May 27, 2019 | Lynn Tran

Top Strategies for Hiring the Right IT Firm

As any company scales, finding the right IT consulting firm is vital for a smooth and optimized IT landscape. But given the high failure rate of large-scale IT projects, choosing a firm can also be a risky endeavor. According to a 2017 report from the Project Management Institute (PMI), 14% of all IT projects fail. In addition, of the projects that didn’t fail, 31% didn’t meet their goals, 43% exceeded their initial budgets, and 49% were late. These statistics don’t even account for projects that were completed on time and within budget, but produced deliverables that were unusable or that didn’t meet expectations. To help you maximize your chances of success on future IT projects, we put together the top things you should consider when hiring an IT firm.

Small firms with big reputations

Big consulting firms are well-known and reputable for a reason, but they may not be the best solution for small to medium businesses. Aside from being more affordable, smaller consulting firms may be more sympathetic to your business challenges than larger, more prestigious firms. When hiring an IT consulting firm, instead of focusing on brand or size, find out how satisfied clients similar to your business needs have been with their work. For example, you might want to dig deeper to find out answers to the following:

A proven track record of project management

While this may seem like a no-brainer, good project management can be hard to come by. A good project manager will be able to work with all stakeholders and end users to drive the project forward on time and within budget. In addition to making sure the project and expectations are clearly defined, they'll also ensure that what gets implemented actually make senses. While most consulting firms can easily claim to master project management, you may find client testimonials or other forms of direct feedback to be more trustworthy and reliable.

Communication throughout the project lifecycle

Too often in IT implementation projects, the people who are directly affected by the change don’t have the opportunity to provide their input until it’s too late. A good consulting firm will keep all lines of communication open throughout the project lifecycle in order to properly manage everyone’s expectations. They will communicate the right information in a timely manner so that the end result isn’t a surprise to anyone. When the appropriate team members have the opportunity to give their input at critical moments, it will limit the possibility of delaying the project to fix any issues that may come at the end.

Prepares you for change management

A good consulting firm will make sure all stakeholders are on the same page and work with everyone to shape what’s going to change. As a business owner, you might be leading the change, but employees who will be experiencing the change firsthand should feel like they had the opportunity to participate. For example, the right consulting firm will be able to tell you who should participate on the front and back end, making sure that every department is prepared and accepts the new system when it’s in place. These changes could include major updates to normal business processes and/or documentation, and you’ll want employee buy-in when it happens.

Knowing what to look for in an IT firm can lead to successful implementation and reassurance that it will happen. Instead of limiting your consulting options to brand names, budget, or word-of-mouth, there are other important factors you should consider, like a proven track record of project management, communication, and change management. Industry reviews can provide more confidence in the next firm you hire for an IT implementation project, as well as create more transparency in the field as a whole.

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