Different Types of IT Consulting Firms
IT consulting firms operate at the following three levels:
1. Professional-services firms. These employ a large number of IT experts, charge top fees, and function at global levels. Often, they outsource their employees from other countries.
2. Staffing firms. These hire IT consultants on temporary basis. Also known as "body shops," these consulting firms capitalize on prevailing global-cost differences and can afford the services of guest consultants.
3. Independent consultants. Many consultants prefer to work independently as contractors or temporary employees of staffing firms. Some of them even team up with other independent consultants.
Causes of the Growth of IT Consulting
IT consulting is the result of the PC boom of the '80s and the Internet growth of the '90s. Luckily, the field survived the dot-com crash, and thanks to its explosive growth in the present decade, the general term "consulting" has more or less become synonymous with IT consulting.
Though there are many contributing factors, the following can be deemed major triggers for the tremendous growth of IT consulting in recent years:
- Innovation in computer architecture.
- Growing numbers of trained IT professionals.
- Unique software solutions.
- Strong expertise at economical levels.
- Unprecedented convergence of systems.
- Demand for managing the complex structural and cultural changes in organizations.
An IT consultant's job profile will depend on the size and nature of the firm he or she represents, the project, and the client company. The association between a client company and the consultant may last from a few hours to many years.
Depending on the client's requirements, an IT consultant may undertake following activities:
- Determining the requirements of the client organization.
- Designing the scope of the project.
- Planning schedules.
- Studying the client organization's systems, processes, and practices.
- Identifying the organization's problems.
- Recommending solutions to the company management.
- Outlining software, hardware, and network needs.
- Helping the client change management.
- Installing, testing, and monitoring new systems.
- Training users.