avoid the many pitfalls that can be involved in upgrading your tech stack. Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations for IT services companies, the software that’s being used and to see the mix of internal and external resources that others in your industry are using. While you may not want to create an exact duplicate of another company’s strategy (and they will almost certainly hold back some knowledge!), there are always nuggets of wisdom that you can share.
3. Create a Comprehensive List of Current Tech
What are you already using, and when do your licenses expire? Software licenses are notoriously hard to manage, particularly as your organization grows and evolves. One of the best things an IT consultant can bring to your business is a knowledge of structure and how to maintain it across your current and future technology.
4. Be Clear About Your Budget
IT consulting contracts and your work with any IT service provider can take a variety of forms. Some technical consultants are more comfortable working on an hourly basis, often with a set number of hours that are allocated to your business each month. Other individuals and companies require contracts that are based on accurately scoping your project or even a percentage of the costs of any software that you’re licensing from the company. Having a firm understanding of your budget and what your company can — and should — afford for a tech stack is a vital component of your success. Be as straightforward with your IT consultant as possible. If your budget feels a bit on the low side, they’ll tell you honestly that they may not be able to meet your business needs with the funds you have set aside for the project. This open communication is incredibly valuable throughout the life of your relationship with your technical consultants.
5. Be Clear About Your Timelines
There is a key rule that technical professionals share with clients: you can do things good, fast or cheap — but not all three. If you have a shorter timeline that is a requirement for your business, expect to pay more for the service or you risk having a substandard implementation of your tech tool of choice. Having a longer timeline doesn’t mean that you should be lax on pushing your IT consulting team to move forward, however. It simply means that you may be able to relax your budget concerns a bit if you can let timelines slide just a bit. Think of it as a pendulum; as the timeline shortens, prices will increase — or quality will decrease.
6. Understand What Success Looks Like
Your leadership should have clearly defined business goals and objectives tied to specific success metrics for any type of technology upgrade. Having this information upfront and taking the time to think through your longer-term business strategies offers your IT consultant the greatest chance for success. With this information in hand, you can work as partners with your IT consultants and create a cohesive approach to tech that will guide your software and hardware acquisitions in the future.
7. Focus on the Future
Solving today’s business challenges isn’t enough. Instead, you’ll need to focus on what your future business goals may be. Is there a new tech coming in the next 5-10 years, but it isn’t quite “baked” yet? Be sure to bring that possibility up with your IT service provider. While you may not be ready to implement something on the bleeding edge of technology, you can at least try to construct platforms that will integrate smoothly and efficiently with new software that’s “coming soon.”
Get Reliable IT Support Denver Businesses Trust
When your company is ready to level up your technology, it’s vital that you find an IT consulting firm that understands your business model and is willing to be a true partner for your business. The team at Resilient Managed Computer Services has been serving the Denver business community since 1983 and specializes in ensuring that your technical headaches disappear — forever. Contact us today at 303-371-7214 or schedule a consultation with a technical expert online anytime.