Business partners discussing a project.

5 Questions You Need to Ask an IT Consultant Before Hiring Them

So, you’re looking to hire an IT consultant? That’s great! There are many benefits to partnering with an expert to handle your network infrastructure and IT solutions. Growing your business, saving resources, and 24/7 IT support are only a few.

That said, you’ll want to know that whoever you work with is capable of providing what your organization needs before hiring them. Consultants with different backgrounds and experience will be able to offer your company different perspectives on technology. It’s key to make sure that they align with your business goals.

Thus, there are a few key questions you should ask in order to make sure that an IT consultant is the right one for your business.

How much experience do you have with SMBs in my industry?

The first and likely most important, thing you’ll want to know is how much experience they have with businesses like yours. If you’re in the healthcare field (let’s say a doctor’s office) and a potential consultant has exclusively worked with large accounting firms, they may not be up-to-date on the best technology for your vertical.

A good IT consultant will be well-versed in the needs of your industry and business size. To gauge this, ask them to explain different obstacles they’ve encountered and how they solved them. If these sound similar to the issues you’re looking to solve in your business, that’s a great start.

How will we communicate about the work you’re doing?

A lack of communication often leads to disconnected expectations, followed by disappointment and frustration with results. You want to be involved in the planning and kept aware of progress, status and changes when it comes to adopting new IT, including the scope and duration of the implementation of your solutions and infrastructure configurations.

Have the potential consultant explain how they’ve communicated with clients in the past and at what level and stages their clients were involved in the decision-making process. Additionally, be sure to emphasize that you require an open line of communication if this partnership is going to work.

Do you have any vendor affiliations?

72% of SMB decision-makers say that technology solutions can help them significantly improve business outcomes and run their company better. The key to reaping the business benefits of technology is finding the solutions that help your organization meet its goals.

That’s why during your initial consultation it’s important to ask what sort of vendor affiliations an IT consultant has. Most experts tend to have bias when it comes to the types of tech they prefer. For instance, some consultants favor Microsoft Windows over Linux (and vice versa). Understanding to what extent their recommendations are based on their comfort level and experience will give you more insight into the options that are right for you.

Ideally, the consultant you hire will have experience working with multiple platforms. And can truly offer you an objective opinion on which is best for your organization. That said, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing if they have a strong vendor partnership or extensive experience with a single platform. Especially if it’s the one you want to use.

How do you select your team?

While the IT consultant you meet during your initial consultation may be leading the charge, they should also have a skilled team to back them up. As much as they may know, they cannot do it ALL by themselves, and you probably want to avoid relying on a one-man shop for any major or strategic project.

Most large projects require input from various roles and an all-hands-on-deck approach to plan and complete successfully. Additionally, access to a wide range of talent, knowledge, and experience means that you will be getting the expertise your business deserves.

What are some major trends affecting the IT industry that may impact my business?

We know, this question focuses on the big picture. But, it’s rather telling. You’re essentially asking them if they have the ability to think broadly about what’s happening in the industry today. And, if they keep up with the changes taking place within it.

If they give you a vague answer without specific examples, they may not be the most reliable source of information. If they can’t tell you what’s going on in their field right now and what it means for you, how are they going to ensure you’re getting best technology for your business?

If you have any further questions about what to look for when hiring an IT consultant, please reach out. Implementing the right IT solutions can be complex, and it’s our goal to make it as accessible and straightforward as possible.