Contributed by Matt Cicciari
Smart organizations taking on a new project don’t try to go it alone – they recognize when outside help can provide the guidance needed to meet and exceed their objectives effectively. Rolling out and managing a Postgres deployment, for example, can represent a series of new challenges for an organization. Outside help can assist an enterprise maximize results and achieve optimal Return on Investment.
A timeless article in Harvard Business Review, Consulting Is More Than Giving Advice, identified eight steps of a consulting engagement that call for the consultant to go beyond familiar tasks of identifying issues and recommending change. Instead, outside providers should collaborate more with their clients, actively implementing their proposals to ensure success.
But how do you find the right partner for this level of collaboration? The following are five questions to ask when considering a technical services partner:
- What are the team’s qualifications? Inquire about technical qualifications of the services team as well as tenure and practical experience. Ask about industry-standard certifications. Understand how these experiences will help support your deployment.
- May I the review the team’s reference materials? The services team will be following the consulting firm’s best practices and technical documentation, so it’s helpful to review this material ahead of time. The quality will be informative.
- Does the team understand your strategic business needs, not just IT? Individual needs sometimes arise in the rollout and maintenance of technology solutions based on unique architectures. It will be critical for the team to understand your business demands as they develop tailored solutions.
- Does the team have good communication skills? IT systems are complex and intricate and are often communicated in a language not everyone readily understands. A team that can readily communicate insight for multiple levels of the organization is invaluable.
- How does the team define goals and milestones? Reviewing goals up front as well as measuring progress during an engagement is crucial to success. Explore with the team its approach to defining goals, milestones and progress reports along the way and how success is measured at the end. Understand this prior to an engagement rather than starting the discussion after a contract is signed.
Matt Cicciari is Director of Product Marketing at EnterpriseDB.