Having outlined the basics of Cloud Computing in the first blog in this IT 101 series, we now look at the world of IT Consulting Services.
IT Consultants provide advice on the best ways to use technology to achieve your business objectives.
As a practice, you might hear it referred to as ‘outsourcing’ and it offers:
- Practical help with IT projects, upgrades and machine management
- Hands-on support, troubleshooting everyday IT-related issues and
- Strategic direction for companies who want to future-proof their business by harnessing IT as an investment, rather than an expense
Who uses IT consultants?
Companies who want to:
- Realise their ambitions with the help of objective advice
- Invest their IT budget well
- Use technical innovation to improve operational efficiency
- Reduce downtime and address recurring issues
- Keep pace with the competition by knowing the latest technology trends
- Find opportunities to get closer to customers and improve their experience
- Drive online product or service development
- Have access to expert IT support, without the overheads of developing expertise in-house
What services do they offer?
IT consultants offer an end-to-end support network that can help with everything from planning and estimates to implementation, deployment and ongoing administration.
Their services fall into three main categories:
Project scoping and planning
Some businesses have high-level plans or even just an idea of where they want to be, but need help understanding what it will take, from an IT perspective, to get them there.
Scoping a project well from the outset, for example an office relocation, is essential to get a realistic view of things such as what the development will include, how long it will take, what the milestones might look like, who needs to be involved and how much it will cost.
Inexperience or a lacklustre approach at this part of the project can lead to disappointing results, coming in behind schedule and going over budget.
Business process and system design
Scope links directly with the proposed business processes, and whether the project is looking at new products or services, for example moving from in-house servers to the cloud, it’s likely they’ll have some knock-on effect to the existing systems.
Documenting business processes, how they’ll change and what level of support is required to move you from A to B, is a key skill and something IT consultants would get involved with.
Project management support
Project management is the cornerstone of any successful IT development and the experience required to manage requirements coming from every corner of the business doesn’t always exist in a structure that’s focused on delivering the day-to-day.
IT project managers are skilled leaders, communicators and collaborators. A key player in any IT change, they focus on bringing technical, business and management resources together, acting as a virtual CIO to deliver with just the right amount of drive and control.
What kind of projects would an IT Consultant such as pebble.it add value on?
IT Project Management and Consultancy: Managing a business’s existing services and identifying and delivering on future needs.
Solution Design: Designing operating models for improved workflow, file storage and device management.
Strategic thinking and future proofing: Keeping businesses fresh, innovative and one step ahead of the competition.
IT Roadmaps: Mapping and managing customers through audits, business change, office refurbs and infrastructure improvement.
Disaster recovery and Business Continuity Planning: Total peace of mind around resilience, uptime, recovery time, recovery points and data centre set-ups.
Remote Monitoring and Management: Proactively monitoring infrastructure to prevent break-fix scenarios, faster response times and better all-round maintenance.
Service Desk / Help Desk: Expert assistance on queries, incidents, reporting and problem management. Single point of contact, available in-house or remotely, supported by a team of helpdesk engineers.
Network and Infrastructure Security: Use of next generation technology to control access, ensure compliance, prevent intrusion and avoid data loss.
Cloud and Virtualised Services: Everything about in-house versus cloud, from advice to deployment and management, including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and secure off-site backups.
Managed Services: Including vendor and asset management, machine standardisation, budget control, back-ups, device management, network management and data centre hosting.
Office Moves: Planning and managing everything from connectivity and WiFi to hardware, desking and data.
Software and Hardware Procurement: Intelligent procurement using volume licensing and leasing. Passing savings on to you.
IT Department Resourcing: Covering everything from a single on-site engineer or a team of experts working round the clock.
Knowledge and experience are everything in this game, making a good IT Consultant a valuable partner when it comes to getting your business up and running, keeping pace and lasting the distance.
Learn how an IT consultant can help your business or agency to grow by downloading our eBook on The Role Of It In Your Agency: