The task of selecting a telecommunications consultant can be daunting at best. We’ve put together this comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you focus in on the most important aspects of the job. Follow this formula carefully and you will be successful in your search for the right telecommunications consultant for your company.
What Telecommunications Consultants Can Do
The very nature of consulting implies specialization, and a wide variety of telecommunications specialists are available.
You can save time by limiting your search to consultants who regularly do the type of work you want. Consider your need for consulting help from three different perspectives.
WHAT FORM OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS IS INVOLVED IN YOUR COMPANY SITUATION?
Voice—Data—Video—Radio—Facsimile—Microwave—Paging—Broadcast—Program—Telegraph—Wireless—Voice Messaging—Electronic Mail—Teleconferencing—Remote Metering—Frame Relay—Virtual Private Networks—LANs— WANs—Voice over Internet - and the list goes on!
As you can see, there are ALOT of possibilities! Once you’ve narrowed down the areas of telecommunications where you need help, answer these questions:
- Is your operation small, medium or large?
- Is the one location, a few, dozens, or hundreds? (thousands?)
- Are these locations local, national or international?
- Are telephone operations specialized in your type of business?
- How sensitive are your operations to telecommunications (i.e. what is the potential ramifications for technical breakdowns?)
When to Use a Telecommunications Consultant
Now the question arises: Just when do you need to hire a telecommunications consultant? Below are a list of scenarios to help you determine your need for a professional consultant.
1. When you need experienced temporary help.
This situation is often a case where you know what needs to be done, and your personnel either have the skills or could learn them, but you cannot spare the people or time from other tasks.
2. You need specialized skills for a specific project of task.
This scenario results when you know what needs to be accomplished, but you do not have the knowledge or skills available to accomplish the tasks the way they should be done.
You need specialized skills for specific part-time work.
You need and want identified tasks to be performed on a recurring basis, but you do not want to add full-time specialized staff to your payroll. This is a common frustration with companies thinking about engaging a telecommunications consultant.
You simply need a different or “outside” perspective on your telecommunications services or needs.
You sense there may be problems needing resolution, but you cannot seem to pull the pieces together into a workable plan. Or, maybe you believe you know what should be done, but management feels the potential risk or investment warrants additional analysis and recommendations from an outside expert.
It is not a consultant’s role to make your decisions for you.
However, a good consultant can efficiently facilitate inputs, conduct analyses, display and evaluate information in a meaningful way, and reduce related uncertainties so that you can make necessary decisions. Once decisions have been made, it may be cost effective to use a consultant for selected implementation activities.