What is IT Consulting? (& Why You Need It)

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IT consulting is delivered in several different ways.

Projects, break-fix encounters, emergency intervention, and lengthy discussions with technology professionals (you never end up hiring) all loosely qualify.

This article gives small and midsize businesses four great benefits of IT consulting along with some guidelines to ensure your managed service provider (MSP) faithfully executes this discipline.

If your MSP is as dedicated to growth as you are, dynamic consulting isn’t an option; it’s a prerequisite.

 

#1 – IT Consulting Delivers Subject Matter Expertise

Best-in-class MSPs have a concentrated employee roster of strategic and tactical resources:

  • vCIO
  • vCISO
  • Account Management
  • System Engineers
  • Network Engineers
  • System Architects
  • Project Managers

Each role requires continuous certifications and training on new and emerging solutions. These specialized skills are expensive to acquire, time-consuming, and impossible for your average mom-and-pop IT provider or in-house IT department to maintain.

I mention vCIO at the top for an important reason. This individual is a trusted advocate who makes objective recommendations based on your business goals.

They will consistently lead the charge to re-imagine IT systems to function as profit centers versus bottomless pits of expense and frustration.

Learn More: Five Questions to Ask an MSP

 

#2 – IT Consulting Improves IT System Coherence

MSPs make significant investments in a portfolio of Professional Services Automation (PSA), Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM), and reporting tools (IT Glue).

This combination not only provides granular visibility, quality control, and stability but also includes the ability to generate simple reports to help clients make sense of all the complex moving parts.

Your MSP should explain the interdependencies in plain English.

Since the MSP is acting as a de facto coach and accountability partner, there is a never-ending goal of simplifying the IT footprint. And they need compelling exhibits everyone can follow.

Does your C-suite have mastery of IT nuances to hold your MSP to account? What about IT employees?

Learn More: The Strategic Business Review

 

#3 – IT Consulting Strengthens Expense Management

A profitable (and trustworthy) MSP will not propose quick fixes. They’re also not going to be an order taker.

If you tell them you want a consumer-grade backup solution, they would be crazy to say “yes.” It will not be easy to support or adequate for today’s stringent regulation and compliance requirements.

Instead, they will drive conversations that promote a journey towards digital transformation.

Keywords in this dialogue include strategy, budgets, standards, business class, best practices, business continuity, disaster recovery, Single-Sign-On (SSO), public cloud, and cybersecurity frameworks.

Flimsy IT systems fail and ignite a tidal wave of user support requests. Flawed technology also leads to data breaches, downtime, and bad publicity.

Each scenario is much more expensive than running your business on systems designed for fault tolerance.

Would you rather focus on innovation or IT problem remediation?

Learn More: The Support Ticket Rabbit Hole

 

#4 – IT Consulting Drives Workforce Engagement

Except for industry-specific line of business applications (PSA and RMM), MSPs employ many of the same technologies they recommend to their clients.

If this doesn’t constitute a sincere endorsement, I don’t know what does.

They’ll also ensure it’s ready for prime time before letting their recommendations fly. Like you, MSPs need agile technology to stay competitive and make it as convenient as possible for their employees to excel.

Azure, Cisco, Datto, Microsoft 365, KnowBe4, Proofpoint, Veeam, and VMware are just some of the brand name ingredients blended to simplify, elevate, and secure the productivity of everyone in your organization.

MSPs will also change the vendor mix when warranted. As an industry, we engage with IT consultants and managed services firms who help us work more efficiently, so our clients can do the same.

There is a lot of competition in the MSP space for quality engineers. If we make our employees’ work lives smoother, more pleasant, and enriching, we don’t have to worry about turnover. We can also count on having much happier clients.

Does your team have the tools to succeed?

Learn More: Five Ways to Improve Morale

 

Next Steps?

Monitoring, managing, securing, and supporting IT business systems is challenging, especially if the arrangement lacks a significant consulting component.

Is your provider offering ongoing strategic guidance or just reacting to your requests? Is someone on your team doing way too much babysitting with your MSP?

The Integris team has decades of experience, and we are happy to provide a second opinion.

Jed is a Solution Advisor at Integris who has specialized in MSP solution development, sales, and marketing communications since 2003.

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