IT consulting firms are businesses that provide Information Technology service and support to individuals and businesses. Typically, firms of this type work with a client to structure a viable computer and communication network that will allow the customer to function in the most efficient manner possible. In some cases, the relationship between the IT consulting firm and the client are more or less permanent, with the firm offering long-term management and support in exchange for a monthly fee.
While many people think of IT consulting firms as focusing strictly on computer network setup and function, management consulting firms of this type often address the broader aspects of creating a comprehensive network that also includes issues such as telecommunications and remote data storage. For this reason, the consultant firm is likely to be involved in choices regarding not only the equipment installed, but also the choice of vendors for telephone services, long distance communications, and Internet access. At the same time, the firm will also figure prominently when it comes to decisions on hardware such as internal servers, the choice of cable to connect with work stations, and the types of computer equipment that is used to create each of those work stations.
It is not unusual for IT consulting firms to also be involved in the selection of software for the business network. Here, the goal is to assemble a collection of software components that allow the client to accomplish whatever is needed to conduct business in a timely and efficient manner. Depending on the circumstances, IT consulting firms may engage in the task of helping to customize software packages so the final installation meets specific needs of each of their customers. As with the selection of hardware and the general creation of the communications network, the consultants work closely with clients to assess needs and tailor the networks to best advantage.
Many IT consulting firms forge long-term relationships with their clients, sometimes to provide ongoing service and support. This is particularly true for smaller companies that may choose to not employ a full-time Information Technology team. With this application, the consultant functions as the network overseer, and has the authority to run diagnostics on the system, conduct troubleshooting when and as needed, and do what is needed to keep the network functioning at optimal efficiency. In many cases, compensation for this service is in the form of a monthly fee, plus some additional charges for any type of support that is not covered in the basic terms of the service contract.