Information Technology Consulting
Information technology consulting (IT consulting, technology consulting or business and technology services) is a field that focuses on advising businesses on how best to use information technology to meet their business objectives. In addition to providing advice, IT consultancies often implement, deploy, and administer IT systems on businesses' behalf.
The IT consulting industry can be viewed as a three-tier system:
- Professional services firms which maintain large professional workforces and command high bill rates. These firms are increasingly sourcing their employees from low-cost nations.
- Staffing firms, which place technologists in businesses on a temporary basis. These firms are pejoratively known as "body shops". While they are geographically limited by their customers, they can exploit global cost differences by bringing guest workers to their host country. Body Shops are typically distinguished from Consultancies by their commercial practice of pricing service by the day (the input), rather than by the results of their work (the outputs, or deliverables).
- Independent consultants, who function as contractors (in the U.S, on "1099"), employees of staffing firms (in the U.S, employed on "W-2"), or as subcontractors in their own right.
There is a relatively unclear line between management consulting and IT consulting. There are sometimes overlaps between the two fields, but IT consultants often have degrees in computer science, electronics, technology, or management information systems while management consultants often have degrees in accounting, economics, Industrial Engineering, finance, or a generalized MBA (Masters in Business Administration).
According to the Institute for Partner Education & Development, IT consultants' revenues come predominantly from design and planning based consulting with a mixture of IT and Business Consulting. This is different from a Systems Integrator in that you do not normally take title to product. Their value comes from their ability to integrate and support technologies as well as determining product and brands.