The Shifting Scope of IT ConsultingWritten on May 31, 2011
Technology, as we all know, is a rapidly changing industry. Adjusting to changing conditions is part of the job as an IT consultancy. But it’s more than just utilizing new tools and the latest hardware – it’s about adjusting business practices to meet the needs of the client and the consultancy.
This is something Eric Eckel knows well. As a co-owner of two companies, he brings strong business acumen in addition to his experience as an IT consultant focused on small businesses. He recently wrote a very insightful article for TechRepublic discussing how business priorities have developed since 2008 – when he wrote an article titled 10 Things to Know Before Launching an IT Consultancy. In the 2008 article he made a very solid list of basic need-to-knows. Incorporating, registering for federal tax ID number and state sales tax exemption, and best practices like the importance of vendor relationships and establishing a niche were featured.
His more recent article was more about refining those practices and adjusting to shifting priorities in a leaner post-recession industry. Many of these changes come from the needs of clients – such as a shift in focus to expanding the life of systems and utilizing virtual technology to do more with less hardware. Expect clients to scrutinize invoices more, as well as expecting more timely service. This includes being prepared for potential issues such as slow payments. Being prepared is the order of the day – as Eckel says, “Strong technical chops, a good business plan, and the right back-end systems are no longer sufficient to guarantee success. Operational processes must be bulletproof during unforgiving times.”
Eckel’s advice in both his articles make an excellent starting point for examining the processes and systems in your business and comparing them to the shifting needs of the industry.