IT Consultants In Houston: We’re Ready To Serve

When an ongoing need arises in your organization that requires that time and talents of an individual, your first inclination may be to hire someone in-house to take care of that need. After all, it only makes sense to bring someone on board as a member of the team who understands your company culture and can immediately respond to any issues.

This is especially true in technology, which is at the very core of your business operations. However, many companies in your industry are now looking for that level of expertise by seeking outsourced IT consultants in Houston. There are several reasons why an IT consultant may be a better fit for your company than an in-house IT admin. However, before you make the leap to hiring an IT consultant, here are six items to consider:

1. The IT Consultant Should Provide Ongoing Employee Training

If you plan to use an IT consultant long-term, then the consultant should do more than provide ‘drive-by’ consultation or IT management. They should take an active interest in educating your staff and bringing them along through every phase of your digital transformation.

If the staff has to call the consultant for every tiny question or issue that arises in the office, then they creating costly downtime. The IT consultant should discern which issues the staff can handle and which issues are best left to an expert and then train the staff accordingly.

BTW, training is ongoing. Since technology is always undergoing an evolutionary process, the staff should continually be undergoing training to keep up with the technology.

2. Protect Your Most Secure Data

As a business owner, you should always exercise extreme caution with your digital assets. This includes protecting intellectual property, customer information, and employee profiles. Regardless of how trustworthy your IT consultant is, you should always practice some type of due diligence.

Although you will have to trust your IT consultant with some of your company data, you can still decide at what level you give your IT consultant access. Also, make sure that you get a good look at the contract to make sure that you have ultimate control over your data and not the consultant. Last, be careful what accounts you hand over to the consultant. You don’t want to put yourself in a position where the consultant is holding an account hostage.

3. Enforce Confidentiality Agreements

Your data is private and should stay that way. Business dealings with other companies should also remain private. Therefore, before you go into a business arrangement with an IT consultant, insist on signing a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement. The agreement can cover a wide range of areas including:

  • Your company practices
  • All internal data
  • Intellectual property
  • Your business arrangement with the consultant
  • Any other agreed upon information

A confidentiality agreement protects both you and the IT consultant.

4. Interview the Company, Ask the Right Questions

If you are going to allow access to your core data and infrastructure, then you will want to conduct an extensive interview. Even more importantly, ask questions that address your concerns. Topics you wish to cover may include:

  • Pricing and fees
  • Services the consultant offers
  • Security and privacy issues
  • Contract
  • IT Experience in your industry
  • Experience with your type of hardware or software
  • Industry & vendor certifications or specialization

Asking these questions on the front end can help you make a better decision so that you don’t end in a long-term contract that you will regret.

5. Understand Every Word of the Contract

Make sure the IT contract covers all the essential areas of the consultant’s services such as fees, costs, billable time, goals and benchmarks, objectives, deadlines, and conditions of getting out of the partnership.

While a contract can be challenging to read, it is imperative that you understand the type of partnership you are getting into. Don’t be afraid to ask to put things into the contract. Remember, that a contract protects both parties, keeps everyone on the same page, and gives you legal leverage when a disagreement occurs. Last, don’t be afraid to get a third-party such as another IT professional or a lawyer to assess the contract and make any recommendations.

6. Learn How/Why the IT Consultant Does What They Do

When it comes IT, how someone arrives at a solution is just as important as the solution. Why? Because methodology can determine the time and money spent getting to the answer. Therefore, you should sit down with the consultant and ask them about their methods and what they do to provide solutions.

Discuss items such as efficiency, downtime, cost-savings, and other things that a consultant should take into consideration. How long does it take them to come up with a solution? Who is involved in the process? Do they communicate with you before making a decision? Do they look at the long-term costs/results? There are several ways to arrive at a solution. What are the consultants, and how do they affect your business?

Dependable IT Consultants in Houston

To find out more about IT solutions for your Houston business today, contact SMB Integrations at 832-617-0033 or via email to sales@smbintegrations.com. We offer comprehensive managed IT support.