Lots of people that call themselves consultants do things that; we would not personally consider consulting. We think consulting is when you have some kind of special expertise; come by through hard struggle and learning; that you transfer to a group of people, in a relatively short period of time, and in a way that is unique for that group. We also think that consulting involves addressing particular issues faced by that group.
Different reasons why we are called in:
To gain external, more objective advice and recommendations
To gain access to the consultants' specialized expertise
Simply as temporary help during a one-time project, where the hiring of permanent employees is not required
To outsource all or part of the IT services
We draw from a highly specialized body of knowledge that is sufficiently obscure so as to be understood only by a small cadre of specialists. Like doctors, lawyers, and engineers, we spend a significant part of our working lives explaining complex technical subject matter to clients. Our clients rely on the advice we give to be successful in their businesses. We also have a responsibility to provide complete and correct advice.
Yet we know, from working with auto mechanics, plumbers, dentists, and tax advisors, that technical expertise alone doesn’t make one a good and trusted advisor. We’ve all had experiences with both good and poor consultants. Both good and poor advisors may be equally competent in their subject matter. It’s their ability to give personalized advice that influences the client’s perception of the experience and the ultimate success of the relationship.
Our Five basic principles of IT consulting are:
Focus on the Relationship: Understanding the personality and expectations of client, client organization and all other stakeholders
Clearly Defined Role: Defined roles and responsibilities for both clients, other stakeholders and consulting team
Visualize Success: Helping the client see the end at the beginning
You Advise, They Decide: Client is the best person to decide
Be Oriented Towards Results: Ensuring that the solution addresses end user concerns, user training, implementation and maintenance constraints
These five rules of advising provide a foundation for good consultant-client relations. The fundamental "good manners" of the advisory relationship prepare us to engage with our clients in a way that engenders trust and mutual respect, and that minimizes the chances for misunderstanding and unrealized expectations.