their influence over IT investments has increased
since 2010. They are responsible for IT decisions
and have a higher understanding of just how important the IT department is to the overall health and
success of the organization. In addition, PCWorld
reports that corporate boards are prioritizing IT
spending as highly as investments in sales operations. Sixty-four percent of companies reported
making a proactive shift to invest more money in
their internal and outsourced IT resources. The increasing participation of C-level executives in the IT
arena illustrates a shift in thinking about IT as a necessary cost to a business advantage.
HOW CAN YOU BE SURE YOU ARE PICKING A
CREDIBLE STRATEGIC IT CONSULTANT?
Almost every IT company has created consulting services to meet the market demand. Not all of them are
qualified to advise on strategic business technology direction, however. Below are a few factors to consider
when evaluating the strategic IT firm with which you
want to work.
• BUSINESS BACKGROUND: IT expertise does not a strategic IT consultant make. Does the firm you are considering have executive-level business professionals on staff?
Do some of their professionals have an MBA or equivalent? You, as a business person, are in a prime position
to observe what questions they are asking and if these
questions suggest a depth of business knowledge.
• TECHNOLOGY BACKGROUND: How long has the company been in business? Do they have specific expertise working in your industry, serving organizations
with similar challenges? Will they make their case
studies and references available to you?
• INTERACTIONS: During the sales process, evaluate
your interactions with prospective firms. Do their
questions suggest a high level thought process that
demonstrates an understanding of your specific organizational challenges? Are they adding value and
demonstrating strategic successes?
• INSTINCT: Part of making any decision is following
your gut. How do you feel about the firm? Do you
think they are sophisticated enough to elevate tech
support to a business function or are they more concerned about fixing your server or pushing the latest
tech trend on you? What are they recommending for
your organization and does it resonate with you?
Consulting May 2013
WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN THE STRATEGIC
IT CONSULTING SERVICE DELIVERABLE?
• TRANSLATION. Your strategic IT consulting firm should
be able to explain technology as a business advantage
to your senior leadership in ways that make sense.
• BUSINESS PROCESS IMPROVEMENTS. Recommendations on how the proper use of technology can provide process improvements and competitive business
• OBJECTIVE PERSPECTIVE. Objective, wide-angled perspective (not incentivized by vendors or partnerships)
to help you think through business technology decisions involving disaster recovery, backup, business
continuity planning, and more.
•BENCHMARKING AGAINST INDUSTRY BEST PRACTICES. Identification of additional technologies and
best practices being used in organizations similar to
yours, evaluation of how your systems technologically
measure up against competitors.
• TECHNOLOGY S. W.O. T. ANALYSIS. Analysis of your organization’s technological strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in an effort to identify new
technologies for cost savings, operational efficiencies,
and competitive advantages.
• POLICY AND IT GOVERNANCE ASSISTANCE. Assistance
in drafting policies that mitigate risk, reflect corporate
goals, and encompass industry best practices.
•PROJECT MANAGEMENT, COORDINATION, AND
STAFFING. Comprehensive coordination and management of projects involving external and internal technology staff, partners, and vendors.
In general, organizations should be spending 3 percent
of their revenue on IT. If your company is in an aggressive growth mode, or trying to catch up from severe cuts
to the IT budget during the economic downturn, that
number increases to 4 to 7 percent. This is a lot of
money, and you need guidance on how to spend it prudently because wise (or unwise) technology investments
have a disproportional impact on organizational productivity and effectiveness.
Information technology no longer operates in a silo;
instead it is a strategic business driver. As such, it is imperative that your firm not only elevate IT consideration
to an operational and strategic level, but choose the right
partner that will help you to do this most effectively.