How To Choose An IT Service Management Consulting Partner

Posted by Rob Swingle  I  January 22, 14

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If you’re struggling to manage business and IT cooperation within your company, or if you don’t have the necessary IT resources in house, you’ve made the right decision in hiring an IT Service Management (ITSM) Consulting Partner.

But now that you’ve made the choice, you'll find that there are a lot of options available and that it can be difficult deciding what the best fit is for your organization. In this article, we’ve highlighted the 7 most important factors to consider while choosing an ITSM Consulting Partner.

1. Access and Communication:

Your ITSM Consulting Partner should be someone that you can trust to be there for you when you're having problems. As such, you should choose a company that is easily accessible and communicates with you consistently and effectively. This is especially important if they are handling your company’s IT resources and if you are frequently in need their updates/expertise. After all, what good is a partner if you can’t even reach them?

2. Response Time To Issues:

In many cases, problems arise that may require urgent attention. Even if that’s not the case, it’s important to know that your ITSM Consulting Partner is able to quickly and efficiently meet your needs.

Remember that you are hiring an external party to speed up your problem solving processes while simultaneously increasing efficiency. It wouldn’t make sense to work with an ITSM Consulting Partner that tends to have slow response times.

3. Shared ownership and accountability, and a commitment to success:

When considering a consulting company, be sure to take into scrutinize their accountability policies. A good consulting service should be committed to your success, and provide you with guarantees and reassurances of their quality support.

You should be able to trust that your consultants are giving you advice based on data, best practices, and a lot of research. If your consultants are not confident enough in their work to be accountable for it, then perhaps you should not place your trust in them.

Overall, you should feel like their consulting resources have the same level of urgency and accountability for deliverables as you do. You’re going to be working hand-in-hand, as a team. Just as good team ethics dictate, all members have to be equally involved and committed to the success of the project.

4. Technical expertise:

Besides the time-proven expertise, it’s very important for consultants to have the industry-accepted technical certifications to legitimize their knowledge level. This could be in terms of college degrees, certifications, on-the-job training, or other educational resources.

Keep in mind that many consultants may be stronger in one area and weaker in the other, though that doesn’t necessarily make them incompetent. Still, when looking for a remarkable consultant, look for both technical accreditation and proven expertise. Ideally, they will have both.

If all else fails, choose a consultant whose background is tailored to your company’s specifications. If you need an IT Service Management Consultant with a more technical experience, look for those specific credentials. If, however, you prefer a time-tested consultant, look for experience.

5. Cost:

When we start talking about cost, there are two things to consider. First and foremost, you must always compare your consultants’ rates to their main competitors. Costs should be set at an hourly rate, and you should be able to estimate before hiring, roughly how many hours you require a professional for.

Secondly, it is preferable that they are located near you. Consulting may require onsite effort, and depending on your services, it may be heavily needed. To save up on traveling costs and time spent between locations, a local consultant might be better for your needs.

That being said, if you’re not going to require heavy onsite travel, then it is important for the consultant to be able to work well remotely. They should be self-disciplined and able to communicate effectively across distance and time zones. Otherwise you might find yourself with miscommunications, delayed response times, and stunted progress.

6. Accurate Estimates (Both Time And Money):

Before selecting a company, you have to make sure it’s pricing falls within your budget. To do this, it’s best to request a quote estimate before making a deal. Use the available resources such as the website, information booklet, cost calculator, or a phone call to the company itself. Though this might seem like a lot of research, it may end up saving you a decent amount of money in the long run.

Keep in mind that it’s not always just about the price, but the whole package, and in some cases it’s better to pay more for higher quality. Sometimes companies can undercut a competitor with a shortened project plan that will offer you the same work done in less time and with a lesser budget. If that plan is not accurate, however, then the quality of work suffers, or the cost increases due to overages.

At the end of the day, you should make sure that you’ve considered all the possible aspects of the company’s plans and pricing before you make your final decision.

7. Flexibility

Things change in the business world, and if a change is needed, the consulting company should have the ability to add more people to a project if it grows, or to remove its people if it shrinks.

Because the consulting firm is the party that will be dealing with the workforce hiring, firing, and management or your project, you’ll be saved the headache of any unpleasant negotiations.

A consulting company with flexibility is optimized for turnaround success, in that it adapts to changes while maintaining or increasing the desired level of efficiency. Of course, this might come at an increase of cost, but for the sake of maintaining quality, it is a necessary condition. 

All in all, you should feel like your ITSM Consulting Partner understands your company and its needs and requirements. Keep this checklist at hand during your research and keep searching until you find the right match.

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Tags:  xMatters, HP Service Manager, Bomgar, Cherwell, ServiceNow