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An information systems analyst is a computer specialist who helps professionals choose software, hardware, and telecommunication networks for their businesses. In many cases, an analyst might also assist in planning the implementation of new systems or act as a project manager to oversee transitions to new programs. To choose the best information systems analyst, you should consider the needs of your industry first, as well as the complexity of your information systems. The needs of a small business owner, for example, are bound to be simpler than those of a hospital administrator. Once you find a list of possible analysts in your area, you should engage in consultations, negotiate cost, and choose the analyst who can have the greatest positive impact for a cost that is reasonable for you.
In most cases, it's important that your information systems analyst have years of experience as an information technology (IT) professional. If you feel that you have more specialized needs, you might want to find an analyst whose experience has been primarily in your industry. A manufacturer, for example, might prefer to hire an information systems analyst with a strong background working with the software that engineers use to design product models. It is also common, however, for IT firms to work with teams of analysts. A team might be headed by an experienced IT professional who has a number of assistants working for him or her.
Before signing on an information systems analyst, you should schedule a consultation. Most such consultations are free since analysts typically want to make sure that they can help you before they agree to scheduling billed hours. Aside from learning about an analyst's ideas, methods, software knowledge, and experience in your field, you should also learn whether he or she is trustworthy. You will have to work closely with your analyst, often for extended periods of time, so it is important that you find it easy to communicate with him or her.
The best information systems analyst tends to be a professional more concerned with designing effective solutions than with pushing certain products or IT management principles. Make sure that your analyst has had success in a number of different contexts and has used different kinds of technology to solve problems. If you are unsure about an analyst's credentials, you should ask him or her to share some client references or testimonials.
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