As IT consultants our clients understand the value that we provide when we fix a problem, or avert a crisis, help them achieve their goals and enable the work they do each day. However, one aspect of what we do is always invisible to our clients, and that is how we arrive at the decisions we make on their behalf.
I wish that our existing and prospective clients could really take a peek into our solution development sessions. If they did, they would see a team of dedicated professionals that really sweat the details. Each of our clients are unique, and when we devise solutions that will meet their needs, solve their challenges or support their aspirations, we place their idiosyncracies front and center.
Every time we design a solution we ask ourselves:
Is this the best set of choices? How will our client use and interact with these technologies? Is this the most cost effective way to address this problem?
These are the essential questions that keep us up at night. Even after settling in our collective minds, we still debate even the most minor of technical details about our choices. Why? Because we feel strongly that our clients deserve the best.
We often spend hours conducting research on what the IT landscape has to offer our clients, or scouring online forums to understand the practical challenges that others have experienced when implementing technology solutions for clients similar to ours.
So why does it matter to have an IT consultant that cares? Here are my top 3 reasons:
1) The Knowledge Gap Won’t Be Exploited
Our clients are not technology experts. We are. So they rely on us to make informed and wise decisions when proposing solutions. We’ve seen this gap exploited by consultants who consider their bottom line before that of the client, forcing them to purchase technologies they do not need or may never use. It’s important to trust, but also verify. Ask around or conduct some research of your own.
2) You’ll Have More Successful Outcomes
In technology implementations, the devil is in the details. Without careful consideration to how each technology is expected to integrate or function, you are likely to end up with surprises that happen during a project with hefty price tags attached. It’s difficult to judge whether a consultant is thorough or methodical in planning and proposing solutions, but if you pay attention to how they approach the engagement you’ll get a good feel for what to expect. The other side to the equation is that a client you must be willing to pay a consultant to perform the due diligence necessary for proper planning and execution.
3) They Are More Likely to Have a Long Term View
Consultants are very sensitive to the value of time and who can blame us. We trade hours of our lives for a prescribed monetary value. IT consultants in particular are likely to trade hours during nights and weekends. Valuable time that could otherwise be spent with spouses, kids, family and friends. That aside, our success depends entirely upon long term relationships with our clients. No matter how much we might feel we deserve it, consultants often bypass the approach to nickle and dime clients in favor of client longevity.
We come across a myriad of seemingly random computer errors on a regular basis. In my experience, after “user errors”, most computer issues are caused by what I refer to as “Lack of maintenance”. We provide comprehensive monitoring and maintenance for our customers PC’s and servers but there are some things you can do to minimize common issues on your computer and the computers in your business.
Performing basic routine maintenance on your computer will help them run better, for longer. This means less errors and overall better stability of your computer. Put aside 30 minutes every month to make sure your PC’s fully up-to-date; it will thank you. Also remember if your computer is over 3 years old and it’s unbearably slow you should definitely think about a replacement.
Ok. Raise your hand if you’ve heard the term ‘notebook’ (last time I checked this is what we called laptops). Now raise your hand if you’ve heard the term ‘netbook’ (remember those really small laptops that were all the buzz a year ago).
Well, here’s a new one for you, ‘ultrabook’. Apparently it’s supposed to be the next big thing that PC manufacturers are raving about. So what is an ultrabook exactly and how is it different from the stuff you already know?
In a nutshell, an ultrabook is an emerging category of laptops that are undoubtedly fashioned after Apple’s Macbook Air and boast most of the following specifications.
Apart from the specs, which deliver on next generation features such as SSD, USB 3.0, and new Intel processors, what’s different about this category of laptop is the emphasis on portability, power efficiency and aesthetic design. This is a sure signal that Apple’s innovation with the Macbook Air has caught on and now manufacturers see growing user demand for these qualities.
My personal take is that these are likely to be a permanent fixture of portable computing as the experience of lightweight devices such as tablets become the norm. I’m an openly proud PC user so chances are I’ll be in the market for one of these as prices come down.
According to most reports we should expect a flood of ultrabooks in the market in the first quarter of next year following the infamous Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January. While newer models will most likely ship in the first quarter of 2012, some notable early entrants that you get your hands on include the Toshiba Portege Z830, Lenovo IdeaPad U300S and the upcoming HP Folio 13.
If you haven’t seen it already, there’s a new story featuring us on and our clients delancyhill out in the November 17th edition of the Miami Today. The article, entitled “Attorneys substitute 3 small offices for a big one, go virtual” discusses delancyhill’s shift to becoming a virtual law firm and how we advised the firm on a cloud computing initiative to make it all possible. Our Managing Partner, Kevin V. Michael is quoted extensively throughout the article on his perspective of the cloud and why it makes sense for companies during these economic times. You can get your hands on a copy by visiting Miami Today’s offices at 701 Brickell Avenue or by giving them a call to find the nearest distribution point in the city.
I’d also like to send a big thanks to Michael Lewis the editor for handing me a copy of the paper in person yesterday after The Miami Today office was already closed.