Technology Consultants Are Still Necessary

April 22, 20160 Comments

In today’s society, we are more connected than ever. We have all kinds of technological devices – Smartphones, Tablets, Laptops, Desktops, All-in One’s, etc.  Along with all these devices comes a lot of confusion on what is best.

Technology Consultants by EfficioThe challenge is, as a small business owner, how do you know what to purchase; especially when a new device comes to market (seems like) every day?

It seems like everyone has a different opinion. There are advertisements everywhere with very low prices, deals, and don’t even get started on the online stores and their offers.  So how do you know which is truly the better buy? You want to make a good investment, yet it can be hard to begin.

So you ask for help.

Maybe your uncle is in the technology business and you have leaned on him for guidance, but your business has grown and you can no longer wait for Uncle Fred to fix the problem in his spare time-this is a very common situation for small business owners.

If you’re not a do it yourself-er, hiring a technology consultant will save you time, frustration, money, and help you better leverage your technology investments.  Technology is a complex thing, but continues to become a crucial aspect of remaining competitive and profitable for all businesses.

The technology consultant is to technology just like an attorney is to legal issues, and as your business strategist is to the success of your business.  Having a technology consultant frees you to focus on running your business vs. figuring out how to integrate, and implement the right technology solutions.

When selecting your consultant, insist on a complete approach to your technology solution, not just the network, not just the desktops, not just the software, and not just the Internet. Also, look for a consultant who uses remote technologies. That is, the consultant can remotely connect to your network and administer it without having to send someone on-site each time.  And most importantly, look for a company that practices more preventative maintenance than repair.

Here are a couple of tips to begin gathering prospects and ultimately selecting your technology consultant:

  • Ask people you know for the name of a consultant they use.
  • Search the Internet for consultants in your area.
  • Don’t forget about the good ol’ phone book (yes they still exist).
  • Make a list of about five consultants to interview over the phone.
  • Select at least three to meet in person or video conference.
  • Have all of them submit a proposal based on helping, and implementing an initial solution.

The final step in making a decision about a consultant is to see a concrete proposal for the project.

  • Ask the potential consultants to come up with a work plan for the project. Keep in mind that if the consultant comes up with a proposal that is full of technical jargon, ask for an explanation in terms you can understand especially in terms of the budget.
  • Once you’ve interviewed the consultants, check their references, the determining factor should be how you feel about them. Finally, pick your choice and put the budget number in the technology budget you created.
  • Make sure you only receive what you need at this time.  Don’t spend thousands of dollars on things that are just bells and whistles and that you won’t use for some time. You need to get up and running first then you can expand as you see fit.

A good technology consultant is your best bet for making wise purchases for technology. They help you through the jungle of what to purchase, where you should spend a little extra and where not to waste your dollars. They also help you when you are in trouble and minimize the impact of computer problems on your business.

Be wary of those that will come out and do a full technical audit and make recommendations for free. Would you trust a physician who would give you a physical and not charge you something? You generally get what you pay for. Everyone has to make their money somehow. Those that don’t charge for advice, usually are making their money through inflated hardware pricing and not because you truly need ABC equipment.

Don’t just focus on the hourly rate. A technician that charges $60.00 per hour but takes three times as long as a technician that charges $150.00 per hour is no bargain. The average hourly rate in Charlotte, NC for computer consulting is $150-160 per hour. (This assumes a certified organization with multiple technicians.)

Check recent references. This industry changes very fast. What worked last year is old news. You want a company that is keeping up to date with the latest technology so that they can make long range plans for you.

In short, technology consulting is a great investment in your growing business. It makes a difference between a company who is thriving and using technology to the fullest and one who is treading water.

Don’t you want your company to be the best it can be?

Your Transmogrifyer,

Sherese Duncan

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