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Updated by Charles Bystock on 07/29/2014

it-outsourcing-consultants_(5)As soon as you begin your search for IT outsourcing consultants, you’ll realize there are more firms out there than you expected. Complicating matters, each of these firms can be quite different, so it’s not easy to compare and evaluate them. What is easy is quickly culling those that clearly do not have your best interests at heart.

If you run into IT outsourcing consultants with any of these three traits, immediately cross them off your prospect list and move on:

#1. The one-size-fits-all consultant.

These people proudly declare they already know what you need. In fact, they’ll fit you into their template or formula and presto! You have your solution in no time. It’s the same solution they’ve “sold” to countless past clients, so you know it must be great, right?

#2. The pushy consultant.

These people seem inordinately interested in pushing you toward a particular product or vendor. What’s the deal here? Don’t they know anyone else? Or are they getting a kickback or into some other less-than-professional relationship?

#3. The bait-and-switch consultant.

These people market their services based on the resume of the principal or partners. Then they pawn off your project on the second string once you’ve signed the contract.

There are some great IT outsourcing consultants out there.

Most IT outsourcing consultants have numerous traits that make them superb partners for designing and implementing your company’s IT future. Once you’ve eliminated the obvious non-starters, you’ll be able to focus on the characteristics that indicate a good fit between the consulting team and your enterprise.

Look for firms that emphasize customization:

It’s all about you.

No self-respecting executive wants to be treated like the next product placed on some consultant’s assembly line. Your enterprise is emphatically not identical to any other company. Sure, you have some common challenges when it comes to upgrading your IT operations and remaining agile in a fluid global business environment, but there are also important characteristics unique to your organization.

The best IT outsourcing consultants know that, and they carefully consider those differences to ensure their recommendations are most suitable for your situation, not someone else’s. As part of the advisory process, they may relate their experiences with other clients, so you can learn from that inside knowledge.

Independent recommendations.

Perhaps the prime reason to hire IT outsourcing consultants is their superior in-depth knowledge of the IT marketplace and their unbiased delivery of that information. It’s tough to keep track of the latest technology trends and best practices as well as new providers coming on the scene, new pricing models, etc., even tougher to understand the pros and cons and ultimate ramifications of each choice for enterprises such as yours. But the best consultants are relentless about staying on the cutting edge. How else can they help you do the same?

All that detailed knowledge and insight should result in one thing: recommendations based solely on your company’s needs and goals.

Insist on the A Team.

You won’t get all that experienced advice – and that’s what you’re paying for -- unless you’re able to work directly with the consultants who have the background you need. If those people are merely figureheads or only available for an introductory meeting, look for another firm.

Interview all your top candidates in person, even if much of the project work will be handled remotely. A face-to-face meeting is critical because however knowledgeable they are, you want them to be likeable, too. Thinking and communication styles that are in sync produce far more creative teamwork.

Finding the right type of IT outsourcing consultants is the prelude to a great advisory experience, one that will generate results you confidently implement and bank on as your enterprise grows and changes.