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When Should I Hire a Computer Consultant?

Brandon Greene
Posted by Brandon Greene on Jul 20, 2021 11:00:00 AM

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Your company is growing and developing. During this journey, there will come a time where you are really going to need to hire an IT consultant in most cases. A computer consultant can help your business’s IT team manage the software and systems used to make your business operate at its best. In order to stay ahead of the competition, it’s vital to ensure that your company has the best systems in place for maximum success. An excellent computer consultant can help you achieve this.

Are you on the fence about hiring a computer consulting company to provide your business with a computer consultant service? Does IT network consulting seem like too hefty of an investment? In this guide, we’ll explore exactly what a computer consultant is, what they do, why you need them, and when you should hire them. Let’s start by breaking down exactly what a computer consultant is.

What is a Computer Consultant?

A computer consultant, also known as an IT consultant, is an individual who assists businesses and organizations with computer systems and the issues associated with them. Computer consultants can be hired as freelancers or via a consulting firm. These professionals have a wide range of abilities and often start in various positions, such as networking specialists, database managers, programmers, etc. A computer consultant can assist your business with troubleshooting, new software installation, system integration and migrations, and much more. Think of them as a jack of all trades when it comes to business computer systems and the many problems that might occur from using them.

What Does a Computer Consultant Do?

A computer consultant performs a very wide range of tasks. Their main jobs involve assisting businesses and their staff with program troubleshooting and repair. However, that’s far from all they do. Your average computer consultant will offer the following services:

  • Manage hardware design.
  • Install custom operating systems or out-of-the-box operating systems.
  • Integrate custom or out-of-the-box software into your existing system.
  • Detailed documentation for future reference.
  • Perform software and computer hardware diagnostics.
  • Troubleshoot operating systems.
  • Troubleshoot internet connection and network issues.
  • Respond to complex software and hardware questions.
  • Remove malicious or dangerous software from your system, including malware, viruses, etc.
  • Optimize your email systems.
  • Track work performance and software benefits.
  • Troubleshoot problems with your computer and network systems.
  • Program all of your individual devices to link together via secure password systems.
  • Fine-tune programming tools like SQL, memory allocation, disk space, and resource allocation.
  • Customer service.
  • Regularly follow up with your business to ensure that the problem has been resolved. Computer consultants will typically do this via phone or email, whichever you prefer.
  • Offer computer support, which includes troubleshooting issues that end users are experiencing.
  • Implement a reliable recovery system.
  • Implementation of different electronic and digital products.
  • Provide thorough, unbiased advice on software and hardware decisions, as well as individual decisions throughout the company in the context of IT. Example: Should we migrate to the cloud? Which is more ideal for our business, Linux or Windows?

Now that we understand what a computer consultant is and what they do, let’s break down exactly why they are such valuable assets to a business

Why Should I Hire a Consultant?

There are many reasons out there for hiring a computer consultant - no matter what size your business is or what niche you might be in.

They Can Make Unbiased Decisions For You

Computer consultants know the ins and outs of tech. They’ll be able to take a look at your existing computer systems and make educated decisions on the next steps you can take without bias. You already know that your company needs to change something in order to grow. The next step is simply looking into computer consultants and consulting firms. 

They Have Key Skills that are Valuable for Virtually Any Technical Business

Computer consultants are business-savvy, understand how to take business needs and translate them into technical requirements, can assess the abilities and value of a potential vendor, and have top-notch project management skills. Even if you have an excellent IT team in place, your employees may lack a fresh perspective or the specific skill set that makes a computer consultant so valuable. Just as well, the cost to temporarily hire a computer consultant is quite low compared to the costs accrued by hiring an in-house employee that might lack the right experience and expertise you need.

You’re in a Very Temporary Situation

Let’s say that you have an amazing computer system and IT department in place. Your business is thriving. However, you’ve run into a single but potentially devastating problem. This is the first and potentially only time you will ever run into this issue. Is it really necessary to hire a number of permanent full-time employees to take on the project needed to fix this issue? That really might not be the case. An excellent alternative solution would be to hire a freelance computer consultant or consulting agency to take on the problem for you on a short-term basis. Not only will this save you money, but it will also save you a lot when it comes to the amount of time and energy spent on the hiring process for a full-time professional.

An Outside Perspective Can Be Vital

It’s obvious that seeking help or advice from a professional is the best course of action when you’ve reached a roadblock with your computer system. Outsourcing a computer consultant is far from a new concept. A computer consultant can give you a fresh perspective and excellent advice on your next steps that comes from expertise, experience, and knowledge of the tech industry. Without the advice of such an expert, it can be very easy to make a bad decision or stick to old-school methods that do not scale well or yield good results. With a third-party consultant involved, you’ll be able to take advantage of their knowledge of technology as it quickly and continuously evolves.

With all of these use cases in mind, it’s worth noting that you may not always be in a position to hire a computer consultant. Perhaps you already have a top-notch IT team that can take care of the issues you have. Maybe you don’t have the resources available to hire a computer consultant at this stage of your startup. Regardless, there are a few key scenarios that are major signs that it is time to hire a computer consultant for your business.

What Should I Look for in a Computer Consultant?

Not all computer consultants are equally ideal for your unique needs. There are a couple of key things to look for when prospecting a freelancer or consulting firm.

Skills

We’ve mentioned all of the skills that a computer consultant can bring to the table. However, there are a few skills that really matter in the long run. Your chosen computer consultant should have experience with programming and computers in general. They should also be able to provide a complete analysis of your computer system, hardware, software, networks, and more. They should also have the skills to provide a complete end-to-end solution to a problem you are having, as well as the customer service and communication skills needed to explain their actions in simple terms and answer your questions.

Personality

Your chosen computer consultant should be friendly, have excellent people skills, can speak in plain English instead of just computer jargon, and have an actual interest in your business and computer needs. It’s vital for your consultant to be easy to work with and have great people skills, especially if they are going to be assisting an entire department or team within your business.

References

It might seem easy to hire the first computer consultant you see, but that could be a big mistake. Take the time to research your prospective computer consultant or agency’s list of references. Do they have reviews of their services online? Are their references happy with the work they’ve done? Conducting a thorough background check is key when looking into a computer consultant to hire and evaluating their skills and overall performance.

When Should I Hire a Consultant?

There are quite a few different scenarios in which you’ll need to hire a new IT or computer consultant, regardless of business size or industry niche.

You Don’t Know Which Direction to Take

On the fence about buying a certain operating system or brand for your company phones? Are you unsure whether you should conduct a full system migration to the cloud or just use cloud storage software? Perhaps you’re completely lost in a sea of potential programs and vendors for a particular use case in your business? These are all common problems that business owners face in an increasingly tech-heavy world. A computer consultant will be able to sit down with you and flesh out exactly what your pain points and use cases actually are, so you can make a simple and intuitive decision that you are confident in.

Your Teams are Battling Too Many Issues

It’s no secret that computer systems, even those of very high quality, break down at some points. One day one of your main hard drives might fail, and the next day you might find a vital group of files is corrupted. Programs stop work. Networks become unreliable. It can start with the tiniest problem and escalate into a system-wide roadblock that keeps your staff from doing their jobs. Without the assistance of a computer consultant who has excellent technical experience, your computer systems can become more of a problem than a solution for your teams. By hiring a computer consultant, you’ll be able to solve these issues as fast as possible. To avoid extended downtime, a great computer consultant will also provide bandaid solutions in the meantime so your teams don’t lose out on productivity.

The Technology is Getting Overwhelming

The SaaS and general tech industries are massive. For every potential problem or need, there are hundreds of vendors, tools, programs, and solutions to choose from. This can certainly get overwhelming, especially as new and improved solutions continue to pop up. There are simply too many options available, and business owners might find themselves in a pickle when it comes to making the right choices for their business. A computer consultant will always have their thumb on the pulse of the tech industry and can recommend the best software and application to help you run your business.

Data Concerns

Have you found yourself worrying about your data lately? When it comes to our personal devices, people tend to save photos and personal documents to their online storage, laptops, mobile devices, and backup drives. However, while this may not be a big deal to a consumer, it is definitely a big deal for a business. As your company scales, you’re going to need to save more data at an increasing rate. A computer consultant can assist you in monitoring when data is saved to ensure that nothing gets lost.

You’ve Been On Your Own During a Crisis in the Past

Have you been stuck with a computer virus that jeopardized your business systems? Perhaps your network was compromised, or you’ve faced a very significant breach that impacted your brand reputation? These awful situations are unfortunately common ones, and many business owners have found themselves alone with no one there to assist them in getting out of hot water because of security issues. A computer consultant can get familiar with your system and be there when you run into issues like these-- thus saving you a lot of time, a ton of money, and potentially the downfall of your business.

Topics: IT Services

Brandon Greene

Brandon Greene

  • bgreene@aopinc.com

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