A technology consultant is indispensable for a growing undertaking. Be that as it may, a CIO needs to know is whether the perceptions of the technology consultant match his company’s needs. That is when evaluation skills come in. Here are six tips on how you can evaluate a technology consultant to ensure successful project implementation:
1. Be clear about your goals (and beyond): While looking for a technology consultant, a CIO should remember that the candidate should be able to add value to the project and its requirements. A smart CIO always looks for a technology consultant who can go beyond achieving the goals he has set for himself and the team.
2. Ensure that he has expertise in the job: Technology is vast, and a consultant might be good in certain areas but might have never worked with the technology or software that you as a CIO is looking at. So while evaluating a technology consultant, ensure that the consultant has expertise in the job he is being hired for. It is also important to look at his previous assignments and how he went about solving deadlocks.
3. Verify his capability to juggle portfolios in hand: Quantity and quality rarely go together. While selecting a technology consultant, it is very important to know how many assignments he is handling at that given point of time, as this will determine the amount of attention he will give to the project in question. Ideally, the technology consultant should not be involved in more than two projects simultaneously.
4. Judge his communication skills: This is a key point overlooked by most managers. It is very important for a technology consultant to have communication skills if he has to sit in a group and put his point across. The technology consultant shouldn’t be throwing his weight around, but at the same time, he should be able to convince the company’s IT team. As for the IT team, it should be able to get territorial issues sorted out and give the technology consultant a good work atmosphere.
5. Base location of the consultant is critical: Geographic proximity of the technology consultant is an important criterion. If the location of the technology consultant is not near your company’s base, it adds to costs and time in getting him on-premise now and then.
6. Consider staggered payment schedules: While looking at payments for the technology consultant, staggered systems are the generally followed models. In case of big projects, payments are based on a milestone basis. This means that some money is retained. Based on the project’s success, money is released after a month or two (as per the contract).
About the author: Shailesh Joshi is the CIO of Godrej Properties, and presently handles the data center outsourcing project for Godrej Properties. Joshi has completed a 10-year, multi-crore, total IT outsourcing deal for the organization. He has to his credit several years of experience setting up IT departments to multinational standards.
(As told to Anuradha Ramamirtham)