When’s the Right Time to Consider an IT Consulting Company?
From an IT consulting company’s perspective there are three levels of businesses. The level is determined by the number of computer users (employees) the business has. A company’s need for an IT consulting company grows proportionately with its number of computer users. Depending on the size and nature of your business, your company could be ready for an IT consulting company.
Level One: Once businesses hit the 10-50 computer user mark, they tend to hire an IT consulting company to install its first server. What’s so magical about the 10-50 user mark? A shared workstation is fine when you have fewer than five computer users.
Beyond that mark is when IT trouble starts. Operating systems are not designed to handle the demand of ten plus users. Companies report glitches and an overall slowing of the system, which hurts productivity. That’s when you know it’s a good time to bring in an IT consulting company to explore centralized storage and install and maintain your own dedicated server.
Level two: Even with an in-house 1-2 person IT staff, an IT consulting company is still something to seriously consider. Obviously your IT needs warranted hiring IT people. That also means your IT is business critical.
Small in-house IT teams are capable of providing 2nd level technical support. But what if the IT problem escalates? An IT consulting company offers your IT staff an extra level of help to troubleshoot issues. In a sense, the IT consulting company serves as your IT team’s support.
Vacations, sick leave and hiring/firing can wreak havoc on your business. An IT consulting company has consultants available to fill in for vacation and sick day absences—short- or long-term. And if your IT person leaves the company, being able to bring in an IT consulting company affords you the time to find and hire the right person instead of just a warm body. Once you’ve hired your new IT employee, your IT consulting company can train and get him up to speed much quicker than self-training. An IT consulting company means business continuity no matter who is absent or gone.
Level three: Level three companies are larger with the IT staff to match. But even large IT teams require an IT consulting company, especially when facing special projects. IT consultants plan, implement and manage different types of upgrades and migrations on a daily basis—projects in-house IT teams do maybe once every couple of years.
Why have the in-house IT staff muddle through projects like email migrations and hardware, software or server upgrades? Given the impact on your business, these aren’t DIY areas. An IT consulting company tackles these projects all the time. Outsourcing special projects to your IT consulting company saves time and money. It’s always ten times more expensive to fix a problem than hire an IT consultant from the start.
Whenever you hire an IT consulting company, build a long relationship. Bring in your IT consultant while your business is level one if possible. When your IT consulting company has been with you since the beginning, it’s able to thoroughly understand your requirements, operations and future needs. You can always count on the IT recommendations you’re given from a consultant who knows your business compared to one joining the middle of the conversation.