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How Do IT Services & Consulting Provide Different Business Benefits?

Education & Training with Ulistic Inc.

A recent Gartner report indicates that companies are expected to increase IT spending by 4 percent in 2021, with projections exceeding $3.8 trillion globally. The Gartner report breakdown points to IT services budget swelling by 4.1 percent and enterprise software seeing an investment over 7 percent. But IT consulting services continue to be a seemingly under-leveraged aspect of healthy and robust technology infrastructure.

It may be the case that decision-makers focus on profit-driving aspects. It may also be the case that aggressive hackers have pressured companies to harden their cybersecurity defenses. In many corporate leaders' minds, these investments may appear thorough enough to compete in the technology age. But a refined understanding of the differences between IT services and consulting may illustrate why industry leaders need both.

Jason Simons with ICS in Austin shares insights into the core differences between IT services and IT consulting.

What Do IT Services Deliver?

At a fundamental level, organizations invest in IT services to ensure smooth productivity and communication. When email goes down, a technician or third-party IT services firm promptly resolves any glitches. When successful, communication is quickly restored between your workforce, customers, and colleagues in your orbit. Business professionals see a clear and discernable benefit between the investment and outcome. That’s why decision-makers typically expand their IT services budgets to include the following:

  • 24/7 Help Desk Support
  • Hard Drive & Cloud-Based Data Backup Services
  • Software Updates & Patching Services
  • Enhanced Cybersecurity & Awareness Training
  • Real-Time Threat Response Services
  • Cloud Migration & Maintenance

Given the vast IT needs of doing business, many outfits outsource some, if not all, of their IT services to an experienced firm. Although that seems to be where the buck stops with CFOs, IT consulting could prove equally effective in terms of goal achievement and productivity.

Why Are IT Consulting Services Different & Essential?

Working with an IT consultant involves focusing on many IT services goals but from a forward-thinking perspective. Let’s consider the mass migration of businesses to primarily cloud-based systems. Before the cloud was trending across sectors, relatively few companies went all-in on it. While many were dipping their toes in the water to check the temperature and current, trailblazers took the plunge early.

Those bold business leaders gained a competitive advantage by reducing infrastructure costs and capital expenses. They also improved communication and productivity. Many are now considered visionaries for leading the way into a cloud-based future. But the reality is that they were simply smart enough to work with an IT consultant who advised them about the benefits of embracing the cloud. An IT consultant brings expertise to the table and advises entrepreneurs and decision-makers about strategic next steps. These are some of the benefits of enlisting the support of an IT consultant.

  • Fresh Set of Eyes: Staff members and IT services providers usually have established policies and protocols they follow on a daily basis. An IT consultant can review current procedures and weigh them against emerging technology. Change often results in streamlining and cost-savings.
  • Proactive Approach: In many ways, IT services are designed to react to problems. The virtual help desk, for example, works with staff members and customers after an issue surfaces. The same holds true for cybersecurity threat response and even email glitches. By contrast, IT consultants are focused on eliminating disruptions before they occur. For instance, they may provide options six months before a software product times out.
  • Focus on Core Business Practices: One of the reasons entrepreneurs and industry leaders outsource IT services is to take distractions off their plate. People with niche expertise are best-served putting that knowledge to work furthering organizational goals. Having to bring department heads together to resolve technology issues is an unnecessary headache. An IT consultant helps you help yourself by dealing with the next steps in a proactive, not reactive, fashion.

Organizations face specific IT challenges unique to their industry and niche. But the basic IT services regarding communication, cybersecurity, and support have become largely fundamental. Taking the next logical step and working with an IT consultant positions your operation to take advantage of emerging technology and solve problems before they cause disruption. Those are the reasons why it ranks among the best IT investments going forward.