Services Consultants: An Extension of your IT Team

January 20, 2015 Eddie Austin

New Year, Same Story. Look around the room, or across the department. Or maybe at your org chart, whichever is most convenient...you’re busy enough as it is. Regardless…you no doubt have an awesome IT team. You know for the most part, you can trust them to handle the day-to-day needs of your user force, and that’s a comforting feeling for you.

Yet you’re still losing sleep at night. Why?

Is it the lingering issues with the new deployment that you just can’t seem to get resolved? It could be those daunting initiatives with seemingly impossible deadlines that the “C suite” just recently passed down to you. Those objectives are going to require some advanced areas of expertise, but there’s no one on the team with the skill sets, and you darn sure don’t have the budget for a new hire, let alone time to find someone worth hiring.

Perhaps someone on the executive team just heard a new buzz word in a Super Bowl ad and “cannot fathom” why you haven’t already implemented it seamlessly with the entirety of your legacy infrastructure. I mean, the commercials say “it’s so simple”…they even have an “Easy” button, right? Granted, there are nuances to each organization, but it’s almost always the same story.

Face it. You Need a Hand

As IT professionals, we all understand the importance of ensuring the continuity of our IT systems and infrastructure. As engineers, we understand the importance of getting it right the first time, as seamlessly as possible. As employees, we understand the importance of meeting our deadlines and budget numbers…and as IT admins, we don’t want anyone that we don’t know and trust touching our stuff.

Despite our inherent trust issues, it’s paramount for modern organizations to have an IT consulting team that can provide specialized expertise and offer insight into emerging technologies and advancements in solution functionalities. It’s nearly impossible to keep up with new feature releases in addition to your daily tactical operations and strategic planning…maybe not for one or two products, but across the entire datacenter? That’s exhausting. Besides, why waste your internal clock cycles when you have a trusted resource platform on which to rely?

What to Look for in a Consultant

Enter your friendly neighborhood services consulting team. We’ve all seen the movie “Office Space.” and know what it means when management brings in the “Bobs”. Just to be clear, these are NOT the consultants you’re looking for. *queue Obi Wan Jedi Knight hand wave*

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When it comes to IT consultants, the best of the best are resourceful, efficient and, most importantly, proactive.

Your services consulting team should operate as an extension of your IT team by providing intimate knowledge of emerging technologies across all areas of the datacenter. A perfect marriage of deep expertise and cost efficiency. Any VAR worth patronizing pays big bucks to these guys for their levels of knowledge, experience and expertise. You can and should leverage these resources to benefit your environment without dramatically affecting your bottom line.

In addition to outstanding Engineering consultants, best-in-class VAR's staff hardware and service architects to help design and tailor these solutions specific to your environment. Inevitably, every organization has their own nuances and intricacies, so very rarely does a “boxed-product” type solution meet all the needs and/or requirements of any particular initiative. It’s ever important to take a holistic view of the infrastructure and ensure that all objectives are accounted for in the most cost effective manner while still maintaining best practice standards and ensuring the organization’s business continuity.

These consultants and architects have the luxury of seeing and touching hundreds, if not thousands, of different environments, technologies and implementations that span manufacturing platforms and product lines. It is reasonable to expect a thorough understanding of what is supported, what is actually possible, and what does and DOES NOT work in the real world.

If being an IT consultant for the last 15 years has taught me anything, it’s that IT will find a way. Not necessarily always the best way…but it’ll get there because it has to. Don’t spend your team’s clock cycles and work efforts making the same mistakes that hundreds of others already have. Ask your trusted VAR about the availability of their engineering and architectural resources. Make sure the VA (Value Added) part of VAR is substantiated! Even if it’s just to bounce a question or an idea off of their engineering resources, ASK. That is their purpose, so don’t feel bad…it’s their job.

You may still lie awake at night with worries, but they won’t be surrounding next year’s Super Bowl ads.

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