A consultant is an person who provides professional or expert advice in a particular field of science or business to either an organisation or individual. As there is no legal protection given to the job title ‘consultant’, in theory, anyone can on a day wake up and decide to adopt the consultant title. Despite the broad definition that can be subsumed under the term consultant, there are in essence three characteristics that distinguish a consultant from other professions.
Firstly, a consultant provides expertise that a client lacks or support that a client is unable to fulfill. In return for their professional services, the consultant charges a fee. Secondly, a consultant operates independently from the client, implying that, from the respective consultant, there is no conflict of interests between the client’s issue and the services. Thirdly, a consultant operates in a professional manner, which ranges from having the right qualifications to ensuring high quality service delivery and a solid internal operation.
Why do clients hire consultants?
One of the defining features of a consultant suggests that clients hire consultants because they possess a knowledge advantage. In the overlarge majority of cases this is the main reason; a client hires a consulting firm to provide expert advice that ultimately (should) lead to the resolution of an issue within the client’s organisation. There are however more reasons why consultants are hired:
- consultants are independent and provide an objective view on dilemma’s and solutions
- external consultants are less susceptible to internal politics and/or sensitive situations
- hiring consultants may in certain areas be cheaper than retaining the expertise in-house
- when firms find themselves short in capacity for projects/positions consultants can backfill
- consultants can easier do the ‘dirty work’, i.e. take the decisions no one internally wants to make
Where do consultants work?
Consultants can work at a consultancy firm, operate as independent consultant (freelance), or else work as consultant within the company they work for (‘internal consultant’). If you would like to hire a consultancy for your ICT company or any organization involved with IT, you can cound on us, just send an email to [email protected] and we will get back to you.