Professionals who practice software technology consulting meet with clients to help them develop technological solutions. In some cases, a consultant might meet with professionals who wish to implement new business systems, making major changes to their processes. At other times, consultants might meet with clients who simply want to optimize their current systems, adding new applications or plug-ins that can help their employees function more efficiently. Usually, a software technology consultant works closely with a client business's information technology (IT) department to design new system architectures, and may act as a project manager during implementation of a new system.
Most consultants work for software technology consulting firms, which often have specific areas of specialization or niches. For example, one consulting firm might specialize in providing solutions for legal firms, while another might specialize in helping businesses in the manufacturing industry. A professional who practices software technology consulting independently might specialize in working with smaller businesses.
When a software technology consulting professional first communicates with a client, it is normally to learn about the solutions a client is seeking. This stage of the consulting process might even occur before a client commits to hiring a particular consultant, while he or she is still interviewing potential consultants. A client, for example, might feel that his or her customer interfaces are too complex, or that they run on service levels that are too low, causing a client to lose money. A consultant might then discuss options for new customer interfaces and present realistic timetables and costs.
If a client decides to use a particular software technology consulting firm or professional, the next step might be for a consultant to begin analyzing processes in real-time. In other words, he or she might observe business processes to get a sense of where they can be improved. He or she is also likely to analyze statistics to compare volume and productivity levels.
After researching various solutions, it is common for a software technology consultant to compose a report. In this document, he or she might describe potential solutions or even create an outline for system implementation. He or she then might oversee implementation, working closely with in-house IT professionals.
Software technology consulting also can result in long-term IT support. For example, a client who does not have an IT department might approach a consultant about possible solutions. The consultant, in turn, might help the client to contract cost effective IT support through an outsourcing company or IT recruiting firm.