Seven Steps for Success: Selecting IT Consultants
Community College Journal Volume 75, Number 2, ISSN 1067-1803
Information technology (IT) presents community colleges with both powerful opportunities and formidable challenges. The prospects of expedited and more efficient business processes, greater student access through distance learning, improved communication, and strengthened relationships with students can embolden the most hesitant college presidents to make major investments in IT. At the same time, the challenges associated with these investments can be sobering or downright scary. To help bolster a college's chances for a successful technology implementation, some presidents turn to consultants who can provide an array of services from strategic planning to product implementation. Because the president and the college will depend heavily on the consultant, the importance of the selection process cannot be overemphasized. This article presents seven guidelines to help presidents make informed decisions to choose consultants who can help institutions reach their goals: (1) Presidents need to know something about the consulting companies they are considering and their history; (2) Presidents need to ask prospective consultants to identify any technical and strategic relationships they have, or have had, with software vendors, other consultants, or suppliers that might influence their judgment; (3) If a consulting company demonstrates organizational health and has disclosed possible conflicts of interest, colleges then need to probe and test the expertise of the prospective consultant; (4) Colleges should request that consultants detail how they will customize their approach to meet the unique needs of the college; (5) Presidents should require a face-to-face meeting with the proposed consultant before making a decision; (6) Diligent reference checks and research are essential lines of defense when choosing a consultant; and (7) It is critical that the consultant is willing to frame the contract as a partnership.
Moriarty, D.F. (2004). Seven Steps for Success: Selecting IT Consultants. Community College Journal, 75(2), 14-16.