Strategic Technology Consulting:
What Is It and Who is Investing In It?
By Heinan Landa
It happens all the time: leaders of organiza- tions ask me how they should be spending their IT budget. My response? IT budgeting has always been both a philosophical and
practical discussion. Does your organization
view IT as a need or as an advantage? Is it a
competitive tool or a necessity? As indicated
by the positive forecasts in IT spending and
direction, it seems that most organizations are
realizing the value of technology as not only
a way to sustain revenue, but to grow it. In
2013, the two IT areas organizations are most
readily investing in are cloud technologies and
strategic IT consulting. The latter—and its
speedy rise to market—is the subject of much
confusion. Below I explore what it is, who’s
investing in it, and how you can identify a
qualified strategic IT consultant.
WHAT IS STRATEGIC IT CONSULTING?
Strategic IT consulting, or strategic technology consulting, is the practice of analyzing your IT environment from a business perspective. It is the guided
process of asking the questions: Is my IT supporting
my organizational goals? If not, how can IT be transformed into a business driver?
HOW DID IT RISE TO SUCH PROMINENCE?
Strategic IT consulting, as a practice, has been around
for a long time. However, three factors contributed to
the rise of this service into market prominence.
1. MARKET PRESSURE: During the recession, organizations were holding off on critical technology purchases
for a significant period of time. When the economy
began to improve, many companies were able to plan
for equipment upgrades or replacements that were im-
Heinan Landa is CEO of Optimal Networks, a Rockville, Md.-based IT support and strategic consulting firm. For more than
two decades, Optimal has helped approximately 500 clients
navigate the ever-increasing changes in technology to make
sure their technology supports their organization’s success.
For more information, visit www.optimalnetworks.com.
possible during the economic downturn. But, the organizations saw the price tag of their technology upgrades increase dramatically because they had held
onto aging systems longer than recommended. The
size of the investment warranted outside counsel; executives wanted to make sure the money was being
spent in the right way and the project was executed
properly. All of a sudden, there was a significant market demand for strategic technology consulting.
2. PACE OF TECHNOLOGY: In the last five years, the
pace of technology has advanced more rapidly than
it has in the past 20 years combined. Technologies
travel from new and untested to “standard” in record
time. With this accelerating pace of technological
change, an increasing number of executives need
help sifting through the available technologies and
making informed decisions.
3. AWARENESS THAT TECHNOLOGY IS A COMPETITIVE
ADVANTAGE: In the last 3 to 5 years, the business
community has become aware that technology is a
competitive advantage. According to The Financial
Times, approximately half of the CFOs in the U.S.
that were surveyed increased their IT influence and
allowance. Forty-four percent of CFOs said that
May 2013 Consulting