An IT consultant is a professional who helps companies carry out IT projects. If you need, for example, to set up a CRM system, create a website, audit information security, design an accounting system, select equipment or create a plan for a computer network , but there is no specialist in the state, the company can hire a consultant for the job.
He will analyze the client’s request, choose the appropriate solution, select the employees, supervise the work and assess the quality of the final product.
It can support projects in one or more areas. This can range from the creation of a website or a turnkey information system, from the idea to the finished product, including an audit or the search for an answer to a specific question.
What does a consultant do?
It is very rare for software engineering consultants to undertake the same tasks. Often the projects are very different, as is the allocated budget. To give you some examples:
- Creation of a computer system for a medium or small company.
- Creation of an IT system for a large company with all business processes.
- Integration of different systems into one.
- Software or security audits.
- Definition and audit of tasks.
The first meetings with a client, during the phase of getting to know each other and collecting information, are often similar. It is not always easy to understand what kind of help is needed, what kind of problem the customer is trying to solve and for what purpose.
First, and sometimes the only job of an IT consultant, is to help the customer understand exactly what they need to do to fix the problem.
At this stage, any information can be useful. It is important not to work from templates, but to be attentive to detail and minutia and to focus on specific conditions and people. There are bound to be nuances in each case.
What the IT consultant does next varies depending on their task. If the goal was to conduct an audit or create a project plan, the specialist writes a report, which will be the result of the work. It must contain a response to the client’s request and recommendations.
Development of MVP, construction of a work plan
If the project involves more than a simple audit, the consultant must propose an action plan.
At this stage, he can deal with the following problems:
- Make an engineering design and select the optimal technology and equipment. Prepare terms of reference for contractors.
- Prepare staffing needs (number, qualifications), infrastructure and premises if the project involves them.
- Describe key business processes.
- Select the software to implement and justify the decision.
- Develop a step-by-step development plan with a timeline and estimated cost. It is important to consider the client’s budgets and objectives.
Most often, in any project, a consultant offers several options. If the client only receives one, even if the specialist trusts it, it will be difficult for the client to believe and accept that this is the best solution. Especially since the client often better understands the specificities of his business, and his choice can be more justified.
You have to know how to keep an open mind. The consultant cannot afford to make recommendations based solely on personal preferences.
Also at this stage, the consultant can draw the client’s attention to features not directly related to IT that the client may not have thought of.
What must be done for a successful implementation?
- Select a team of interpreters.
- Supervise the work by acting as a liaison between management and the technical team at each stage.
- Audit completed solutions.
- Occasionally lead training sessions for employees.
Often the work of the IT consultant ends after the start of a project, but sometimes the cooperation continues afterwards – customers need help with support and further development of the solution.