What is IT Consulting? (and Why You Need It)

What is IT Consulting? (and Why You Need It)



Jed Fearon

Solution Advisor, 17+ years of experience in MSP Solution Development, Sales and Marketing Communications

IT consulting is delivered in several different ways.

Projects, break-fix encounters, emergency intervention, and lengthy discussions with technology professionals (you never end up hiring) all loosely qualify.

The purpose of this article is to give small and midsize businesses four great benefits of IT consulting along with some guidelines to make sure your managed service provider (MSP) is faithfully executing this discipline.

If your MSP is as dedicated to growth as you are, dynamic consulting isn’t an option; it’s a prerequisite. Each of the following could be thought of as an advisory continuum with dividends.

1 – Subject Matter Expertise

Best in class MSPs have a concentrated employee roster of strategic and tactical resources:

  • vCIO
  • Account Management
  • System Engineers
  • Network Engineers
  • System Architects
  • Project Managers

Each role requires continuous certifications and training on new and emerging solutions. These specialized skills are expensive to acquire, time-consuming, and impossible for your average mom and pop IT provider or in-house IT department to maintain.

I mention vCIO at the top for an important reason. This individual serves as a trusted advocate to make objective recommendations based on your business goals.

They will consistently lead the charge to re-imagine IT systems so they function as a profit center versus a bottomless pit of expense and frustration.

Learn More: Five Questions to Ask an MSP

2 – IT System Coherence

MSPs make big investments is a portfolio of Professional Services Automation (PSA), Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM), and reporting tools (IT Glue).

This combination not only provides granular visibility, quality control, and stability, but also includes the ability to generate simple reports to help clients make sense of all the complex moving parts.

The interdependencies need to be broken down into plain English.

Since the MSP is acting as a de facto coach and accountability partner, there is a never-ending goal of simplifying the IT footprint. And they need compelling exhibits everyone can follow.

Does your C-suite have sufficient mastery of IT nuances to hold your MSP to account? What about IT employees?

Learn More: The Strategic Business Review

3 – Expense Management

A profitable (and trustworthy) MSP is not going to sell you a bunch of quick fixes. They’re also not going to be an order taker.

If you tell them you want a consumer-grade backup solution, they would be crazy to say “yes.” It will not be easy to support, sustainable, or adequate for today’s stringent regulation and compliance requirements.

Instead, they are going to drive conversations that promote a journey towards digital transformation. Keywords in this dialogue include strategy, budgets, standards, business-class, best practices, business continuity, disaster recovery, Single-Sign-On (SSO), public cloud, and cybersecurity frameworks.

Flimsy IT systems fail and ignite a tidal wave of user support requests. Flawed technology also leads to data breaches, downtime, and bad publicity.

Each scenario is much more expensive than running your business on systems that are designed to be fault tolerant.

Would you rather focus on innovation or IT problem remediation?

Learn More: The Support Ticket Rabbit Hole

4 – Workforce Engagement

With the exception of industry-specific line of business applications (PSA and RMM), MSPs employ a lot of the same technology they recommend to their clients.

If this doesn’t constitute a sincere endorsement, I don’t know what does.

They’ll also make sure it’s ready for prime time before letting their recommendations fly. Like you, MSPs need agile technology to stay competitive and make it as convenient as possible for their employees to excel.

Azure, Cisco, Datto, Microsoft 365, KnowBe4, Proofpoint, Veeam, and VMware are just some of the brand name ingredients blended to simplify, elevate, and secure the productivity of everyone in your organization.

MSPs will also change the vendor mix when warranted. As an industry, we engage with IT consultants and managed services firms who help us work more efficiently, so our clients can do the same.

There is a lot of competition in the MSP space for quality engineers. If we make our employees’ work lives smoother, more pleasant, and enriching, we don’t have to worry about turnover. We can also count on having much happier clients.

Does your team have the tools they need to succeed?

Learn More: Five Ways to Improve Morale

Next Steps?

Monitoring, managing, securing, and supporting IT business systems is a challenge, especially if the arrangement lacks a meaningful consulting component.

Is your provider offering ongoing strategic guidance or just reacting to your requests? Is someone on your team doing way too much babysitting with your MSP?

The ProviDyn team has decades of experience, and we are happy to provide a second opinion.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also like some of the related content in our free eBook.