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Notes > Professional Practice > IT Consultancy

An Information Technology Consultant needs to be able to relate to clients. The consultant must must strive to understand the client's perception of the problem. This will enable the consultant to understand what the client actually wants but also whether the client actually has the correct view i.e. is the system that the client wants actually the system that they need.

Consultants are brought in to companies or organisations due to various reasons:

  • Consultants have expert knowledge
  • They have applied experience in particular fields
  • Provide objectivity with a fresh perspective
  • Consultants are highly skilled professionals who (should) have the ability to deliver quicker than others

Before a company brings in a computer consultant they need to consider both the positive and negative factors.

Computer consultancy does not have to originate from an external entity. Internal consultancy can occur in very large organisations who have a certain number of highly skilled experts who move around the business acting as consultants for departments within the organisation. Internal consultancy has some advantages over external consultancy, one of which is the fact that external consultants are not experienced in the running and day to day operation of the client's organisation. This of course could be viewed as a positive factor especially if the client wants to break away from the current system as it is not meeting the company's requirements.

A consultant's job involves many stages. They need to analyze the current system (if any) and formulate a good solution for the client. Project planning then takes place which involves the initiation and management of the system implementation. The computer consultant is responsible for managing the inevitable changes that will occur as the company experiences the transition between the old and new system. The consultant must also support the learning of the new system by staff.

For a consultant-client relationship to work, the client must be willing to put faith in the consultant and accept the solution provided. Even before this though, they must fully accept that there is a problem that requires a solution. Effective two-way communication is also essential.

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