Your company has a big project coming up: a mission-critical application your company wants to launch three months from now. It’s your job to decide who is going to build the software. You’ve got a lot of choices: there are a range of technology consulting companies who submit proposals to you for the project, from offshore companies to brand new consulting groups to local established technology consultants.
It’s a tough decision but because your leadership has made it clear that having the project done on or under budget is very important. Therefore, you offer the contract to the technology consulting company with the least expensive proposal.
Then you wait for a project that never materializes.
You start realizing something’s wrong about a month in — your technology consulting company has a lot of questions for you every time you meet but there’s never any progress. Soon, you are approaching the deadline you set for your application’s launch. Now you have a problem: there’s no application and you have to hire another company to come in and clean up the mess made by the less expensive consulting company.
You were trying to save money by choosing the least expensive consultant; now you’re paying a lot more and waiting three more months before your application can launch.
What happens when you cut corners with software development?
If finding the right IT consultant seems overwhelming, that’s understandable. The software and IT consulting market is growing and there are many types of consultants to choose from and they all offer different price points. Your options include offshore consulting companies, coding boot camp grads, recent graduates from college and more experienced developers. Who do you choose and more importantly, how do you know what rate you should be paying?
Fortunately, the answer is simple when it comes to development: you get what you pay for. Technology consultants with experience usually command higher rates for a reason. What happens when IT consulting companies have low rates? Well, there’s usually a reason for that too.
Here are two common low-rate scenarios:
- Your company awards a contract to an offshore technology consulting company with very low rates. In a best-case scenario, that IT consultant will code whatever you tell them to do. In a worst scenario, no coding gets done and there’s very little accountability because you’re working across international borders. It’s going to be hard to take one of those companies to court.
- The technology consulting company you’ve awarded your contract to hires recent college grads as developers. Junior developers may be good at coding, and they write the exact code you’re asking for, but they also might get stuck because they’re new to the industry. It’s a matter of experience; junior developers may not yet know where the pitfalls of a project like yours are and they may get confused about which tools they need to use for the job.
If those companies mess up your project, you’re going to have to call in a more expensive company to clean up after them and that’s going to cost you.
The dangers of in-house software development
What if you DIY? It can be tempting, if your organization already has developers on staff, to simply decide to build your software in-house. That’s a different kind of corner-cutting and it may also cost your organization more than you anticipated.
Often, when Omni has been brought in to take over a project that’s been attempted in-house, our consultants find a team that’s been trying to work on a project for six months, when it should have taken three. That’s not the in-house team’s fault — many times they’re too busy with their core responsibilities, like support and maintenance, to dedicate three months of their time to building new software, and sometimes, building a new application is way out of the IT team’s wheelhouse. They may have some proficiency with that sort of work but often Omni’s consultants will come in to find a database partially built or an app that’s mostly done. Sometimes Omni can take over and push that project across the finish line but other times, the project needs to be scrapped and rebuilt.
Your company may be trying to save money by doing building an app internally but in the long run you may not be doing anyone any favors — your in-house team is already busy and any technology consultants you bring in would rather build the project from the ground up than try to salvage a project gone wrong. And of course, your CFO won’t thank you if the project goes from under-budget to over-budget.
Why do you need an experienced technology consultant?
Here’s the thing. Even the best-case scenarios above — the ones in which the inexperienced developers write the exact code you’ve asked for — aren’t great, because (unless you’re well-versed in development yourself) what you don’t want in an IT consultant is a yes-man. You want a consultant who works with you to help you solve your organization’s challenges with technology.
For example, you may think you need blockchain when you really just need a database. An experienced consultant will listen to your business challenges and walk you through the things you need to do to solve them, explaining the must-haves and the nice-to-haves, helping you understand if you should build and app or buy it and help you evaluate different solutions. Omni, for example, only hires experienced, local developers. Those consultants don’t just jump in and start coding — they learn about your organization, your needs and the way you work before offering a variety of solutions that will help you achieve your goals. They may even show you where you can cut corners without sacrificing performance.
An experienced technology consultant isn’t just a developer — they’re your partner and project manager. And they’ll save you money in the long run.
Ready to talk to an experienced IT consultant?