IT Consulting is a field that focuses on advising businesses on how best to use information technology to meet their business objectives. In addition to providing advice, IT consultancies often estimate, manage, implement, deploy, and administer IT systems on businesses' behalf.
Once a business owner defined the needs to take a business to the next level, a decision maker will define a scope, cost and a time-frame of the project. The role of the IT consultancy company is to support and nurture the company from the very beginning of the project till the end, and deliver the project not only in the scope, time and cost but also with complete customer satisfaction.
The usual problem is that a business owner doesn't know the detail of what the project is going to deliver until it starts the process. In many cases, the incremental effort in some projects can lead to significant financial loss.The scope of a project is linked intimately to the proposed business processes and systems that the project is going to deliver. Regardless of whether the project is to launch a new product range or discontinue unprofitable parts of the business, the change will have some impact on business processes and systems. The documentation of your business processes and system requirements are as fundamental to project scoping as an architects plans would be to the costing and scoping of the construction of a building.
The most successful business projects are always those that are driven by an employee who has the authority, vision and influence to drive the required changes in a business. It is highly unlikely that a business owner (decision maker or similar) will realize the changes unless one has one of these people in the employment. However, the project leadership role typically requires significant experience and skills which are not usually found within a company focused on day-to-day operations. Due to this requirement within more significant business change projects/programs, outside expertise is often sought from firms which can bring this specific skill set to the company.
The IT Consulting industry can be viewed as a Four-tier system:
- Professional services firm which maintain large professional workforces and command high bill rates.
- Staffing firms, which place technologists with businesses on a temporary basis, typically in response to employee absences, temporary skill shortages and technical projects.
- Independent consultants, who are self-employed or who function as employees of staffing firms, or as independent contractors in their own right
- Information Technology security consultants
There are different reasons why consultants are called in:
- to gain external, objective advice and recommendations
- To gain access to the consultants' specialized expertise
- Temporary help during a one-time project where the hiring of a permanent employee(s) is not required or necessary
- To outsource all or part of the IT services from a specific company.