Planning To Get IT Consulting? How To Propose IT Company Executives

Reading Time: 8 Minutes

Getting Information Technology consulting services for your organization is a big decision. Company leaders need to be fully convinced of the value it can provide. Properly explaining the needs and benefits is crucial for getting approval.

This article guides you through the process of proposing IT consulting to executives. We’ll break it down into easy-to-understand steps using straightforward language.

Identify the Organization’s IT Needs

The first step is understanding why your company requires IT consulting expertise. What technological challenges is the business facing? Likely issues include:

Legacy Systems Holding You Back

Many businesses find themselves in a situation where they are still relying on outdated or legacy IT systems and software. These obsolete technologies can become a significant hindrance to operational efficiency and growth. When a company is using systems that are no longer supported or maintained, it can lead to compatibility issues, security vulnerabilities, and a lack of access to the latest features and improvements.

Information technology consultants can provide a fresh perspective by evaluating the company’s current setup and recommending strategies for modernizing critical systems. They have the expertise to identify which legacy systems need to be replaced or upgraded and can suggest technology solutions that align with the company’s specific requirements and budget. By migrating to newer technologies, the business can benefit from improved performance, enhanced security, and access to cutting-edge features that can drive innovation and productivity.

Lack of In-House IT Expertise

In many organizations, there is a lack of employees with specialized IT skills in certain domains, such as cybersecurity, cloud migration, and AI/ML implementation. While the in-house IT team may excel in managing day-to-day operations, they may not have the specialized knowledge required to tackle complex or emerging technologies.

IT consultants can fill these knowledge gaps with their focused expertise. They have undergone extensive training and have hands-on experience in their respective domains, allowing them to provide valuable insights and guidance. By leveraging the expertise of technology consultants, the company can access the necessary skills and knowledge without the need to hire and train full-time employees, which can be a time-consuming and costly process.

Need to Cut Costs or Boost Productivity

Organizations are constantly seeking ways to streamline operations, reduce costs, and boost productivity. However, identifying areas for improvement can be challenging, especially when it comes to complex IT systems and processes. This is where seasoned IT consultants can play a crucial role.

IT consultants have the ability to analyze a company’s existing processes and infrastructure with an objective and fresh perspective. They can identify inefficiencies, redundancies, or outdated practices that may be contributing to higher costs or hindering productivity. By leveraging their expertise and experience from working with various clients across industries, consultants can recommend technology solutions tailored to the organization’s specific needs.

These solutions may involve optimizing existing systems, implementing new technologies, or adopting best practices that have proven successful in similar environments. Consultants can also provide guidance on automating repetitive tasks, streamlining workflows, and integrating disparate systems for better collaboration and data sharing. Ultimately, their recommendations aim to reduce operational costs while simultaneously improving productivity and efficiency.

Poor Scalability and Flexibility

As businesses grow and evolve, their IT infrastructure needs to adapt to meet the increasing demands. However, many organizations find that their legacy systems struggle to scale effectively, leading to performance issues, bottlenecks, and limitations in capacity.

IT consultants can play a crucial role in ensuring that a company’s IT infrastructure has the necessary scalability and flexibility to accommodate future growth and changing requirements. They can assess the current systems and identify potential bottlenecks or limitations that may hinder scalability.

Consultants can then recommend solutions that enable organizations to scale their IT resources dynamically, such as cloud computing, virtualization, or modular architectures. These solutions often offer greater flexibility, allowing businesses to rapidly provision additional resources as needed without being constrained by physical hardware limitations.

Furthermore, consultants can advise on implementing robust monitoring and automation tools to proactively manage and optimize the IT infrastructure as it scales. This helps ensure that the systems remain performant, secure, and cost-effective, even as the business grows and its needs evolve over time.

Determine the Type of IT Consulting Needed

Not all IT consulting is the same. IT consulting firms have several types aimed at different organizational needs and goals. Know which one best fits your situation:

IT Strategy Consulting 

These big-picture consultants assess your overall IT strategy, vision, and roadmap for long-term strategic planning. They ensure technology investments align with business objectives.

IT Advisory Consulting 

A consulting firm with advisory consultants provides professional guidance and oversight for key IT initiatives like digital transformation, enterprise system implementations, or data center relocations.

IT Staff Augmentation 

Known as resource augmentation, this consulting model provides temporary IT professionals to supplement your in-house team’s skills and bandwidth during periods of high demand.

Managed IT Services 

With managed IT services, an external services provider, like MSPs in Melbourne or in other locations, manages and maintains part or all of your IT infrastructure, systems, and support through an outsourcing relationship.

IT Project Consulting 

These consultants offer project-based support for complex, one-off IT initiatives or deployments outside your team’s capabilities – like an ERP rollout or cloud migration.

Once you know the type of assistance required, research reputable information technology consulting firms with experience delivering those services for companies similar to yours.

Calculate Potential ROI and Business Benefits

To build a strong business case, estimate the potential return on investment (ROI) from leveraging IT consulting expertise. Though costs vary, the ROI often justifies the expenditure through:

Cost Savings and Avoidance

By optimizing processes, legacy modernization, smarter vendor management, and improved IT planning – consultants help reduce expenses and avoid future costs.

Efficiency and Productivity Gains 

With optimized systems, streamlined operations, and automated workflows – IT consulting drives significant productivity boosts for employees across departments.

New Revenue Opportunities 

Technology optimizations enable businesses to offer new products/services, enter new markets, or create new revenue streams that were previously unviable.

Risk Mitigation and Compliance 

Consultants ensure systems meet security, data privacy, and regulatory compliance standards to avoid costly breaches, penalties, and reputational damage.

Competitive Advantage 

Information technology consulting gives you access to specialized knowledge and innovative tech capabilities that set you apart from industry competitors who are still relying on legacy systems.

Use industry research, case studies, and your internal data to quantify in dollars the potential ROI and benefits expected from IT consulting companies within one to three years. Having big data substantiates the investment.

Build a Solid Project Plan and Scope

To propose a credible initiative, you need a thorough yet easy-to-understand project plan and scope document detailing the following:

Project Overview and Objectives 

Explain the overarching goals, expected deliverables, and what success looks like in simple, straightforward terms.

Service Scope and Specifications

Clearly outline the managed IT services required, supported technologies, systems impacted, geographic coverage, and more.

Project Approach and Methodology 

Describe the high-level consulting approach, project phases, key activities, and methodologies the consultants would follow.

Project Timelines and Milestones 

Provide estimated start and end dates, duration, phases, and major milestones – but allow flexibility for complexities.

Requirements and Dependencies 

List technical prerequisites, data, team resources, client responsibilities, and internal/external dependencies required.

Cost Estimates and Budget 

Based on scope, include cost estimates for consulting fees, expenses, software/hardware, internal labor, and the overall budget needed for hiring consulting companies.

Risk Assessment and Mitigation Plan 

Identify potential risks, issues, and constraints, and outline strategies for proactively mitigating and managing those risks.

With a comprehensive plan, executives understand what’s involved, the commitment required, and what you aim to accomplish with strategic IT consulting.

Choose the Right Presentation Approach

How you communicate the IT consulting proposal impacts how persuasive and compelling it comes across. Choose the optimal style for executive preferences:

Written Proposal

A detailed written proposal document provides an in-depth look at all aspects in an easy-to-reference format.

PowerPoint Presentation

A slide deck presentation with visuals covers key points succinctly while allowing time for live discussions and questions.

Interactive Meeting 

Interactive meetings with handouts create an open discussion atmosphere for walking through the proposal collaboratively.

Combination Approach 

Or, you can use a combination – kick things off interactive, follow with a slide presentation, and provide proposal handouts for future reference.

Match the level of formality to what leadership expects. Balance being comprehensive while still making a smooth, convincing pitch that speaks to executives.

Practice Your Delivery

Whether written or oral, practice your delivery approach thoroughly beforehand to smooth out any potential issues and fine-tune it.

For presentations, run through the entire slide deck out loud, checking audio/visual equipment for readiness. Have colleagues provide feedback on timing, flow, and clarity.

With written proposals, do multiple review rounds – editing each time for clarity, tone, professionalism, and eliminating jargon. Consider having a technical writer assist.

Be overprepared. Know common executive objections and questions, with clear rebuttals and answers ready. Practice your responses out loud to sound natural.

Schedule a dry run meeting to simulate the real delivery environment. This builds comfort and confidence. Lastly, ensure all materials are properly formatted and printed.

Make the Case for Value and ROI

The core of your delivery focuses on articulating the IT consulting value proposition and projected ROI to justify the expense:

Cost-Benefit Analysis 

Support recommendations with a cost-benefit analysis comparing current vs future state costs and ROI estimates over one to three years post-implementation.

Example Success Metrics 

Give quantifiable targets up front for metrics you’ll improve – like 25% cost savings, 40% faster processes, 60% fewer service outages, etc.

Case Studies and Examples 

Incorporate relatable case study examples of companies similar to yours achieving strong results with these types of consulting engagements.

Executive Testimonials 

Find and include quotes from industry executives who have leveraged strategic IT consulting to achieve major benefits and competitive advantages.

Risk Mitigation 

Highlight risk reduction aspects like enhanced security, compliance, disaster recovery, and business continuity enabled by consulting.

ROI is the most crucial selling point. Back up claims with big data, research, metrics, and evidence from real-world cases to prove consulting ROI outweighs costs.

Involve Executives Early and Address Objections

Getting executive buy-in early is ideal versus blindsiding later. Involve them from the outset:

Identify Executive Sponsors 

Find leaders open to new initiatives that will act as internal sponsors championing the IT consulting recommendation and benefits.

Get Feedback Early 

Once you have a draft plan, share it with executives for early input. Be open to feedback and refining the approach based on their perspectives.

Address Potential Concerns Head-On 

Executives may have concerns over consulting costs, timelines, internal change management, or business disruptions. Get ahead of and directly address those objections upfront.

Compromise When Possible

You may need to compromise on scope, budget, or timeline based on their input. Aim to find a middle ground by prioritizing and phasing aspects over time.

Securing early executive participation, addressing their concerns transparently, and demonstrating willingness to adjust goes a long way in gaining approval.

Summarize and Reiterate Throughout

Don’t propose strategic IT consulting as a one-and-done discussion. Reinforce key points through multiple touchpoints:

Start With an Executive Summary 

Upfront, provide a brief one to two-page executive summary highlighting the key reasons, recommendations, costs, and projected benefits for easy reference.

Recap During the Presentation 

Whether oral or written, frequently summarize and restate main points about the IT consulting needs, approach, costs, and ROI projections.

Reinforce in Follow-Up Communications 

After the formal proposal, send follow-up emails recapping discussion points and next steps. Reiterate the core value proposition.

Consistently Tie Back to Business Goals

 Always connect how IT consulting services directly support and enable achieving the organization’s overarching business goals and strategies.

Build Consensus Through Repetition 

Repetition reinforces. By reemphasizing key points through multiple mediums, you steadily build consensus around the IT consulting recommendation.

The more you can concisely summarize the compelling reasons, approach, and ROI potential – the more likely leadership will understand and approve moving forward.

Prepare for Questions and Objections

Even with a comprehensive proposal, questions and objections often arise that require thorough responses. Prepare for potential hurdles like:

Budget Constraints 

Executives may balk at perceived high consulting costs. Have lower-cost options ready and highlight long-term ROI over short-term expenses.

Internal Resistance to Change

Prepare a change management plan for getting employee buy-in and make a case for why transformational change is needed.

Alternative Options Exist 

They may argue that internal skills should be developed first. Explain why external technical expertise is still needed for expediency and knowledge transfer.

Lack of Perceived Value 

If executives don’t grasp the value, walk through ROI calculations and success metrics again. Use case studies as proof.

Vendor Lock-in Concerns

Ensure they understand exit strategies and knowledge transfer to avoid long-term dependency on the consultants.

By anticipating queries upfront and having thoughtful rebuttals ready, you demonstrate preparation and build trust that you’ve fully thought this through.

Outline the Next Steps and Close Successfully

As you wrap up, refer to your original objectives and reasons for seeking a consulting firm. Summarize how the recommended path addresses those needs concisely.

Then, discuss the next steps should the proposal get approved, such as:

  • Forming project teams and determining roles
  • Defining requirements gathering and planning stage
  • Creating request for proposal (RFP) and vendor evaluation
  • Projected consulting engagement timelines

Ensure all decision-makers are aligned on finances, timeline, responsibilities, and internal resources required to move forward smoothly.

Most importantly, close with a confident call-to-action restating the undeniable business benefits and competitive advantages strategic IT consulting will provide. Reaffirm why this investment is crucial for long-term success.

With thorough preparation, an ROI-focused proposal, and professional delivery – you’ll have made the strongest case for getting leadership’s approval.

Conclusion

Gaining approval for IT consulting expenditures requires diligent preparation and an airtight business case focused on value, ROI, and strategic business enablement.

By following the guide – from scoping needs, calculating ROI, creating a solid plan, making a compelling pitch, addressing objections, summarizing benefits, and outlining the next steps – you’ll maximize your chances of securing executive approval.

With the right IT consulting partner’s technical expertise augmenting your internal team, you’ll be better positioned to modernize systems, operate efficiently, reduce risks, and maintain a competitive edge.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

Join our list for exclusive tips, content and a welcome gift – our ebook on how to engage your team and boost profits.