Humans have been storing, retrieving, manipulating, and communicating information since the Sumerians in Mesopotamia developed writing in about 3000 BC, but the term information technology in its modern sense first appeared in a 1958 article published in the Harvard Business Review; authors Harold J. Leavitt and Thomas L. Whisler commented that “the new technology does not yet have a single established name. We shall call it information technology and ever since then IT has become part and parcel of our daily lives. Now ever since IT has become so popular we often need a professional to handle the IT department in order for things to run smoothly.
In management, information technology consulting (also called IT consulting, computer consultancy, business and technology services, computing consultancy, technology consulting, and IT advisory) is viewed as a field of activity that focuses on advising organizations on how best to use information technology (IT) in achieving their business objectives. With never ending competition among businesses to always be the top, companies habitually would engage in an IT consultant in order to not only meet their business expectations but also to make sure that their businesses run efficiently.
An IT consultant works in partnership with clients, as they help advise them on how to use information technology to meet some business objectives as well as overcoming everyday problems. IT consultants work to improve the overall structure and efficiency of your IT systems. They can also work to provide strategic guidance for clients as well as give advice for IT enhancements. IT consultants can also help to provide guidance when you are selecting or procuring expert technical assistance and they can also help with user training and feedback.
That is a lot to handle for an IT consultant but with the right skills one can be a successful IT consultant because combining IT and business knowledge, the world of IT consultancy demands a broad range of expertise. Some of the skills needed would be; leadership ability. communication and interpersonal skills, teamwork skills, a logical approach to problem solving, analytical and technical skills, confident decision making, presentation skills, excellent communication skills, the ability to communicate technical information to non-IT clients and colleagues.
Focusing on mainly the technical skills here, an IT consultant must know how to maintain software on their fingertips. Software maintenance is defined as the process of modifying a software system or component after delivery to correct faults, improve performance or other attributes and to adapt to a changed environment. Software maintenance is a very broad activity that includes error correction, enhancements of capabilities, deletion of obsolete capabilities, and optimization. Because change is inevitable, mechanisms must be developed for evaluation, controlling and making modifications. The purpose is to preserve the value of software over the time. The value can be enhanced by expanding the customer base, meeting additional requirements, becoming easier to use, more efficient and employing newer technology.
Translated to the normal software business, this means you should be careful when designing future releases of your software product. Always try to stay compatible with older versions of your program and this is especially true for component or library vendors. When upgrading to a new release, it is normally not acceptable that existing customers need to change a lot of their code only to use your new version. It’s in your own interest that your customers upgrade your product. If they don’t upgrade, you won’t receive any additional license fees and you have to support older versions forever. One good example would be Microsoft Word who is is so popular till date despite having many competitors come and go they are still standing strong and is the biggest software company in the world. This is because they have maintained their software well and always made it compatible from day one enabling clients to upgrade without any hassle.
Following that would be IT support which means to be able to provide technical assistance or knowledge in the computing world and also to users of technology products such as mobile phones, televisions, software products or other information, electronic or mechanical goods.This is the main reason IT consultants need to have excellent communication skills and the ability to communicate technical information to non-IT clients and colleagues. IT terms may sound perfectly correct to a person in the IT line but on the other hand a layman would think that is Gibberish to them. Hence, IT support is vital at all times in an organisation especially when there is a breakdown in the server room that would affect the productivity of the organisation.
Support and maintenance come hand in hand because software is created from hardware and both of this would need to be constantly maintained. Large businesses that especially dependent on technology would hire IT consultants to manage and maintain their desktops, network infrastructure and servers because they cannot afford to experience downtime as it would affect their businesses. Therefore, support and maintenance is imperative as you cannot afford to run the risk of system failures that impact on productivity and cost companies money.
IT has become an integral part of every company’s landscape and in order to maximise this investment, servers, networks, PCs, printers and peripherals are required to function continuously and an IT consultant fits perfectly in this role.
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