The age-old question of “why hire a consultant?” comes to most professions, and IT consulting is no different — I might even suggest that it may be even more common regarding the IT industry.
Most small businesses have a “techie person” who handles day-to-day technical computer issues. And that’s great. Ideally every site should have somebody that can handle quick technical issues here and there. Here in Victoria, it tends to extend beyond immediate staff and into family member territory. But for problems beyond the superficial, and even sometimes including those that occur again and again, a consultant can often be the right answer.
First, I’d like to dispel some myths.
Myth #1: Consultants Are Expensive
The most important thing to remember is that you only pay for the time that a consultant is actually working, as opposed to an employee who is paid hourly plus benefits, insurance, etc — regardless of productivity.
What else could your tech-savvy employee be doing to be more productive to your company? Could they be earning you money instead of sinking all of their effort into a situation beyond their expertise? What might take a skilled IT consultant mere minutes to solve might take someone unfamiliar with the problem several hours.
The IT industry’s purpose is to increase productivity through technology — sinking unqualified resources into unfamiliar territory is hardly efficient.
Myth #2: Don’t Need ‘Em
The status quo is great, but it can stagnate your business. A business today is lost without email, a website, a PC, a billing/accounting system, a printer, and the network equipment to connect it all together. Perhaps the problem is that you don’t realize what’s possible. Maybe you never realized you could print from your phone, or remote in to your computer at work from home, or one of a million other little things that can enhance your experience.
Myth #3: A Tech Is A Tech
Victoria is known as a tourist destination, but our primary revenue is the tech industry. Despite this fact, Victoria also has some of the worst supported networks for small businesses. Many reputable computer consulting companies hire technicians that don’t know the difference between a router, a hub, and a switch (FYI there are BIG differences), and these “IT professionals” are content to daisy-chain network devices until they are satisfied that “everything works”. The problem ranges from cheap, shoddy hardware to stripped or badly terminated cables, or plain old bad network design. This leaves many Victoria businesses with a false sense of security. Networks may go down, servers may fail, backups may not exist. A true IT consultant can remedy that.
Still others may provide a solution but give no ongoing support, perhaps because computers aren’t their full-time profession.
The bottom line is that not all IT professionals are created equal. Much like a doctor, there is nothing wrong with getting a second opinion and in fact it should be encouraged. Don’t take this to the extreme, however. You don’t want to call a different consultant from day to day or cycle between them. You want someone intimately familiar with your systems. Your computers and network need attention much like what you would give your vehicle.
For further information, see “What Does An IT Consultant Do?“, also on the McLean IT Consulting Blog.
McLean IT consulting is proud to offer a broad range of skills, services and computer technology to Victoria businesses. Initial consultations are free of charge, and there is no requirement for a service contract.