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Choosing the Right Consultant for Your Large-Scale Project

You want to install the latest and greatest systems, but you don’t seem to have enough time, the right expertise, or are being selective with which tech projects are being taken on. So, you put it off.

At first, it’s not a huge deal. Your team has created workarounds to make sure your business runs smoothly.

But over time, these patchwork fixes turn into inefficient and ineffective processes that affect your customer experience and, ultimately, your revenue.

So how do you avoid this trap? By hiring the right consultant.

Below, we’ll share exactly how to do that — from where to source potential consultants to what to look for in an interview to prepare you and your team for a successful consultant-led project. Let’s jump right in.

Where do you start?

Your first step should be reaching out to your trusted network. Ask colleagues at other companies if they’ve used consultants in the past. They are likely to give you their honest opinion and some great names to start researching.

You can also leverage a professional staffing firm such as Planet Technology. These companies often have deep connections with big-name consulting partners and staff many of their resources.

What should you look for in a consultant?

Once you have a few names, it’s time to schedule interviews. And there are several key things you should be looking for as you chat with potential candidates:

  • Communication style. It’s critical to choose a consultant you feel comfortable with. They should be direct and open in their communication and emphasize this as part of their project planning and execution process.
  • Certifications. You want your consultant to know their stuff. Make sure they have certifications to demonstrate their expertise, whether it’s in the ERP, ITSM, cloud, or big data space.
  • Experience. Certifications are great, but having more experience is better, particularly if the consultant has done this exact implementation for companies in your industry (or a similar one) that are relatively the same size. Ask for examples of recent successes to ensure they have the expertise you need.
  • Ability to ramp up quickly. There’s no way around it — consultants can’t be successful if they can’t quickly establish credibility and trust within your organization. Invite folks on your IT team to these interviews so they can assess consultants’ more technical knowledge. Ask questions about how the consultants learn about their client’s business processes. They should have a thorough discovery and requirements-gathering process.
  • Perform at a large scale. The consultant(s) you hire must have experience delivering an end-to-end project for big companies. Request references from other clients and actually contact them to make sure the consultants are as skilled at enterprise-level work as they say they are.
  • Focus on efficiency. You want a consultant who’s not going to waste your time and money. Ask them to share examples of how they finished projects on time and under-budget.

How can you prepare to onboard a consultant?

Consultants can do a lot, but they can’t do all the work for you. Before you onboard a consultant, you should:

  • Know exactly what you want. While this seems like a no-brainer, it will probably be the hardest and most time-consuming. You really need to think hard about what outcomes you want to achieve. If you can’t communicate what you want in a detailed way, consultants will struggle to meet your expectations.
  • Set the bar with metrics and success criteria. It’s tough to know whether your project was a smashing success without establishing KPIs. Add metrics, milestones, and deadlines to the SOW and set up meetings to evaluate progress throughout the project. 
  • Add provisions for non-performance. In a scenario where your consultant doesn’t work out, you don’t want to be left holding the bag. While you’ll hopefully never have to enforce them, having non-performance clauses will protect you financially.

Don’t fall behind your competition

Although choosing a consultant can feel overwhelming, hiring the right person can bring significant ROI to your business. By providing a well-defined engagement and engaging with an expert in a specific field, you can leverage the technology you might not think is available to you.

And with the right person in place, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Let Planet Technology help you get and stay ahead of your competition by finding the right consultant for your next project. Reach out to us today.

Photo Credit: Canva

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