In our last post on finding a great technical consultant, we talked about the four factors that combine to make a good technology consultant, great. Those four factors include:
- Great technical skills
- Great communication skills
- Great project management skills
- Great visioning skills
Some of those skills are learned skills, some are inherent or are the result of experience. But what else does a technology consultant need to know to be good at his or her job?
In this post, we’ll walk you through the things a Technology consultant should know in order to make the biggest positive impact on your business. Here are five things we think every consultant should know to be effective in their jobs.
- Know when to listen – As a technology consultant, listening is one of the most important skills to cultivate. Most of what a consultant needs to know on an individual project (outside of technical skills) will come through listening to client needs and concerns.
- Know when technology is the answer, and when it isn’t. Technology is a cure to many of the problems your business may face, but simply buying more and better technical “stuff” isn’t always what’s needed to run your business more efficiently. That’s why technology consultants also need to understand your business, your industry, and the best practices that will help clients like you be more efficient before simply suggesting that you buy new hardware or software. That may be part of the solution, but usually it takes more than a few gadgets to drive real business results.
- Know your limits. Specialization is a key to success in any endeavor and IT consulting is no different. Too many consultants out there try to do everything, but as the old saying goes, “the Jack of all trades is master of none.” A technology consultant should know when a project is within their area of expertise, and when they need to partner up to provide the best results.
- Know technology’s role. Ask your technology consultant what technology’s role within your business should be, and listen carefully to their answer. The short answer is that technology should help your business be more productive, profitable and competitive. A longer answer – the one we here at Tolar like to provide – is that technology should help you work from anywhere securely, it should help you scale and adapt to change, and it should ensure you can operate predictably and profitably. Whatever answer your technology consultant gives, it should ultimately align with your goals for your business.
- Know the client. This goes back to listening, but one thing that is true of all clients is that no two IT clients are the same. Technology consultants work with clients of all different industries, backgrounds and technical needs. It’s important to understand each client and look at what will work best for them, rather than trying to apply the same one-size-fits-all philosophy to every client regardless of need.
Notice that we didn’t actually talk about technical skills? Those can vary based on the type of project your company may have in mind. We could of course list an understanding of cloud technology and network security, since that’s our specialty. But we’ve found that the skills our clients value most have to do with the “people side” of the business, our understanding of our clients and the right ways to make technology work for them, that are the most critical on any project.
What do you wish your technology consultant knew? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.