IT Consultant: In the fast moving and ever changing world of IT the ability of IT Managers and Practitioners to be truly effective consultants has never been greater.
So what are the capabilities and attributes displayed by the very best IT Consultants? I believe they fall into seven categories as follows:
- Thought Leadership
- Client Knowledge
- Strategic Thinking
- Experience and Know How
- Problem Solving
- Relationship Management
- Change Leadership
In looking at each of these seven key contributors to success in turn I have made the underlying assumption that the primary objective of the IT Consultant is to explore, reveal and extract the full commercial value within a client account. In other words it’s all about CLIENT INTIMACY.
A Thought Leader is someone or a corporate entity, recognised to be a leader in their field. The outside world determines whether an individual or an organisation is a thought leader.
Thought leadership is based on reputation. That reputation is based on the person’s or organisation’s understanding of its business, the needs of its customers, and the broader market-place in which s/he operates.
To be a thought leader requires a spirit of generosity – generosity of time, intelligence and knowledge. It also requires the ability to philosophise, intellectualise and think ahead in order to push the boundaries of current thinking.
Thought leaders are constantly hungry for knowledge and insights. They know where and how to find out about current events, and they mine this information to find out the best way forward. Leaders use knowledge to get a real understanding of their client’s needs. They use this knowledge to best understand their client’s internal structure and dynamics. This understanding of the client’s structure and dynamics is what they use to best position themselves to offer strategic advice and solutions.
Thought leaders understand the important early role of the consultative consultant in the client relationship, and they duly spend time developing an ongoing relationship with the client. They seek to gain the trust of the client by presenting their unique insights and approaches.
An strategic leader is able to interpret the complex internal structure of the client organisation, to match it to their organisation’s current needs, and to focus the vision for the project or initiative for success. They intentionally keep their finger on the pulse of their client’s needs. They know how to get the right balance between time, method and measure to get the most useful information for their client.
In order to deliver their results, thought leaders gather information from a variety of sources, including current contacts, industry publications, current event reports and media reports, and specialist knowledge from their field. They identify the key internal and external stakeholders who will provide support and information to their client. An intelligent and well-informed consultant tells the client what they need to know to negotiate an optimal outcome for their client. The consultant is able to actuarial, astutely interpret the dynamics of the internal organisation to determine the right strategies to address key issues.
From this research and information, the thought leader brings together the right information for each of the issues or concerns about which they are assessing. They find the information, creates an action plan and PT actionable to the needs of the external stakeholder group. They negotiate with the external stakeholders to get their buy-in and they steer the project towards the desired result.
A thought leader is able to look at the complex issues and concerns around which they are working, and to extract the requirements, constraints and parameters that the client is most concerned about, and vet those requirements, constraints and parameters to make sure that they are correct and can be verified.
They therefore take the information they have gathered and creates a working scenario or counter scenario to test out their own constrained parameters of choice. They test out these scenarios using a testing framework consisting of scripted work, tests, exercises, databases, and simulations. The outcome of this is to increase the belief and trust of the team conducting the scenarios because they tend to get the outcome they desire more of the time.
3. Equipped Knowledge
A thought leader brings along a vast amount of information and skill. They have researched and gathered information on all encompasses of IT and telecoms, current market trends, competitors, and the fundamentals of the market place. This information and knowledge forms the foundation for generating a strong set of recommendations that can be presented and discussed with the client and executives at the front end of the engagement, and communicating these updates to the board and the external auditors with full and part certification endorsements.
A thought leader understands the key trends and challenges facing the industry today, and anticipated future developments in the same platform. They can identify the additional opportunities that the industry is expected to embrace over the next 3-5 years