It's easy for a client to overlook small details, that's why they hire IT Consultants so they can stay in the know. IT Consultants typically take a deeper dive into a clients operation from a technology and business perspective. One of the biggest reasons that clients look to IT consultants is to look at their organization from an outsider's point of view. Having a vantage point into client operations, and how they do things tells the client that another pair of eyes sees things they might have missed. It's important to recognize that a client is relying on your expertise to give them a perspective that an internal employee would normally not see. Some of the areas you might want to address with the client is how they run their operations, and even have them rate their current level of expertise with all their technologies. This will reveal a few things. One of the most important is where you need to navigate and lead the interview discussion. Asking questions like what do you like and dislike about your current operations. Offer up that you like the challenge of solving problems, and working in different types of environments, and perfecting your craft.
"I've worked with many clients at different levels of an organization, including executive level management personnel. Being a good listener is an absolute requirement, and getting the opportunity to collaborate with clients and help solve their problems is very rewarding for me. It's important for me to show clients that they are getting the highest value possible for their money. When I have conversations with clients, I sometimes find that they don't know what they don't know, and I find that this is a good base level start because you're starting from scratch and identifying problems as you walk through their environment from top to bottom. My basic qualifiers start with technology, and how they use it. Here's a basic outline of questions I posed.
1. What platform do you run your ERP or enterprise software? Windows, UNIX, Linux, etc.? The reason I ask this questions is after I find out what they are using, it's easier for me to suggest a software solution. After explaining the pros and cons of their current set up, I recommend a solution that will help solve their problem.
2. What database are you using to store your data? SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase, BD2, etc. The reason I ask this question is to see if they are up to date with current versions, and the capacity of data and where it resides. I also ask whether their data is On-Premise or in the Cloud. Depending on the responses, I would be able to make suggestions on efficient ways to work with that data."
"My prior work has taught me that asking the right questions at the right time is very important. When I do discovery with a client, there are a number of questions that I ask to arrive at a few core problems they are facing. Let me give you an example of what I ask, and why.
1. Walk me through your current process, and highlight an area where you are experiencing pains and challenges? The reason I ask this is to build trust with the client, and get them to talk extensively about their problems, and how you can propose a solution.
2. Is it your belief that a software application will be able to solve these problems for you? I ask this question to see if they think they need a software solution, or is it just a process fix that can be achieved by process and productivity improvements, along with process re-engineering."