The 5 Core Principles of IT Consulting

IT experts at Innovative Architects share their secret to success when it comes to business technology consulting

Contrary to popular opinion, information technology (IT) consulting doesn't mean we are only knowledgeable about computing. Technical expertise is really just one piece of the puzzle...

The entire experience involves a variety of skill sets that go well beyond computers. These can include “soft” skills like the ability to listen to suggestions and concerns, understand the needs of the clients, and guide projects without overwhelming stakeholders.

Here at Innovative Architects, we believe that successful IT consulting revolves around five basic principles. These principles, if followed, enable our IT professionals to deliver the best possible results in the most effective manner.

5 Basic Principles of IT

1. Focus on relationships

The relationship between the client and the provider is extremely critical in fostering the cooperation needed to create a finished solution that satisfies the customer's needs. We believe a considerable part of a project's planning phase should be reserved to understanding the client's activities, the environment they work in, their IT capabilities, and just plain getting to know them.

Clear discussion of client and stakeholder expectations are also a critical part of building a good relationship as it helps the end user understand the final outcome and the changes it will bring to their activities.

2. Definition of roles

Clearly defining the role for the consultant, client, and stakeholders is the second core principle of IT. The definition of clear roles is extremely important so that responsibilities are clearly defined and the process can run much smoother.

IT consultants should make sure their clients are aware of their active role in the project and that everyone understands who is responsible for decisions in each phase. The consultant also needs to clearly state the boundaries of his or her role, as well as those of the consulting team.

3. Success visualization

This third step is also part of the planning phase and entails helping clients visualize how the final product or solution will look. This is where results and final configurations are introduced. Potential benefits should be clearly defined, as well as how new processes will work and how any new equipment will be installed.

This important step will allow the client to keep the final outcome in mind as the project moves forward. It also allows the IT consultant to better manage their expectations. Having a clear end goal in mind will help both client and consulting teams move through the hardest phases of the project with minimal delay.

4. “You advise, they decide”

The fourth principle is clearly tied to the definition of roles. The IT consultant must always consider that the client knows best when it comes to certain decisions. The client will eventually have to work with the new IT system and therefore their input should be weighed heavily.

The IT consultant might believe that the solution proposed is the best one, but we believe the client is the most qualified person to understand the needs of his or her company since they’ll be the one to live with the final outcome.

The role of the consulting team is to advise, propose, and give technical guidance. But in the end, the team must also be able to step aside and provide clients with what they ask for. This is the essence of "You Advise, They Decide,” and is a fundamental approach we take at our IT consulting firm.

5. Orientation toward results

The final principle is “orientation toward results,” which essentially means that all actions must contribute to the realization of the end goal.

The role of our IT consulting team is to assist the client in every possible way, which may include training, implementation of the system, and suggestions on what to implement. The consultant should be ready to tailor suggestions to the expected results and take into consideration everything that will be required to get those results (training, communication, change, etc.…) .

Ready, Set, Break!

At Innovative Architects, we believe following these five principles will provide the best framework in which a team of IT consultants can move. These principles provide the guidance necessary to always remember what the scope of the project is and what the desired results are.

These principles are what make our IT consulting team successful, no matter the project. If you're looking for IT solutions for your company, keep these principles in mind when discussing your needs with a consulting firm. Ask about their core principles and compare.

Innovative Architects is an information technology consulting firm providing decades of experiences helping businesses of all sizes and specialties address their toughest technical challenges. Discuss your individual business' needs with our experienced Microsoft consultants today. Contact us for more information.