Digital transformation was trending long before the outbreak of COVID-19. In fact, organizations have been automating work that had previously been done manually for the past decade, at least. From cloud-based inventory to mobile apps to customer chatbots, examples of digital transformation (or the integration of processes, information and business units through digital technology) are vast and growing. Digital transformation enables efficiency by automating rote tasks, like scheduling a technician to install internet services through a self-scheduling tool instead of waiting on hold to speak with a live customer service representative; or allowing us to remote deposit checks through a bank’s mobile app or track the delivery of a package in real-time.
Some organizations had been watching from the sidelines to decide what and how they would digitize while others were budgeting and planning for future digital transformation projects – and then COVID-19 hit. In overnight fashion, digital transformation went from a nicety to a business imperative. In short, digital transformation has become about business survival.
While most organizations continue to operate in a remote, scaled back or otherwise altered capacity as a result of COVID-19, all organizations are prioritizing the ability to connect with customers and each other. Regardless of what the new normal, or the “next normal,” as McKinsey calls it, looks like, the COVID-19 recovery will be digital.
So, how will all of these digital transformation projects get done, and, perhaps more importantly, who will do the work? The answer is IT consultants.
The Dawning of a New Digital Age, Powered by IT Consultants
Digital transformation is happening all around us, and in rapid succession. According to Forbes, 97 percent of executives say the coronavirus pandemic sped up their digital transformation, and McKinsey states that the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the digitization of customer interactions by several years. The primacy organizations place on these forms of technologies is increasing, and so too is mainstream adoption. In this regard, COVID-19 has had a tremendous equalizing effect; digital transformation is not just happening across the Fortune 500, it is happening in big businesses and small businesses and across industries.
The push to invest in digital transformation as a result of COVID-19 will require an ongoing mix of IT experts, including project consultants whose skills will be needed to stand up, implement and support newly adopted forms of technology but who may not be needed long-term or beyond delivery of initial project objectives. The organizations that were able to successfully respond to the pandemic, meaning they were able to act swiftly to implement COVID-19-inspired changes, like adapting processes and systems as cohorts of the workforce began working from home, were the same organizations that are fluent in filling technology talent gaps with expert IT consultants. Their use of advanced technologies and the speed at which they were able to innovate early on is a testament to an ability to recognize when outside project resources are needed – and also where to go to find them.
From upgrades to support services after go-live, strategy, security, maintenance and a host of other subsequent work as a result of the increased use of digital technology, IT consultants are enabling organizations to make the critical connections they so desperately need to be making with their customers right now, and they’re allowing them to do so safely and efficiently.
The Mutual Benefits of IT Consulting
Among other things, digital technology has continued to change the terms of work. Rather than “standard” long-term contracts, digital technologies have given rise to more short-term work – another trend pre-dating COVID-19. The pandemic, however, has pushed things to an inflection point, as noted by Harvard Business Review, “where embracing technology is no longer an option but a necessity.” The resulting “gigs” make certain kinds of work more accessible and flexible, which is good, usually, for both the consultant and the organization needing their expertise.
An additional benefit of IT consultants is that they come equipped with recent and previous project experience. Instead of solely relying on in-house technology professionals who may have experience spearheading one implementation throughout their career, for example, an organization can tap into expert project resources well-versed in implementations, with several under their belt. Not only does this provide critical outside perspective but it comes with no strings attached; IT consultants are engaged for specific deliverables and once complete they can either be retained for an additional length of time, if needed, converted as full-time employees, if interest in doing so is mutual, or they can simply move onto their next contract.
Contracting and the gig economy is gaining traction in other fields of work, but it has been a popular work arrangement within technology for quite some time. Career IT consultants, or those interested solely in contracting engagements, are especially valuable and come with varied experience usually using the newest and most advanced forms of technologies. More than that, they have experience road mapping for organizations, knowledge sharing with internal employees, and successfully transferring projects back to internal stakeholders.
The road ahead is undoubtedly teeming with more unknowns that will require ingenuity, swift action and technology. IT project consultants continue to answer the call for all three.
We believe the future belongs to innovators and problem-solvers. It’s our job to create connections that inspire success. That’s why we’ve spent 20+ years building strong relationships and bringing together top tech talent and forward-thinking companies. Signature Consultants joined forces with DISYS to offer a more diversified portfolio of services. Through our company's IT staffing, consulting, managed solutions and direct placement services, we deploy thousands of consultants each year to support client’s tech needs across the U.S. Signature Consultants is also parent company to Hunter Hollis. Learn more at sigconsult.com.