The term information technology consulting (popularly known as IT consulting)refers to the process of technical or technology related advisory provided to the organizations. This process is facilitated by IT consultants. These consultants ensure that the organization understands and acknowledges the optimized usageof information technology (IT) in order to achieve their business objectives.
The main point to ponder is whether the IT consulting process is just restricted to typically guiding the organization, OR does it also involve other activities likeproviding requested information, enabling solutions to problems (i.e. business challenges), conducting technical feasibility analysis to redefine the problem(s), helping with fundamental system architecture,providing recommendations, supervising implementation, building consensus/commitment, testing, providing easy training as well as learning approach and thereby enabling an overall organizational effectiveness?
Information Technology Consulting (IT Consulting)
The process of IT consulting may appear to be a simple process of providing a set of instructions by an IT consultant to an organization. But, the fact is that good and proper IT consulting is much more than just simpleguidance. In fact, it constitutes many sub processes that forms a part of the main IT consultancy process (as shown in the figure).
Although the IT Consultants are responsible for providing technical advisory to the organization,*good* IT consultants on the other hand are “hands-on” professionals who remain fully intertwined with the organization during the entire process of implementation of the technology from beginning till the end. They offer “hands-on” help in terms of constant and thorough review, communication, sync up, etc. to all the business decision makers during the entire lifecycle of the technical product.
IT Consulting is more than just giving Guidance
In a typical scenario, there is a business owner who has a vision for a product and he/she defines the requirementskeeping in mind the business objectives. Next, the owner works internally to define the scope and budgets an estimated cost and a tentative time-frame for the business project. Finally, an IT consultantis involved whose role is to do technical feasibility analysis and give guidance on the most appropriate technical execution strategy for the product’s development.
However, a good IT consultant will do much more. They will dive hands-on into the project. The *complete*role of an IT consultant/consultancy firm includes meeting with the client(s) to understand their business vision and requirements, working diligently with the client(s) to define the project scope, hashing out the technical architecture, selecting the right technology (for front-end, back-end, web, mobile, SaaS, Cloud Computing, open source etc.), planning the time schedule and the appropriate resources, performing code-review for modularity and code structuring, testing the final product and helping with optimization for performance, security and scalability. The role does not end here. The IT consultant should also help with framing the most optimized hardware stack and server architecture which will run the product to ensure optimized cost and server spend for the owner.
This kind of IT consultancy helps the owner minimize risks and maximize output with IT development.It also helps the concerned departments by preparing necessary documentation and progress reports. The consultant should alsoorganize training for the users and/or business units who will be working on the product.
An organization hires an IT consultant/consultancy firm in order to achievebusiness objective(s) in an effective, hassle-free and efficient manner. It is the advice and recommendations of the IT consultant that enables the organization to be effective in managing the Information Technology (IT) processes thereby achieving business objectives. Thus, having a *hands-on and complete* IT consultant who offers an optimized blend of technology, implementation, review processes along with effective monitoring will always add much more value to the organization.