Proactive technology improvement is critical to business success. Even booming and well-established companies are always on the lookout for ways they can better their technological capabilities and capacity. However, identifying the right opportunities and scaling implementation to match is often beyond the scope of internal expertise. The best solution for many: tech consultancies.
The numbers speak for themselves, as worldwide IT spending is predicted to grow by 5.1% this year, business and technology consulting spending is expected to grow 10%.1 Tech consultancies are a critical part of IT success. However, in a booming industry, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with choice. How do you know which consultancy truly has the capabilities your business actually needs? Which one has the expertise to help you innovate and avoid critical pitfalls?
To help you select the right tech partner for your business, we’ve highlighted the four steps and related questions you’ll want to follow below in order to assess any potential consultancy’s ability to drive business outcomes long-term. Let’s get started.
Suggested reading: For more in-depth guidance on scaling your business’ product development, check out our whitepaper — Scaling and Accelerating Product Development.
Step 1. Find a consultancy that’s interested in you
There is no one-size-fits-all tech stack for every business — each has its own unique set of needs and requirements. So it’s no good going out to find technical support that’s just going to put your business in a box. Instead, you need to find a consultancy that takes the time to understand your business’s unique requirements and challenges before prescribing a strategy or course of action to address them.
First and foremost, this means looking for a partner that has a clear discovery process. Do they take the time to learn about your business goals, market, strategy, and existing capabilities before offering a solution? Or are they in a hurry to deploy their playbook without doing their due diligence?
Questions to ask yourself
Here are a few other questions that will help you assess whether a potential consultancy is taking the time to understand your business:
- Are they looking for opportunities to innovate as well as solutions to problems?
- Do they collaborate with you to identify those opportunities?
- Are they analysing your market and strengths to pinpoint areas you have a competitive advantage?
While you’re absolutely hiring a tech consultancy for their expertise, the best will be the ones that take time to assess the problems and opportunities you’re facing first. So before you decide on a consultancy, ensure their approach starts with understanding your unique business needs.
Step 2. Look for your ideal fit
Your tech teams sit at the heart of your technology development. How your teams are structured is critical to your ability to scale, accommodate different types of technology, and deliver products to end-users.
So the tech consultancy you hire needs to understand the role your team plays in your long-term success, not just provide technical services that fill a short-term gap. For example, your tech consultancy should be able to bring in the right people for your team, as well as help the people you already have become more effective.
Questions to ask yourself
Here are the questions you should keep in mind to make sure you choose the right organisation for the job:
- Do they prioritise having people that possess equal parts soft, personal skills and hard, technical skills?
- Are they as focussed on team-building and collaboration as they are on tech developments?
- Do they understand the correlation between effective teamwork and finding tech solutions?
Technology consulting isn’t always about technology — it’s often more about partnering yourself with people who know how to set technology teams up for success. So finding people that can seamlessly optimise your team outputs through their interpersonal skills as well as technical expertise is critical to long and short-term success. The right tech consulting company should be able to both identify and fill the gaps in your strategies and systems.
Step 3. Make sure they have real experience
Not every tech consultancy will provide the same level of expertise or prioritise the same types of skills. You need to make sure that they can help you with the challenges you have. For example, providing hands-on development support requires a different skill set than delivering strategic advice on how to structure your teams. Beyond that, these skills should be grounded in real experience in order to ensure that they can deliver results.
Fundamentally, your partner needs to be well-equipped enough in their experience and knowledge — and how they communicate that experience and knowledge — to enable you to then make your final decisions. Ideally, you then also want access to a range of skills that will allow you to flexibly adapt based on changing circumstances. This improves things in two key ways:
- You’re guaranteed varied expertise: While a tech consultancy should of course have ample technical knowledge, one that also prioritises soft skills in its people will be the one that takes your business forward. The people you take on should be able to communicate their technical knowledge and enable seamless productivity within your teams so that your goals and objectives can be most efficiently met.
It’s also worth considering getting that real “variety” part of the package by trialling the skills and experience you think you need with partners, rather than committing to a permanent strategy. Partnering with a tech consultancy will give you the flexibility to cast a wide net and experiment with the range of experts out there.
- You can seize growth opportunities: Companies often lose out on opportunities for growth due to technicalities like figuring out what the right people look like (their expertise, capabilities, etc.) and actually finding those people — all of which are crucial to do but can lead to delays as well as general bumps in the process if not done smoothly. Having the right tech consultancy cover that need from the get go helps save on those resources and allows you to get on with the business of providing value to your customers.
For these reasons, it makes sense to balance out the workload of managing or improving your tech systems by having a consultant that can help in a myriad of ways that go beyond the technical.
Questions to ask yourself
Here are the key questions to consider:
- Do they have the range to improve and support your internal capabilities as well as provide knowledge, coaching, and expertise?
- Do they have the high level of expertise you need to ensure the above issues are addressed at the highest level of efficiency possible?
It all comes down to finding people and building teams that can reliably action your plans for growth and development. At 101 Ways, for example, we offer product, technology, or delivery support, coaching, and development. Our people have many years of experience and know-how within the tech space as well as the soft skills to back up their expertise and deliver the right outcomes.
Step 4. Prioritise a holistic approach
Solving problems and improving your strategies is not just about modernising your technology and product offering. It’s about reassessing how you approach your people, your team structures, your technological capabilities, regulatory concerns, and even the organisation of your business.
So if you’re selecting a tech consultancy for strategic purposes, you need to ensure they have the ability to zoom out and help you formulate an appropriate and successful technology strategy.
Questions to ask yourself
- Do their proposed strategies align all of the pieces of your technical process with your goals and personnel?
- Are they considering other people’s inputs and fostering a collaborative environment to come up with the best strategies possible?
- Do their approaches address any potential pitfalls that could come along the way?
The consultancy that addresses all of the above questions (as well as having the technical capabilities to help you execute said strategy in the first place) will ultimately set you up to achieve the greatest long-term ROI from your efforts.
101 Ways can help
Finding a technology consultancy that can have you safely saying “yes” to all of the above questions can be tough. Some consultants may be great strategists, but require their clients to find the direct technical expertise to execute that strategy on their own. Others provide killer technical capabilities but lack the expertise to help organisations upskill their internal teams and leaders.
This is exactly why we created 101 Ways — to provide businesses with a partner that can help them build the strategies, teams, and technology they need to succeed long term. And, to do so holistically. We pride ourselves on having high-quality people that can deliver high-quality solutions quickly and efficiently.
Learn more about the solutions we’ve offered and the clients we’ve helped with those solutions here.