What Are the Key Differences Between IT Services and Consulting?
When business leaders create annual budgets, IT typically ranks among the top investments. More than $4 trillion was spent globally in 2019, and the average company funneled 8.2 percent of its total revenue into IT. The primary focus for too many companies was IT services, without consulting support. Putting all of your eggs in the IT services basket could lead to work stoppages and problems that could otherwise be avoided. By understanding the key differences between services and consulting, informed decisions can be made about an organization’s IT health.
What Are IT Services?
There are plenty of technical explanations that define “IT services.” But a direct way to understand this term is from the customer’s perspective. You invest in IT services to help accomplish tasks and goals. Company leaders typically broker a deal with an experienced IT services firm to ensure things run smoothly. In other words, you hire someone to keep everyone on your team working at a high level and minimize disruptions. These generally include the following:
- Technical & Help Desk Support
- Backup & Recovery Services
- Software Management Services
- Cybersecurity Monitoring & Threat Response
- Cloud Migration & Maintenance
- Internet-Based Communications Services
The underlying premise of IT services is that a third party is generally under contract to help you maximize productivity and solve routine issues. Companies don’t usually invest in technology for technology’s sake. It’s a necessary tool that requires an expert to maintain.
What Makes IT Consulting Different?
The million-dollar question is that if you already have IT services in place, why invest in a consultant? That’s a fair question from the consumer’s point of view. Your email works, computer restarts are at a minimal level, and Cloud-based systems enable your outfit to connect with remote workers and business partners in real-time. If it’s not broken, why fix it?
The primary reason to invest in IT consulting is that it is proactive by nature. A consultant reviews your critical operations and makes an analysis of the next steps and long-term technology planning. An IT consultant may be only minimally interested in the software and services your organization uses to complete tasks and further goals today. Instead, they consider solutions for the future that deliver the following benefits:
- Bring an Objective Perspective: Your IT service provider and staff members have a way of conducting operations every day. While their methods may work at a high level, an outside perspective can help companies take advantage of emerging technologies.
- Proactive vs. Reactive: It’s essential to understand that IT services are crucial. They can react to technical problems and resolve them quickly. By contrast, IT consulting focuses on future disruptions and innovations and advises business leaders about preventative measures.
- Increase Leadership Focus: When management teams get bogged down with technical problems, they cannot devote the focus necessary to maximize an organization’s potential. An IT consulting firm brings a wealth of knowledge to the table that allows leaders to make high-level decisions about the state of their technology.
As an industry thought leader, perhaps the best way to understand the differences between IT services and consulting is that they are different cogs in a machine that makes your company go. One without the other limits your potential to achieve goals and compete. Technology changes quickly, and companies require IT services to maintain operational integrity and consulting experts to get you ready for critical next steps.