There can be multiple cases when your in-house expertise does not suffice. There are multiple ways of dealing with this challenge — from hiring the required talent in-house or on freelance to hiring IT consulting experts or delegating the task to an IT outsourcing company. Many companies prefer to get the required consultancy and do the tasks on their own. However, this can be a faulty approach for a variety of reasons we describe below.

First of all, you need to remember the ancient Chinese saying: “Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I will remember. Let me do it, and I will understand.” This is the key difference between consulting and outsourcing — in the former case you are told what to do and due to multiple possible reasons like miscommunications the results can differ quite a lot. In the latter case, the professionals do the job and show you how it’s done (with developer documentation), so you can see how it is done, do it yourself and understand what makes the solution tick. However, let’s look at this situation from another — and very important — point of view.

There are many companies that specialize in IT consulting. Most of them prefer to work with large corporations — huge, bulky behemoths with complex internal systems of dependencies and responsibilities. This way, such companies can provide general guidance on the expected results and attribute the success to their consulting efforts, while failure can be explained by the team inertia or some factors that were not accounted for and could not have been foreseen. 

Most importantly, you will not be able to pinpoint them due to the intricate workings of their contractual obligations, where they never guarantee reaching any measurable results. This way, the reputation of IT consulting companies is based on the successful stories, while failures are shrugged off as inconsequential and irrelevant — while your business can invest quite a fortune of time and money in a project that sank under such guidance.

Quite the contrary, IT outsourcing companies earn their reputation through successfully delivering some measurable results and clearly specify them in their contractual obligations, like SLA and NDA. They strive to earn good customer reviews and independent ratings, so they do all they can to guarantee the success of every project they embark on — and their cheques are much more modest, while they work with startups and large corporations alike.

Thus said, the 3 main advantages of working with an IT outsourcing provider, as compared to working with a pure IT consulting company are as follows:

  • IT consulting provided by professionals. There is a huge difference between IT consulting provided by “experts, gurus and visionaries” and IT consulting provided by professionals that design, implement and maintain cloud systems and processes for real-life projects. The former is based on theory and best practices, the latter on firsthand experience with various systems and processes.
  • IT consulting as a part of IT outsourcing. When you work with an IT outsourcing company and present project requirements — they might offer ready solutions for certain aspects of your project, based on their previous experience. They might also suggest refining the project requirements due to knowing of challenges and roadblocks you are not aware of. This will help reduce time-to-market for your project significantly and save a ton of money on costly mistakes.
  • Measurable results. Unlike experts and visionaries, IT outsourcing teams are used to working with real-life projects, deadlines, sprints and contractual obligations. They deliver the expected results and provide detailed developer documentation. They work directly with your team and explain what must be done, how, and why this is the best approach. This way, your team is able to reproduce the results with little effort and gains a solid understanding of the inner workings of the resulting solutions.

Conclusions: IT consulting must be a part of IT outsourcing, not a separate service

To wrap it up: if you are a startup or small business with limited budgets and a small margin for error, don’t go for the shiny stuff and work with the prominent IT consulting brands. It’s better to work with a team that will implement the project and that puts its reputation at stake. How to find a reliable team then? Look for customer reviews from previous contracts, as they can be both positive and negative. Look for awards and certifications. Look for ratings from independent platforms — and you will be able to make an informed decision!

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