IT Consulting. IT Services. What’s the difference?
In the field of IT management, knowing what you want and what you need can be quite different. Ivan Shkirev of Crumbacher, the Albuquerque IT consulting firm, explains:
At Crumbacher, IT consulting and IT services both fit under the same umbrella. It’s like one is the handle and the other the canopy. Both are necessary. Both are essential.
What is IT Consulting?
Consulting generally is understanding what clients want. “What’s their goal?” Shkirev says. “What are they doing with their business, with their workflows, with their information? And what kind of workspace do they have? Is it a hybrid remote? Are they in the office all the time? Are there multiple offices they need to connect? Are they traveling a lot? All those things.”
He says a consultant examines a client’s present set-up, seeing what’s in place right now and asking not what do they want but what is it they’re really trying to accomplish. For example, a client may say they want to get a $10,000 server to meet their future needs.
Consultants gather information, do some research, apply some thought, and present a solution. Shkirev says, in the end, they don’t need the expensive server, despite the fact they may think they do. What they need is a $100-a-month subscription that more than does the job.
In a town where everybody knows everybody else, integrity counts. “I could make a ton of money selling an expensive server,” Shkirev says, “but I won’t sell it to them if there’s a more economical solution. I don’t ever want somebody fact-checking me and saying the client didn’t need that.”
What are IT Services?
Services, on the other hand, is the part of IT management operating on a day-to-day basis. It’s basic computer support, installing wireless bridges, connecting buildings, and establishing infrastructure. It involves integrating networks, computers, WiFi, phones, cameras, copiers, and whatever equipment keeps business communications going.
Shkirev says, “We provide all those services. The only thing we don’t do is postage machines, for whoever’s still using them. Everything else we do in-house.”
It’s a single-vendor approach rather than having a computer vendor, a copier vendor, a phone vendor, etc. “People work with us because they don’t have to deal with multiple vendors,” he explains. “If the same guys who do your copiers, do your IT and your phones, you’re never going to have to deal with vendor wars.”
Shkirev continues, “You may be putting all your eggs in one basket but, at the same time, there’s only one group of people responsible, and the client knows we can figure out a problem among ourselves and come up with the best solution.”
Crumbacher is aligned with its clients — usually the 8-to-5 work day. But it also has mission-critical clients who may need IT services 24/7, so the company keeps people on call to accommodate them.
A multi-offering vendor, Crumbacher deploys equipment, designs and sets up wireless environments, and builds multi-office/multi-building networks to keep businesses interconnected and resolve user issues.
“Sometimes,” Shkirev says, “our clients need service on their personal computers and we take care of them as well because we don’t want them to go somewhere else and get overcharged by hundreds of dollars for something that’s a little fix.”
Crumbacher has made its reputation from its culture of service in its Albuquerque IT consulting and IT management business. “It’s important for us,” Shkirev says. “And I think our customers appreciate that.”