How to choose the best IT consultant. The technology marketplace can seem bewilderingly complex, confusing, competitive and with a jargon all of its own. What’s more, mistakes can cost time, money and effort to correct. So if you’re a small to medium-sized business here in London and want to check the efficiency of your current IT strategy, change your IT services provider or make your first move into outsourcing your IT, then you’ll benefit from the expert, experienced and objective help of IT consultant. in this blog post, then, we’re focusing on how to choose the best IT consultant for your enterprise.

What the best IT consultants can do for your business and their IT in London

The technology marketplace can seem bewilderingly complex, confusing, competitive and with a jargon all of its own. What’s more, mistakes can cost time, money and effort to correct. So if you’re a small to medium-sized business here in London and want to check the efficiency of your current IT strategy, change your IT services provider or make your first move into outsourcing your IT, then you’ll benefit from the expert, experienced and objective help of IT consultant. in this blog post, then, we’re focusing on how to choose the best IT consultant for your enterprise.

What the best IT consultant can do for your business in London

A professional IT consultant will have the best interests of your small to medium-sized business at heart. They will have the depth and breadth of knowledge, vision and integrity to advise you and your colleagues on how to maximise your investment in IT and minimise the costs, inefficiencies and operational timelines associated with it. All that should be based on their in-depth understanding of your organisation, its operations and objectives, now and in the future. The trick is to choose the best IT consultant for your size and requirements.

IT consultancy – exploding some of the myths

There are a number of myths around the technology sector – especially around IT consultants, IT audits, IT reviews and IT strategy – we need to address right up front.

Many business leaders worry that choosing a new IT consultant (or changing an existing one) means periods of technology downtime or disruption, where business continuity suffers as the new team and tech bed in. This isn’t true. A good IT consultant and their IT support team will put in place the right review, preparation, planning and communication processes to ensure every aspect of your transition is a smooth, seamless and hassle-free experience.

Another myth is that an IT consultant will only suggest the solutions that earn them the most money or are easiest to sell to you. Again, not true. Any professional worth the name is fully independent, objective, vendor-neutral and only recommends IT solutions and services that are not just best in class but best for your business, its operations and objectives.

So, what is IT consultancy?

No matter what sector you’re in or the size of your enterprise, IT consultancy is all about helping you to choose, procure, implement, utilise and support the technology solutions you need to achieve your commercial goals today and tomorrow.

Your partnership with them will usually start with an IT audit or IT review, from which they’ll help you develop an IT strategy. That’s because professionals will only ever base their recommendations, advice and guidance on a thorough understanding of your business.

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They will also help you to create a budgeted plan of action including roadmap, time scales and the resources required to deliver the optimum IT Infrastructure in the most cost-effective and convenient ways.

What kinds of consultancy are available for IT in London?

Just like the Capital’s many businesses, there’s a wide range of consultants out there. Some offer a small selection of very specific skills or specialisms, others a complete suite of technologies, solutions and services.

What they have in common is that they should only deliver off-the-shelf solutions tailored to fit your enterprise and its needs.

The kind of capabilities you could expect an IT consultant to offer include:

  • IT review, IT audit and IT strategy.
  • Relocating your infrastructure to public, private or hybrid cloud working.
  • Digital transformation – redesigning and rebuilding your IT to fully exploit new technologies
  • Migrating, implementing and upgrading popular platforms such as Microsoft 365 and Google G Suite
  • Designing and implementing the most robust cybersecurity and data backup solutions, including disaster recovery plans
  • Unified communications guidance and delivery to optimise operational performance, flexibility and cost efficiency
  • Investigating and advising on new networking and telephony options, *offering you key people ‘on loan’ to work in-house with you for a planned period, from experienced project managers right up to seasoned IT directors.

In general, an IT consultant will take on as much or as little as you need. That’s from full ownership of a project from concept to commission and completion, to project managing specific elements of an on-going programme.

What should a new partnership with an IT consultant include?

It’s important to review your IT and how it’s supported regularly to make sure everything still meets the needs of your business. So when you’re reviewing your current relationship or starting a new one with an IT partner, here are a few key topics you should discuss and include:

Monitoring and managed backups

You could have had your back-up systems installed sometime ago but have never fully tested them. The worst time to discover a weakness is at the moment of disaster, so whether you are using a managed IT support service, a local or online backup or even a disaster as-a-recovery service, test everything regularly. Your business continuity, productivity and profitability depend on it.

Security and compliance

Cybercriminals and their methods continue to evolve and become ever more sophisticated, therefore your cybersecurity must do the same. So review your security and compliance regularly to identify weaknesses within your network and make sure the systems in place can be validated with regulatory standards like GDPR. Carry out a full IT audit and review of all of your critical systems. Look out for and lock down any vulnerabilities.

Data theft, damage or leaks can have a devastating impact on your company, good name, IP, clients’ private information and, if non-compliance with data protection regulations is proven, your bank balance.

Finally, always make sure you team is fully aware of the dangers of web browsing and storing and opening e-mails and documents from unknown sources. Human error is often the weakest link in a cybersecurity set-up.

Email redundancy

We’re all so reliant on e-mail these days that when it goes down business productivity can go with it. Instead of taking it for granted, have a business continuity mailbox in place that can be accessed automatically if you experience problems with your local or Cloud provider.

Maintenance of server, network, peripherals and endpoints

It’s critical that all your hardware, network, workstations and endpoints such as laptops, tablets and mobile phones are constantly monitored, supported and updated. All these assets should be regularly reviewed to ensure the very latest updates, releases, patches and fixes are undertaken to keep them protected against cybercriminals.

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Network audits

Phrases like network audits are not sales tools but genuine ways to investigate your system’s performance and weaknesses. Your relationship with your IT support or IT services team must be built on trust, confidence and mutual understanding so carefully review the outcomes of any IT audits or IT reviews because they should provide strong, justifiable recommendations not an opportunity to sign you up to a new ‘super cover’ package.

Why prevention is always better than cure

If you employ the best IT consultants and IT managed services providers (MSP), they will constantly and proactively monitor and maintain your IT infrastructure to spot issues and prevent them becoming security or business continuity problems.

As a general rule, the cost of employing high quality support and security services is far less than the cost of any damaging downtime or data breach.

The peace of mind IT professionals deliver is priceless.

How to make your transition simple, smooth and seamless?

Once you’re ready to employ or change your IT consultant, IT support or IT services team, they will usually go through a number of clearly defined and planned steps to make the process straightforward. Typically, these steps will include but not necessarily be limited to:

  • The appointment of an ‘onboarding’ specialist, account manager or team who will run the whole transition process on your behalf
  • Technical deep dive, IT audit and consultation meeting to fully understand your set-up and requirements, both commercially and technically (note: this process might take the form of a question and answer session or the completion of a technical information form)
  • It’s likely that your chosen partner will then undertake internal meeting/s to discuss and assess the information collected and define appropriate actions, solutions, technologies and ongoing support
  • You will be provided with a detailed proposal document which will include timelines and associated costs
  • If the proposal is agreeable to you, your partner will usually visit your premises again, inspect your technologies, install monitoring software and complete any set-ups, updates, upgrades or migrations agreed
  • Once onboarding is complete, your support contract and helpdesk and/or account management support will begin
  • You can usually leave liaison with your previous IT support provider and other technical service suppliers (such as your Internet Services Provider or ISP) to your new suppliers
  • Your IT support partner’s engineering team will remotely and proactively monitor your technology, especially your network, software and hardware to glean detailed performance data to assess  and recommend any changes that would benefit your operation.

How to make the choosing the best IT consultant easy

If you’re looking for a consultant or managed services provider for your IT in London, there are a lot of options available to you. A recent Google search of the phrase ‘IT consultant London’ returned about 130,000,000 results!

So you could start by asking other business owners you know or members of any trade or professional organisations you belong to. Like many other decisions in our business and private lives, it makes sense to find potential partners by recommendation and referral. Another powerful indicator of the quality of a supplier’s service to look out for is their ability to retain customers.

But let us save you the time, trouble and dangers of going through the above steps. The highly experienced, expert and specialist IT consultants, IT support, IT services and IT security teams here at totality services have earned no less than two consecutive Feefo Gold Trusted Service Awards, Five Star ratings from both Trustpilot and Google and a 98% client retention rate.

So for a friendly, confidential and no obligation chat about your technology requirements why call the go to IT support team for London, totality services?

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COVID-19 Update: Face-to-face IT meetings have been temporarily replaced with Microsoft Teams sessions, and our engineers will be able to carry out IT assessments remotely.