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Why You (Probably) Don’t Need a Consultant For Your Business Software

Listen: I know this post is strange. As a consultant, it’s strange to broadcast to the world that “Hey, you probably don’t need us.” Counterproductive, right?

And before I get a call from my higher-ups, I should quickly add a caveat: most businesses don’t need software consulting in its current form.

Here’s what I mean. Type “software consultant” into Google and see what comes up. You’ll likely find pages of software resellers, all primed and keyword optimized to sell you crap software.

Most of these consultants base their business model off licensing fees and retainers. They get the fees from selling their partner’s software (*AHEM* Microsoft and Salesforce *AHEM*), and they sign clients up on multi-year support contracts.

Thing is, it’s true. Most small and medium-sized businesses don’t need software consulting anymore.

Now, the reseller model worked fine 20 years ago. In those days, companies either had significant in-house support for their IT infrastructure, or they outsourced it to technical experts, who did the dirty business of keeping things running. Since the marketplace was limited, it didn’t matter that consultants were tied to one or two vendors. And since the work was largely technical, the contracts were merited (and necessary).

But that’s all changed. Microsoft and Salesforce aren’t the only vendors in town, not anymore. And since those products are intended for larger businesses, they aren’t a good fit for most small and mid-sized businesses anyway.

Cloud computing has changed the game. Businesses don’t need to update or maintain software anymore — that’s all done on the vendor’s side, along with customer service and (in the best cases) training materials. Why would you sign a retainer for the same services?

Now, before we go further, lets be clear: there are still use-cases for consultants. My own firm is a case in point. We help companies navigate their options and find what software is out there; we offer technical customization and reporting; we offer individualized training.

But most businesses don’t need these services, especially not the smallest outfits with limited resources. They’ll be just fine being agile with their software, testing options out, and only using consultants when they lack real technical knowledge, expertise, or time.
And those consultants, the ones I’ve been bad-mouthing? It’s time to change. Businesses won’t be suckered forever. Besides, there’s plenty of money in offering real value — it’s just not where it used to be.

VM Associates is a New York City cloud computing consulting firm. We help companies transition into newer, better, smarter software. Contact us to talk about your business, the cloud, and how we might help.

The post Why You (Probably) Don’t Need a Consultant For Your Business Software appeared first on VM Associates.

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Chris Bliss works at VM Associates, an end-user consultancy for businesses looking to move to the cloud from pre-existing legacy systems.

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