IT consulting firms are a dime a dozen these days. Run a quick Google search and you’ll be flooded with results.
Most IT consulting firms offer similar services, at similar prices, often pulling from a similar resource pool. It makes it challenging for organizations to differentiate and determine which IT consulting firm is the best partner for your business.
And selecting the right IT consulting firm for your business is crucial to ensure your IT requirements are understood, your budget and timelines respected, and your goals met.
With thousands of IT consulting firms to choose from offering similar services at similar prices what factors will help you identify a firm that will partner with you to meet your IT needs?
Engaged leadership. Look for a firm whose leadership is involved during the sales process. Having a junior sales team member initiate a conversation with a client is fine, but good IT firms will have their leadership engage with you early and often. Doing so is a precursor to how valued you would be as a client. If an IT firm’s leadership takes an active role early in the sales process, they’ll likely continue to be actively involved throughout the course of the partnership.
Seek out do-ers. One of the biggest potential stumbling blocks at the start of a new engagement is an inaccurate sales pitch.
Many firms today have seemingly no connection between their sales teams and their operations teams. Their sales representatives come from sales backgrounds with no experience actually working on or managing IT projects. This often leads to detrimental attempts to “oversell” during the sales process, which to be fair, is not entirely the fault of the sales team. If you’re a sales representative with no experience working in IT, with limited interaction to operational team members, how can you know the limitations or issues you’re likely to face on a typical IT project?
Look for an IT partner that prioritizes a focus on doing, not just selling. At Providge, for instance, every member of our team, including our sales representatives and our leadership team, have years of experience working on IT projects. Each of our team members is familiar with the common issues, challenges, and delays associated with IT projects. During the sales process you won’t get some fairytale story about how quickly and cheaply everything will be done. We’ll provide an honest assessment based on years of experience so you can accurately plan for your IT needs.
Evaluate thought leadership. With such a crowded market, IT firms should be using thought leadership as a way to stand out. An IT firm who isn’t dedicating at least some effort to creating thought leadership may not be the right partner for your organization.
IT firms should be using every advantage they can identify to separate themselves from the competition. Thought leadership is one of the most effective channels to demonstrate expertise at a very low-cost to the firm. It also provides potential clients a great opportunity to evaluate an IT firm’s experience, expertise, and culture. Reviewing an IT firm’s thought leadership efforts will give you helpful insight during the evaluation process. Do they use the same methodologies you do? What type of projects have they worked on? Are they up to date on the latest industry trends?
Look for firms who are producing thought leadership consistently that demonstrates their firm’s experience and a clear understanding of industry trends.
Transparency about pricing. Most IT firms are not terribly forthcoming about their pricing structure. How is that $275 rate they plan to charge being used?
Look for IT firms who will offer at least some transparency in their pricing. A successful IT partner should look to be a good steward not just of their firm’s finances, but of their client’s finances as well. And that means striving towards reasonable rates, and offering transparency regarding those rates to clients. As a client, if a firm is being quite secretive about their rates, consider probing more deeply during the evaluation process.
At Providge, we believe firmly in doing all we can to provide cost-effective solutions to our clients. We want our clients to get the most bang for their buck. We do this by keeping overhead rates low and focusing on small, experienced teams that best meet your requirements, rather than providing large, general teams that often lead to project delays and cost-overruns.