Learn to work effectively with IT consultants on a contract basis


As your company starts to delve into new high-tech solutions for business intelligence (BI), you might discover that your staff doesn’t have quite the level of technical expertise that you’d hoped. Key employees might not be comfortable getting into advanced data analysis, and their struggles to adapt have the potential to cost your business time and money.

In this situation, it makes sense to nip the problem in the bud by quickly bringing in consultants who can identify your staff’s weaknesses and help get people up to speed. A good consultant is someone who’s highly technically skilled and has a knack for teaching others around them.

A good consultant is someone who’s highly technically skilled and has a knack for teaching others around them.

In all likelihood, you’ll want to get such help from someone on a contract basis, not by hiring them as a full-time employee. After all, once your people have finished ramping up their BI skills, your consultants’ work is done and they can move on.

So what goes into hiring contractors and working with them effectively?

Drawing up a fair contractual agreement

To get help on a temporary basis with using BI solutions at your business, the first step is to find specialists who are willing to work on a contract basis. According to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, a contractor is a little different from a full-time employee. It’s someone who runs their own business and enjoys the autonomy of planning their own workflow.

Working with someone like this requires drawing up a contractual agreement that spells out the consultant’s responsibilities clearly in plain English. There should be no lack of clarity about the individual’s job, as any disagreement can lead to major risk of conflict or business disruption later on.

There are a lot of logistical issues to work out when drawing up such a contract. What sorts of employment taxes will you have to pay? What about contributions to superannuation funds? Insurance? Workers compensation in the event of an injury? All of the above are key points that need to be addressed.

Defining the scope of the work involved

Perhaps the most important part of any contractual agreement is spelling out the exact scope of the work you’re asking for. According to TechRepublic, this is one of the main reasons you need a written contract before bringing in outside help – the goal is to be as specific as possible about defining the job.

If all you tell your consultant in advance is that they’re on board to “provide technical support,” you’re going to be stuck with a worker whose position is too vague and who lacks specific purpose with each day at the office. The result is likely to be wasted time and money for your company. Instead, spell out the specifics – who will the consultant be working with? What specific technical processes are they helping with? What are the long-term goals of the process?

Drawing up a contract requires great attention to detail.Drawing up a contract requires great attention to detail.

It’s wise to define all of these criteria early in the game. It’s often difficult to go back and make revisions to a contractor’s agreement after the fact, so the more you have set beforehand, the better.

Building a solid professional relationship

Over time, you should do what you can to build a solid professional relationship with the contractor you’ve brought in. The more you can trust and understand each other, the easier it will be to get projects done quickly and efficiently.

A good first step in the process is to conduct a thorough interview when evaluating candidates.

CIO.com notes that a good first step in this process is to conduct a thorough interview when evaluating candidates. This should go both ways – you should work hard to know and understand them, and they should do the same for your business. Then, once you’ve hired someone, you should make sure they get an intimate understanding of your company’s methodologies and how they can help.

At the same time, you don’t want to let your consultant too far behind the curtain, as you might risk giving away intellectual property that shouldn’t be in the wrong hands. There’s a delicate balance that needs to be struck there.

Finding solutions to real business problems

If you’re looking for help in the form of business consulting in Melbourne, we’ve got you covered here at AtoBI. What we offer is tailored consultancy services that are designed to meet the specific needs your business is facing.

We believe the solution consulting process begins with good listening. Once we’ve taken the time to learn your business inside and out, we can begin to design and prototype solutions for overcoming your challenges. We have unparalleled expertise in the BI field and a passion for getting results – connect with us today and find out for yourself.