Plenty of people claim to be different types of technical consultants, none of which provide real help to businesses, often leaving the question of “what is IT consulting” unanswered. Because this job title is so vague, it can be difficult to determine whether your company needs to hire an individual in this role.
Aside from explaining what an IT consultant does, we’d like to take a look at the different types of IT consultants, the benefits of using them, and their costs. Keep reading for the information you need in order to make a decision about whether IT consulting services would be beneficial to your business!
What Does an IT Consultant Do?
The type of services that an IT consultant provides can range and vary from each individual and company. However, generally speaking, an IT consultant will analyze a company’s IT infrastructure to help them learn how it can better meet their business needs and goals.
In addition to analyzing IT infrastructure, a consultant might help with implementing the use of new servers, upgrading computer hardware, performing software upgrades, building data centers, transitioning their clients to cloud computing, and providing insight into disaster recovery planning.
An IT consultant may also provide technical support and advisory services to help business owners and managers overcome difficulties with technology, ultimately improving the overall understanding of how their technical systems operate.
Types of IT Consultants
Most IT consultants will perform multiple roles that fall under their title, yet some will be more specialized than others in certain areas. Common areas for IT consultants to specialize in include:
- Management - consultants may primarily deal with the management of a company’s IT resources and how these resources can be used to improve business operations
- Security - unprotected IT systems can leave a business vulnerable to cyberattacks and data leaks. Consultants specializing in the security of IT infrastructure will minimize the chances of these issues while helping to protect sensitive information
- Networking - an IT system must be able to communicate with other components within the infrastructure. An IT networking consultant will help to ensure that all connections are functional and fast.
Consultants usually fall into either the more technical side of IT or the business management side of IT. The technical side of IT would include networking and security while the business management side of IT focuses on how companies can better use their technical resources to further their company’s gains.
The Benefits of Using an IT Consulting Company
Most of the time, it is less expensive to hire an individual IT consultant than it is to hire an IT consulting company. Unfortunately, doing so has several drawbacks that an IT consulting company can account for and mitigate.
One such drawback is the fact that an individual IT consultant is only one person and may become overwhelmed with the number of IT issues that a single business has. They’re also limited to their current knowledge, whereas an IT consulting firm will have access to several people’s knowledge in the event of an extremely tough IT problem.
Individuals also require periodic time off - this can leave your business vulnerable to cyberattacks and data leaks that may cost thousands to repair.
An IT consulting company has the resources you need, regardless of who goes on vacation or takes leave. You can also count on the fact that a consulting company has some of the best, most experienced individuals in the area that can take care of your business regardless of the time of day or which consultant is available to help.
What Does Hiring an IT Consultant Cost?
No matter how you look at it, hiring an IT consultant isn’t cheap. An independent IT consultant will likely cost around $75-115 per hour. Choosing to hire an IT consulting firm will likely range from $80-125 or more per hour.
If you choose to hire an IT consulting firm, it is possible that consulting services will be offered under a monthly plan or on a pay-as-you-go basis. If a monthly consulting plan is offered, it is usually a better value for your money and will give you access to almost unlimited services.
Hiring an in-house IT consultant will usually run a business around $40,000 per year. This cost is likely to increase based on the amount of experience the consultant has as well as how large your IT systems are. If you choose to hire a highly trained consultant with tons of experience, the yearly cost will likely jump to around $50,000 per year.
You will also have to consider the cost of any benefits offered, including health insurance, monthly stipends, paid time off, and any retirement plans as these often are less costly than paying a higher salary but will still increase the overall costs.
Finding the Right IT Consulting Company for Your Business
Now that you have a little more information to answer the question of “what is IT consulting,” you will have to find the best IT consultant to meet the needs of your company. Opting to hire an IT consulting firm as opposed to hiring an independent consultant or in-house staff will likely be your best option.
With this said, you’ll ideally find a company that offers either cost-friendly hourly rates or even a monthly service plan.
Additionally, you’ll want to seek companies that have the experience you need to offer insight and advisory services in regard to your ongoing and future IT projects.
At High Point Networks, we fir this bill! Our professional IT consulting staff has years of experience that can help improve your IT systems and how it relates to your business. We also can offer technical assistance that will better the overall operations of your infrastructure, saving you money in the long-run.
If you’d like to learn more about our IT consulting pricing, give us a call today!