How can you tell if your prospective Integration consultant knows what he’s doing?
Most of us, who have been in technology roles for any significant period of time have some similar experiences selecting a good consultant for our company. We start out with a need, which we realize our internal team can’t adequately fulfill . . . so we reach outside of the organization, maybe to a trusted vendor, maybe to open marketplace . . . and we look for that skillset that we feel we are lacking.
We speak with someone in sales, who tells us that they have the perfect person who can solve all our problems. We review his resume and there are some things that seem similar to what we need (but we are not entirely sure, after all, that’s what we need the expertise for) We ask, and the sales rep assures us that the technologies are really similar, and it will be okay . . . and bonus points! He’s immediately available, and for a lot less than we paid for the last consultant.
You do the paperwork, get the approvals, and bring the consultant in. By the end of the first week, you’ve had ½ of the department in your office, either:
- Explaining that the consultant only worked with the technology in question 2 versions ago
- Has such a thick accent that no one can understand him
- Doesn’t seem interested in what your needs are, but is sure trying to implement his toolset/package/approach
- Is spending a lot of time on the internet, looking up the answers to questions people ask him
- Obviously has no idea what line of business your company is in, or the common terminology in that business
- Has managed to alienate two important department heads
But by then the contracts are signed, and you would potentially look even worse if you went back to your boss and tried to get rid of him . . . so you probably try to tough it through.
Here are some tips and advice, particularly applicable to the technology integration arena (whether that integration involves BizTalk, Oracle SOA, IBM Message Bus, Mule, SSIS, or pure code) to help you avoid this scenario.
Look for, and evaluate, the following:
- Communication Skills
- Understanding Your Unique Business Needs
- Political Skills
- Training and Certification
- Fit with Your Internal Team
- How is their Corporate Team?
- Technical and Business Experience
- If it seems too cheap to be true . . . there is a reason it’s that cheap
It is a lot of things to think about, a lot of evaluations to make, and very few black and white decisions. Obviously, here at Art2link, we work very hard to try and excel in all of those categories.
We will be discussing each of these evaluation points in more depth over the upcoming weeks, please check back for a more detailed list of how to appropriately evaluate each of these skill areas, and tips on ways to find the true capabilities of your prospective consultant.
We don’t expect you to believe us blindly, that would be imprudent. But we would like to have an opportunity to show you the skills that we have worked so hard to develop, by making your integration project a successful one.
Give us a call, and ask us to prove it.