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Posts Tagged ‘IT Consultant’

IT Consultant – What to Look for When Hiring

Friday, May 20th, 2016

How do you find the right IT consultant for your business and specific technology needs? IT executives share their tips and advice. We also suggest five questions you should ask all prospective candidates.

Just because someone has the words “IT consultant” printed on a business card doesn’t mean he can solve your particular technology challenge or will work well with your IT or management team. So how do you find the right IT consultant, someone who understands your business and can address your specific IT need(s)?

IT Consultant

So before you even think about giving a third party access to your critical or sensitive information systems or software, check out what some of the top IT executives and consultants say. The experts outline their top eight tips for vetting an IT consultant — as well as the five questions you should ask all prospective third-party IT hires.

8 Tips From IT Execs and Consultants for Vetting an IT Consultant

1. Make sure the consultant has experience in your size and type of business. “An IT consultant who typically works with Fortune 500 companies will have a difficult time serving the needs of an SMB — and a consultant who has been in the finance industry his entire career may not have the experience needed for, say, a manufacturing shop,” explains IT consultant Morris Tabush, who runs Tabush, an IT support and consulting company. So when considering hiring an IT consultant, make sure the consultant has had experience — and success — working with companies not only in your industry but your size, he advises.

2. Find out what the consultant’s relationship to relevant vendors is. Are you looking for a consultant who is affiliated with a specific vendor (e.g., a certified partner) or someone who is independent?

“We have run into situations where clients received advice from an IT consultant, but didn’t realize the consultant had a [monetary] interest in the outcome,” notes Laura Pettit Rusick, the founder and president of OPT Solutions, Inc., an IT management services and technology optimization company. “That interest may be a commission, referral fee or the ability to staff additional employees from the consultant’s organization at the client.” In other words, the consultant may not have your best interest at heart.

That’s why she recommends that you ask consultants what their relationship is to any vendors before you sign a contract. “Do they resell a vendor’s products but want to provide software selection services? Do they receive commission when a particular vendor is selected? Is the consultant truly unbiased?”

3. Ask to see samples of their previous work. “Before hiring, ask to see candidates’ online portfolio and check them out on community sites like GitHub, Coderbits or CloudSpokes,” suggests Dave Messinger, CTO of CloudSpokes, a community of global developers. “It’s great to see the actual work done than [just] take a recommendation,” he says. While references are important, it’s good to “see what projects the candidates have completed in previous positions or on the side to really get a sense of the quality of their work.”

“Previous work — products [applications] they have built or worked on — is a very good indicator of what you should expect to get,” adds Alex Genadinik, who has been and hired IT consultants and is the founder of Problemio, which develops mobile business planning and marketing apps. Examining a consultant’s previous work will also show you “their strengths and weaknesses.”

4. Check credentials and affiliations. “Experience is a good start, but does the consultant have any industry certifications or accreditations (for example, are they a recognized solutions or consulting partner)?” asks Shell Black, the president ofShellBlack.com, a Salesforce consulting and professional services firm. “Also don’t be afraid to ask if their certifications are up to date,” he says. “Many software vendors require you to pass ongoing exams on the latest versions in order to remain certified. If the consultant hasn’t pursued such recognition, how deep can their expertise really be?”

In addition, “check for membership in professional organizations such as the Institute of Management Consultants or the Independent Computer Consultants Association,” advises Nepal Patel, CEO and founding principal at CIOsynergy, which organizes IT leadership events. “Such memberships indicate ongoing professional development and a commitment to their industry.”

5. Get and call references — even if the consultant was referred by a colleague.“When hiring a consultant, always ask for and check their references,” says Puneet Bhasin, director of IT at advertise.com, which provides online advertiser and publisher solutions. “Usually the best consultants have been referred to me via word of mouth.” But even if you plan on hiring someone who has been referred by someone you know, it doesn’t hurt to get a second (or third) reference. “I’ve always been dubious of consultants that are unwilling to share their client list and references with me,” he says.

Also, when speaking with references, “ask about the last time they had downtime or another emergency, and how the IT consultant handled the situation,” says Eric Schlissel, CEO, GeekTek IT Services.

Besides asking colleagues, another good place to look for and check references is LinkedIn. “Consultants, especially IT consultants, should have a social media presence,” states Sanchit Vir Gogia, chief analyst & CEO at Greyhound Research, an IT research and advisory firm. “A quality following on Twitter, connections on LinkedIn and a blog all indicate a credible candidate.”

6. Conduct a thorough background check. Before allowing an IT consultant access to your business critical systems, conduct a thorough background check, advises Monica Hamilton, director of SMB Product and Solutions Marketing at security solutions providerMcAfee. “Mandatory items to keep an eye out for: criminal offenses, including misdemeanors, and suspicious credit scores,” she says. Also, “if you are hiring for government-related jobs, confirm any necessary government clearances. And lastly, always check at least three references.”

7. Look for good communication skills — and the ability to work well with people. How articulate is the consultant? Can he speak clearly — and successfully convey information — to both your IT team and management? “An IT consultant must be business-savvy and possess good communication skills,” says Bruno Scap, the president of Galeas Consulting, a firm specializing in technology management. “He should understand the technology and be able to articulate it in business terms that management can understand,” he continues. “The purpose of technology is to solve business problems, and a competent IT consultant must be equally comfortable in both technical and business settings.”

In addition, “seek someone who is both technically sound and able to interact with others while working collectively and collaboratively.” The last thing you want is to hire a consultant with an attitude problem, who doesn’t work well with others.

8. Find out how they measure results. Before hiring an IT consultant, make sure he is comfortable using a measurement system. “There are numerous methodologies out there that can be used to measure readiness, improvement and overall progress, such as Six Sigma, ITIL and CMM,” notes Ray Zadjmool, principal consultant, Tevora, a management consulting firm specializing in information assurance, governance and compliance services and solutions. “While you may have your own preference, aligning to any methodology shows that a consultant takes his work seriously.”

5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an IT Consultant

1. What is your experience with my type and size of business? (See Tip No. 1)

2. Are you familiar and comfortable working with my current hardware? “Yes, I know the axiom that a server is a server, but that is not always the case,” says JR Rodrigues, the CEO of NetCablesPlus, which supplies networking cables and other supplies to IT consultants and systems integrators. “Each manufacturer always puts in its own ‘enhancements’ as differentiators and that can result in different steps to perform the same function. I would prefer to not pay for any learning curve (not only in consulting time, but in errors that might be made at first).”

3. Are you familiar and experienced working with my current software? (“See reasoning outlined in the tips — and then multiply by ten!” says Rodrigues)

4. What are your certifications? “This will provide insight into what they like to do and probably do most of,” he says. “If all of your equipment is Dell and Oracle-based and the consultant is certified in IBM and SQL Server only, it should raise questions.”

5. How do you typically work with clients? Before hiring an IT consultant, it’s important to know how they work. (You can verify or confirm what they say by calling or emailing references.)

Article Provided By: CIO

Mojoe iconIf you would like Mojoe.net to discuss your websites analytics, custom logo designs, website, web application, need custom programming, or IT consultant, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-859-9848 or you can email us at dwerne@mojoe.net.

Computer Hard Drive Failure, What To Do

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Hard Drive

Consult An IT Expert

Has your personal or business computer suddenly stops responding to your commands, or has the hard drive simply crashed, what are you going to do?

Yes, you can run down to Best Buy or your neighborhood electronics store and purchase a replacement hard drive for your computer. But that won’t fix or recover your data on the failed hard drive. You know all the important stuff you need to keep working or all your images and family memories. Did you make a back it up? Unfortunately, most home users do not back up their systems, and many small businesses have older back-up procedures that are often ineffective for recovering files.

The first thing to do is to be calm. Proceeding hastily can actually do more damage to your data. In most cases of actual hard drive failure, an  IT Specialist can get your data back. Just because you cannot access your data through your operating system does not necessarily mean that your data is lost.

The only irreversible data loss is caused by overwriting bits, physical damage to the drive platters or destruction of the magnetization of the platters, which seldom happens without a severe reason. Most of all cases, are malfunction is caused by a damaged circuit board, failure of a mechanical component and crash of internal software system track or firmware. These situations can be addressed by the experts in the IT field, who are able to recover 100% of the data for almost all of their customers.

If you hear a clicking sound emitting from your hard drive, or if the computer’s S.M.A.R.T. function indicates an error during the boot process, something is wrong. The safest bet is to contact an IT Consultant expert.

After receiving your failed hard drive, a IT specialist’s first step will be to try and save an image of the damaged drive onto another hard drive. This image drive, not the actual damaged hard drive, is where the IT specialist will try to recover the lost data.

The next step in the imaging process is to determine if the hard drive failure  was an actual malfunction, a system corruption or a system track issue.

After recovery of the data from the hard drive is finished and the IT specialist found the root cause of the issue of the hard drives failure. The IT specialist will return the the recovered data ( which is the best part ) to the customer, with a detailed explanation for the failure of the hard drive, in most cases.

Article by Lance Roberts

If you would like Mojoe.net to discuss your websites analytics, custom logo designs, website, web application, need custom programming, or IT consultant, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-859-9848 or you can email us at dwerne@mojoe.net.

Technology an equalizer for small firms

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

I was recently reading an article on why small business and big business can use technology as an equalizer.  Why they should find a company or an IT consultant that can bundle IT services to them and save them on their expenditures. It validates how Mojoe.net handles its business model and why using one company for IT needs is so cost effective and provides the smaller business with the same tools as the larger business. I have pasted the article into this post. Please see below.

Tools are the same no matter the size of the business

By Laura Raines

For the AJC

12:13 p.m. Friday, April 9, 2010

“With all the virtual ways to do business — audio conferencing, Web conferencing, video conferencing and event conferencing — people don’t have to jump on an airplane these days,” said Jackie Yeaney, chief marketing officer for PGi, a market leader in meeting collaboration technology.

“With companies wanting to cut travel expenses, virtual meetings are growing and that’s helping to level the playing field for small business,” she said.

PGi counts 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies among its customers. It hosts 30 million global meetings a year. But in the past two years, the company has been courting the little guy. It now has about 30,000 small-business customers.

“I’m proud that we serve both. We offer them the same technology infrastructure and service, but we package it differently to fit the needs of small business. Our staff knows that small business owners are CEEs, ‘chief executives of everything.’ They don’t have the time to worry about how it works or if it will work, they just need the right technology at a price they can afford,” Yeaney said.

Technologies that allow virtual meetings; interactive Web sites; smart phones that let people work anywhere; cloud computing that greatly reduces the hardware and software costs; and the use of social media for business purposes (Linked In, Facebook, Twitter) are strong trends in the workplace that are likely to grow. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that Generation Y, the most collaborative and Internet-savvy generation, will make up 47 percent of the work force by 2014.

“The way the world is going offers great opportunities for small business,” said Yeaney. “Joe’s Pizza and Bank of America can use the same exact tools to make their presence felt in the market,” Yeaney said.

“Small companies can appear bigger than they are and make their voice heard. With an interactive Web site and online chat for sales and customer, small companies actually have an edge over large companies. They have the flexibility to adapt quickly to market changes.”

With virtual marketing and communications technology, it’s easier for companies to go global.

“You might need a representative on the ground, but you don’t need an actual office to do business in England anymore,” she said. Fifty-one percent of midsized organizations are actively entering new markets, Yeaney noted, according to an IBM Global CEO Study from 2008, titled “The Enterprise of the Future: Implications for Midsize Organizations.”

Entrepreneurs should consider their technology needs “right out of the gate, as they are launching their business,” Yeaney said. “It’s an important part of the business plan.”

An effective, interactive Web site that allows companies to discuss products and take orders, smart phones, offices that can be rented as needed and other tools can get a company up and running with less overhead. A blog, Constant Contact e-mail newsletters and free Webinars can also help sell products or services, because “customers want to touch you as a business and a person. It’s all about authenticity,” Yeaney said.

With so many tools and ways to communicate, “marketing has become less expensive, which is good for small companies, but also a lot more complicated. Small businesses need to take a thoughtful approach to what tools to use,” Yeaney said.

Entrepreneurs should look at their core business processes and then research what technology tools can manage them better. “My own internal sales team, for example, uses a Web cam to let prospects see them as they’re discussing business. The trust and rapport go up,” she said. Small-business owners can learn more about how technology can help them by talking to other companies in their industry, making use of association resources, reading reviews of products, and/or hiring an IT consultant.

Before selecting a vendor, Yeaney suggests owners look at its customer/client base to see if the company works regularly with small companies. “Choose a company that will give you choices and flexibility and one that will provide great service, because you probably aren’t going to have your own IT person on the payroll,” she said. Bundled services or pay-as-you-go plans may help small companies manage cash flow.

“Staying up-to-date on new technology can be a challenge for small businesses, but it can make a huge difference in the bottom line,” Yeaney said. “You may not need to spend a lot of money. You will need persistence and smarts.”

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