Technology consultant… it doesn’t exactly conjure up an image of interpersonal communication prowess. All too often, when you find someone with the skills to meet ones and influence zeros, you’ve found someone who hasn’t quite mastered the social graces. A certain infamous Scott Adams character may spring to mind at this point.
And you need your consultant to understand technology, right? You do – but that’s only the beginning. All the technology expertise in the world won’t help you if you can’t effectively communicate what to do with it. The days of back-office technologists toiling away to prepare your business for the future are over (the nerd cave, geek room, or other endearing monikers) – technology is at your front door. It is often the first interaction with your customers, or the competitive advantage that brought them to you in the first place.
But don’t think that this level of understanding is just for search-engine optimization or help manuals. Being able to relate your needs to technical innovation begins before any code has been written or any servers installed. It begins with understanding your business, your vision, and your culture. Your technology consultant needs to be a partner you can relate to and rely on as you build and grow your business. Technology is as much a foundation of a modern business as the concrete under your floors, and to be successful and efficient your technology consultants must understand who you are.
Don’t let that communication stop with designing your solution. From the first day of implementation to the last day of deployment, you are on the team – or at least you should be. You and your consultant will no doubt discover new ways for the solution to benefit you, or new approaches to meet your goals more efficiently – you need the lines of communication open so your creative ideas can flow freely when they spring to life. Your technology consultants have to be part of your team, and you have to be part of theirs. If you can’t speak plainly to one another – if your consultant can’t speak human as well as they speak machine – you will constantly find yourself on the wrong path. Don’t believe for a second that it has to be this way!