5 Signs Your IT Team Needs a Hired Consultant

Mar 25, 2019 by Matt Dixon

business-meetingThe IT consulting business is valued at  $426 billion and has been growing at an exponential rate. This success indicates that many businesses value their support in getting the most from their IT investment.

Have you got a major project coming up, but aren't sure your existing IT team can handle it? Here are 5 signs it's time to get help from a hired consultant.

1. Specialized Skills Gap

You may have some great people in your IT team. You have no doubts about their commitment to your business. They may be very competent IT professionals too.

The IT world is all about change. New technologies and methods are a feature of the industry. No matter how good out people are, it's tough to keep up with every innovation and development.

A new software rollout or hardware solution means new skills for the IT team. Sometimes it's not possible for them to learn everything they need in the required time scales. You need to get a quick injection of new knowledge.

An IT consultant may be implementing new technologies as the core part of their job. They have the expertise you need and which is difficult for IT staff who are supporting business as usual to acquire. As well as helping with their specialist IT skills part of their role can be knowledge transfer so your IT staff can support the new development in the future.

2. More Resources, Now

It's important for you to manage your human resources efficiently. Having large numbers of surplus IT people on hand to support when you have a peak in demand is inefficient. This does mean that the pressure on your core IT team can be intense from time to time.

Extra demands on your IT team can arise when you have a new IT development, business growth, a business crisis or some other change. You can probably handle a short or minor change in demand but what if you need resources for longer or quickly?

There are alternatives to hiring consultants. You could put off the project until you can recruit IT team members. You could train some of your own people.

Both of these solutions introduce delay and expense. Increasing your IT team size raises problems with getting good people and then laying people off when demand decreases. There is also the cost of recruitment, onboarding and training to consider.

Hire consultants for a rapid and cost-effective way of increasing your IT resources. IT consultants are used to moving around companies and projects with ease. They get up to speed quickly and when the project is over, they disappear with little fuss.

3. Fresh Set of Eyes

Have you ever found that you stop seeing things that are there every day? A flyer on a company noticeboard can be there for months and nobody notices that it's advertising an event that took place a year ago. A new employee, on their first day, sees the flyer and notices that it's out of date.

This phenomenon is true of so many things. The problem is, familiarity makes it difficult to see even the most obvious things. Old habits and distrust of unfamiliar things can make us resistant to change.

The right hired consultant can come into your business with a fresh set of eyes. They see things that your IT team have accepted and become familiar with. They recognize when these things are obstacles to progress, inefficient or outdated.

Partly because consultants are regularly in and out of multiple businesses, they transfer learning from elsewhere. If they have solved the same problems previously they hit the ground running with a short learning curve. They are an effective way of challenging norms, innovating and getting a fresh perspective. 

4. Catalysts for Change

Consultants are very familiar with change. They are used to adapting to change personally. No two businesses are identical so it's normal for them to deal with changing their work habits and get to know new people too.

This change readiness can be a very useful resource whenever you have a difficult change to implement. IT consultants recognize that change in IT systems is  not just about the technical change. There are also business process and people implications too.

IT consultants can help in a number of ways. They can help build a clear vision for your team of the end position of any change. This is a credible expectation that people will buy into because the IT consultant is likely to have been on this journey before.

An IT consultant can build the capability of your team to handle the change. They can transfer knowledge, skills, and experience. While they do this they also build the confidence and commitment of the team.

As a catalyst for change an IT consultant can bring your team along with them for the change journey. Once the change is in place, the leave your team independent and able to sustain the change.

5. Focus on the Core Business

You've got a major project to implement. Your team is excited about it and ready to get started. On the first day of the project, a business-critical system goes down.

Where should you focus your efforts? How will the wider business react if you say that your in-house IT team is not able to get them back to work because they have a new project starting today? You are unlikely to get much support.

In-house IT teams are likely to prioritize the core business. Focusing on the business today might be short terms but that's the reality of organizational life. Without success in the short term, there is no long term.

Hiring IT consultants allows your in-house IT team to deliver the day to day service your business needs. Business operations can continue to be supported while the IT consultants help you prepare for the future. 

Hired Consultant

A balance of in-house team members and a hired consultant or even a team of consultants can help deliver your business change projects effectively and efficiently. Let your team play to their strengths. Give them the support they and the business need for change.

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