Not everyone in your IT department is an expert in a particular focus area, or has the specialized skills required for a project. Or, maybe, your organization has a fleet of technologists, but they don't have the bandwidth to hit everything on your checklist.
Whatever the case may be, you’re looking for third-party organization to help you tackle your next project. Not every professional consulting firm is a fit for your business. When trying to find a partner to complement your organization and improve your bottom line, consider this:
You may work with a savvy sales team to outline your project goals, but those people won't necessarily work on the project post-sale. Ask for transparency into the level of experience the consultants at the firm have.
Are they certified? What skill sets will be assigned to your project?
Make sure there is an experienced, dedicated team assigned to your project. Know who your project manager will be and what resources will be available to you before, during and after the project.
Most IT consulting firms can talk the talk. But can they walk the walk? Make sure that your potential partners have a successful track record, and can prove their worth. Ask, “Why should we select you over the competition?” Look for intelligent answers backed by proof of execution. Our advice: ask for reference from a past client.
Their Cost and Payment Structure
As simple as it sounds, it’s important to understand whether you’ll be paying for time and expenses or performance delivery. Many IT organizations charge per hour of work, which can get expensive quickly, especially if extra work is required to meet key milestones. Not to mention, when work is charged by the hour, it tends to encourage extra hours of work.
Ask for transparency into how you will be charged and how fees are determined. You don't want hidden costs to come back and bite you later.
Note: Blue Chip engages in fixed-price projects with milestone-based payment structures. Yes, that means that you’ll know just how much the project will cost you before it starts. You pay on what’s delivered, not the hours it takes to deliver it.
Are they excited to take on a challenge? Are they looking for ways to improve your business? Don't be afraid to partner with an organization that is willing to provide constructive feedback and recommendations for your company.
You're hiring a third-party to become better, more agile and profitable, right? So ask the question, "Name a time when you've had to challenge a client, and how did you go about doing it." The answer to the second part of the question will help you gauge their level of respect and tact.