Hiring an IT sourcing consultant can be a particularly strategic move. But if you’re going to do that, you want to be sure from the outset that your partnership will be a successful one. That you’ll get the results you expect and need. The factors that ensure a successful partnership with IT sourcing consultants are essentially the same as those you’ll use to choose an outsourcing provider, if that’s where you’re headed.
Keeping these five essentials in mind will help you evaluate IT sourcing consultants and shape a profitable working relationship.
1. Well-defined scope of work.
Clearly outlined objectives are fundamentally important. Why are you even hiring IT sourcing consultants? Doing some advance research will help you understand all the things these folks could do for you, so you can home in on the services most important for your enterprise at this time.
Both you and your consulting team should set out your expectations regarding how you’ll work together to achieve project objectives – each of your responsibilities, timeline, etc. Your goals have to be achievable, of course. Establish some pertinent and mutually-agreed-upon metrics to measure your consulting mission’s success.
2. Cost clarity.
Different IT sourcing consultants use different pricing models, and every potential client has different budgetary constraints. Not every pricing format is appropriate for every job. The project metrics you establish will tell you if the work got done as planned, but how will you know you’re getting your money’s worth? Talk this through before you select a consultant, as your financial relationship is an important ingredient to overall success.
Working virtually can save time and money, but think about this: if you hire an IT sourcing consultant that’s relatively close, geographically speaking, they can spend more time working with your people onsite. That can enhance collaboration. It can also help them understand more clearly how your company functions internally -- the little details that could support or hinder IT changes in the offering.
3. Right knowledge fit.
IT sourcing consultants should have deep and pertinent knowledge of your industry as well as familiarity with current and emerging IT practices, issues, technical innovations -- all the factors that contribute to intelligent decision-making on your part. That’s why you’re getting their help.
Verify their track record. And dig deeper. You want to know they’ve partnered successfully with companies as large as yours and with similar project scope. That’s critical to build your confidence that their skills and experience match the specific needs of your project.
4. Right personal fit.
Most successful consulting experience will be a collaboration, not a hand-off. And it’s likely your IT sourcing consultants will be part of your working team for some time, because it’s complex work. Hands-on, relevant, high-level IT experience is essential. A smaller firm of IT sourcing consultants may be in a better position to assure you get the A-team, rather than assigning lesser-experienced, junior-level staff to your project.
While respecting their background and the resources they bring to the table is important, you have to like them, too, to work smoothly with them. So meet the people you’ll actually be working with, if possible. Are they excited about your project? Do they readily pick up on what it’s about. Do you believe they’ll have new ideas and suggestions you can use?
5. Good communication.
Discussing how you’ll communicate may be part of establishing your working relationship, but make it a point to meet the firm’s owner, too, if they won’t be part of your consulting team. That way, if anything should go wrong – or you have good things to share – the lines of communication will be open. How else can they know whether their people are performing well on your behalf?
It’s your money, and your company’s future. Successfully partnering with IT sourcing consultants can bring you superior project-specific results and build a lasting supportive relationship as well.
Photo credit: ~Brenda-Starr~ via Flickr