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IT Consulting Engagements

IT consulting engagements come in two primary flavors. Th e fi rst involves a client with specific problems that improved IT might be able to resolve. Th e client might pose questions such as: “We’ve acquired fi ve companies that all use technology. Can you design a system to streamline our IT?”; “Check out our IT vendors and make sure we’re not paying too much”; “How many servers will we need in the next fi ve years?”; or “We want to use social networking programs to boost our marketing. How should we do it?”

Th e other flavor of IT consulting involves a more complete overhaul. For example, a large enterprise application company was struggling to compete with a larger company in Asian markets. The client wanted consultants who were comfortable with the technical aspects of its products. The IT consulting firm then interviewed key executives, read up on the industry, and ran focus groups with customers before making suggestions to the CEO and CTO.

As it turned out, although the client’s products were more expensive than the competitor’s, they could be easily improved to reduce maintenance costs, a major customer concern. In the end, the answer to the client’s problem required business intelligence and smart engineering. Insiders say more and more IT consulting falls into the second category.

“Technology is no longer separated from the overall business objectives, but is a key part of all growth plans,” says an IT consultant. “We need to understand the client’s problem from a strategic angle, rather than run in to build something that might cause more problems down the road.”

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