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What kinds of IT functions can be outsourced to an IT consultant?

When comparing IT consulting firms, New York City enterprises are often looking for expertise in IT helpdesk, IT security, and technology strategies. However, almost any IT function you can imagine can be outsourced to the right managed IT partner. Some enterprises use outsourced IT exclusively, while others maintain a streamlined internal team.

It’s important to select a company with robust service offerings that can scale with you as your IT needs change over time.

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How long does it take for IT consulting firms to get started?

Any managed services contract should begin with a complete evaluation of your needs. This fact-finding phase can take anywhere from a few days to a month depending on the complexity of your current operations. Discussions should take place a high level to ensure all the services you need will be available to you from Day 1.

Once you have signed a contract, a good managed IT firm integrates seamlessly into your enterprise. Investment in new hardware and software should be minimal, as modern IT providers can extend your capabilities with cloud-based services on demand. Likewise, all costs and time investment related to IT staff training should remain the consultant’s responsibility.

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What guarantees do I have that an IT consultant is right for me?

Reputable IT consultants should offer you several kinds of assurances that you’re getting the value you paid for. First and foremost, there is the Service Level Agreement (SLA) – a written guarantee of service uptime and feature availability. Regular reporting will give you the insight you need to be certain that SLA commitments are honored.

When starting out with a new IT provider, it’s a good idea to investigate their testimonials, references, and industry affiliations. To ensure your needs will be met, a company should already have a proven track record with clients like you. Doing some research beforehand will help you avoid any misunderstandings or surprises later on.

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Are IT consulting firms cheaper than doing it all in-house?

The majority of NYC enterprises will find a consultant better for their budget than a comparable in-house IT team. It’s notoriously time-consuming to hire for the latest IT skills in the New York market. It can take a year or even longer to architect an in-house team, which leaves you with payroll, training costs, and other overhead. On top of that, you have to be concerned with on-boarding.

A consulting firm provides better results both in day-to-day operational costs and in opportunity costs, letting you capitalize on emerging trends right away. Many companies get started with IT consulting due to unexpected, rapid growth. If you need to launch a new office or expand your capabilities fast, consulting gives a way of doing it without adding financial drag to your business.

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Will my IT helpdesk perform better when I use an IT consulting company?

Calling the IT helpdesk usually isn’t high on anyone’s list of favorite things to do. When you choose to outsource, you can expect a significant improvement in helpdesk performance. The right IT consulting company will bring you helpdesk experience and a proven methodology, including operational metrics that will foster continuous process improvement.

Though there’s always some ramp-up time, you should expect noticeable growth in IT helpdesk KPIs within 90 days. Calls should be getting faster, with more problems resolved correctly the first time. Likewise, satisfaction among your helpdesk’s customers should rise noticeably. In the end, you get consistent helpdesk delivery without having to worry about service rep turnover.

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Is managed IT the same thing as off-shoring?

Some executives are wary of the idea of a remote team, especially if its members are based in another country. Naturally, some managed IT firms use off-shore team members and some don’t.

Regardless, every member of the consulting organization should be committed to your success.

A clear contract with SLAs and communication expectations will ensure excellence throughout the operation – from anywhere in the world. Monthly and quarterly contact with your lead consultant or project manager will also help to keep things on track.

Cliff Justice, a principal at top consulting firm KPMG, advocates the concept of an Extended Global Enterprise – where central management combines with broadly-distributed expert personnel. He points out that 90% of organizations use some form of shared services or outsourcing in IT.

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Should I maintain an in-house IT team while I use an IT consultant?

Many enterprises find they can meet their typical IT needs entirely through managed IT services. However, this depends upon your requirements. Small and mid-sized businesses using an IT consultant sometimes maintain a handful of experts in technology issues central to their value proposition.

It is not unusual for mid-sized enterprises to maintain a Chief Information Officer or Chief Technology Officer even if they intend to operate most of their IT infrastructure with outside assistance. This person owns the consultant relationship and optimizes the IT service package as necessary.

In this way, C-level executives and the Board can rest assured there is an internal stakeholder who understands the company's needs fully and can advocate for them to the outside professionals. This is especially common with NYC enterprises that want to demonstrate rigor and stability to investors.


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How can an IT consultant help me with technology strategy?

No matter what industry you're in, IT shouldn't be isolated from the rest of your business. It's vital to ensure your team has the technology resources necessary to push growth and revenue to new heights. With that in mind, IT consulting firms can often serve as your designated technology future-looker.

One of the major advantages of an experienced IT consultant is the ability to connect capabilities to strategy. If you are planning the launch of a new product, location, or other initiative that will call for new IT tools, your consultant can architect a custom solution exactly when you need it.

Naturally, this depends to a large extent on your IT partner keeping up with the latest changes in areas like the Internet of Things, online security, and cutting-edge innovations like quantum computing.


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Is it safe to leave IT security in the hands of a consultant?

IT security is a sensitive subject that sits near the heart of your success, no matter what customers you serve or what offerings you have. As a result, there are several layers of protection to ensure that any reputable consultant accesses your resources only in the ways you intend.

Before an IT consultancy is fully integrated with your network, some preliminaries are necessary. Although all IT consultants have certain elements in common, your legal team should be in the loop on the final contract review so all access to your resources is delineated in writing.

Throughout your entire consulting engagement – and beyond – you should be able to request complete, written information about how and when internal resources were accessed by outside personnel. This can take time to compile, but it should be available within 30 days.

The vast majority of enterprises discover that delegating security to a consultant is an important step in reducing their overhead and cutting through the confusion that modern IT can sometimes create. Although your staff should still practice basic data security, password hygiene, and so on, you no longer have to worry about maintaining the expertise necessary to fend off determined cybercriminals.

Mistakes can sometimes happen, but the odds of intentional misuse of your resources by an IT consultant are vanishingly small – as long as you choose a proven and trusted enterprise to work with.

In 2016, Ponemon Institute determined that the average total cost of losing sensitive corporate or personal data is approximately $4 million. Consultants safeguard you against both external antagonists and internal human error.


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What happens if I decide an IT consultant isn't right for me?

If you decide that you want complete control over all aspects of your IT, unwinding your service agreement with an IT consultant is simple. In general, all you need to do is submit a request in writing. Many contracts are renewed month-to-month, but some consultants offer long-term agreements.

On the date of your service termination, you'll return to internal IT resources. Any sensitive information on the consultant's system is deleted and hard copies, if applicable, returned to you. To make sure it all goes smoothly, a wind-down meeting should start the process.

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How much ROI can I expect from engaging an IT consultant?

Virtually all enterprises that engage an IT consultant will achieve some level of ROI within the first few weeks. It's impossible to predict ROI without knowing the details of your situation, but it is not unusual to secure a savings of 30%-50% on key IT expense areas. These include things like hardware, software, recruitment, and training IT personnel.

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What size of IT consultancy will be most effective for me?

Should you go large or small when it comes to a consultant? Many decision-makers are concerned larger IT consultants won't provide personalized service that adds real value to their bottom line. They might seek out smaller IT partners in hopes communication will be easier.

The truth is, smaller consultancies can deliver excellent technology and larger ones can rise to the occasion on service: Size doesn't say as much as reputation, testimonials, and case studies. When you interview prospective IT partners, be certain they have a record of consistent wins with clients like you.

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How does an IT consultant respond to a security breach at my NYC company?

When a data breach occurs on your network, time is of the essence. As a result, your consultant will respond based on a business continuity plan you determine in advance. A handful of basic metrics drive such a plan:

  • How quickly the breach is detected and the response begins;
  • The amount of time (in hours) it takes to restore essential functions;
  • The “set point” from which data is restored – measured in days.

In most cases, your company leadership sets the broad parameters and the consultant manages the details. It's crucial to ensure the rest of your IT services are aligned with your plan – for example, regular data backups are necessary to ensure an optimal set point for data restoration.


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I am in a regulation-heavy industry. Can IT consulting firms help with compliance?

Regulatory compliance is a major cost center in industries like pharmaceuticals and finance – the latter is the largest sector for IT spending. In Thompson Reuters' 2017 Cost of Compliance Report, 53% of firms expected their compliance costs to grow over 12 months.

Luckily, much of compliance takes place in the context of your IT systems. A consultant with insight into your industry can propose systems to automate and validate key compliance processes. That can arrest compliance costs and reduce the likelihood of reportable incidents.


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How do I get started with IT consulting firms?

A complete evaluation of your current IT posture and person-to-person discussion of your expectations are two indispensable first steps. Before signing any agreement, ensure your preferred firm can deliver the services you need – and offer you complete, substantive answers to all your questions. As with any business relationship, IT consulting is more effective with trust and clear communication.

When all is said and done, IT consulting firms offer tremendous benefits no matter your industry or size category. Still, we know that IT consulting NYC businesses really trust has to be a cut above the rest. New York does things differently – and so do we.

To find out more, contact us today.


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