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Untangling the True Goals of IT Consulting

In the technology side of SMB world, things have gotten a little sideways. IT consultants seem to have strayed (for understandable reasons, I think), from the goal of serving people. Let me explain…

There is a symbiotic relationship between IT consulting and the SMB community. The SMB community can’t function at the highest level without IT consultants or some level of IT consulting services. This is because in nearly every case, it makes very little sense for SMBs to hire internally for every technical skill set they need. SMBs, like all business, depend greatly on the functionality and accessibility of their IT. Can they share their calendar with co-worker? Can they access a secured document in the cloud? Is the phone system up and available on Friday afternoon?

Likewise, many IT consultants exist entirely because of this need. Yet, the part many IT consultants have started to miss is that the true role of IT is to empower people, rather than the business itself. Because at this level of business operations, the people are the business.

Yet, this misunderstanding, although unfortunate, is also understandable. Here’s why:

Without question, today is the most interesting and exciting time in history to build and maintain the systems upon which business runs. Strangely, it can be almost intoxicating at times because building the systems for a business has become a creative endeavor as much as a technical one. Sharp, talented people can now separate themselves by their knowledge and skill, not only technically, but because of their own personal touch. That means making a measurable difference for a business is now based on skill and imagination. And that makes it a brand new world for many IT people.

Yet, for all the nuances, for all the skill and imagination, the goals of every IT team remain the same:

  1. Create efficiencies
  2. Generate measures of productivity
  3. Create competitive advantage for the business

And no matter what, all IT can do is create the systems and environment for people to make these goals a reality. Although there is no shame in the goal of empowering business, it is ultimately misguided. It is only a laser focus on people by the IT consultant that will create the desired results for the business.

This blog originally appeared on ‘The Business Technology Place‘ – a website and blog run by our very own, Joe Ulm. Joe is a Senior Business Development Manager at Information Technology Professionals. Read this article, and more on his website.

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