by Josh Hedge
When it comes to choosing the right IT consulting partner for your organization, it is a process and a decision that should not be taken lightly. As a business or technical leader, the people, organizations, and partners that you choose to affiliate yourself and your company with will go a long way in determining your overall success. It is important to align with an IT partner that shares your organizational values and one that seeks to understand your business and the ways in which IT can support, improve, and, ultimately, help you grow. Here are four things to look for as you search for the right IT partner:
First and foremost, find a partner that you can trust. When evaluating potential partnerships, values such as trust and integrity should be high on the list of requirements. You need a partner that you can trust at every level to guide your IT team and organization down the right strategic path. An IT partner that operates with a true “trusted advisor” mentality will focus on understanding your business, identify the obvious and not so obvious needs of your IT infrastructure, and provide thoughtful recommendations and solutions with your organization’s best interest at heart in an effort to promote a long-term partnership. This thought leadership, and ultimately the trust that you build together, will enable you to make the best IT decisions to support your business goals.
Relevant technical expertise and experience are obvious must-haves when it comes to aligning your organization with the right IT partner. During the assessment and relationship building process, ask for references and case studies that pertain to some of the technologies or projects that your team needs assistance with. Take time to review their case studies and ask questions; reach out to a few references who have engaged with the IT partner being assessed to get honest feedback from leadership and technical engineers who have worked closely with them. Ask for engineering profiles so that you can get a glimpse into the type of technical talent employed by the company. Typically, these profiles include details related to an employee’s technical expertise, certification level, and project experience.
If your business is like most these days, trying to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of IT, you will want to choose a partner that is flexible in their approach. Flexibility may be one of the most underrated characteristics of an IT organization today. In this agile-based time of our industry, it is important that your IT department’s people, processes, and partners are able to remain flexible to support the wide-ranging business needs of the organization. You need an IT partner that knows and follows industry best practices but one that also has the ability and understanding to customize solutions to fit your organization’s business purpose and strategy.
It is also important to find a partner that has full-service capabilities and can provide assistance to your organization and IT team through multiple lines of business. While it is not realistic for an IT partner to be all things to all companies, it is reasonable to expect a partner to have the people and processes in place to help you with the full lifecycle of IT services. This lifecycle includes everything from the strategic roadmap and planning, product resale, professional project services, and around the clock managed services.
At the end of the day, there are many factors that go into choosing the best IT partner for your organization. As in any business relationship, values such as trust, integrity, and service should be high on the priority list of requirements. That said, do not discount the importance of finding a partner that is well versed in several different technology areas that align to your IT support needs and one that has a proven track record of being agile in this fast-paced industry of IT.
If you carefully consider the four key factors outlined above in your search for an IT partner, chances are high that you will find a partner that is passionate about understanding your business goals and strives to be an extension of your current IT team.