As consultants, we totally depend on integrators to properly execute our designs and to make our concepts become a reality. Just as architects need builders and physicians need pharmacists, security consultants need integrators. I don't sell, install or service anything, and without an integrator to make them a reality, my design drawings are nothing more than pretty pictures.
Good integrators lead to successful projects and make me look good. Conversely, having a bad integrator on a project can make my job a nightmare. I have been fortunate to develop many relationships with quality integrators over the years to the mutual benefit of all parties.
In addition to executing my designs, my integrator friends are an invaluable source of information about what works and what doesn't, and have often steered me away from products and/or design approaches that would have been unsuccessful.
Too often, integrators see consultants as a threat and would prefer that they not be involved in projects. Rarely will an integrator suggest that a client bring in a consultant. In reality, good integrators have everything to gain and nothing to lose whan a consultant is brought in. Many of the integrators that I have worked with over the years have learned this and understand that having a consultant involved is to everyone's benefit.
I have had some bad experiences in the past that have built walls instead of doors.
From both sides of the spectrum. As an example, I have worked with consultants that did not want to take the advice or criticism from the integrators in terms of product experience. It almost seemed at the time that the consultant wanted to have ultimate superiority. To the defense of the consultant, I have also seen project managers make assumptions about product applications and muddy the waters.
I don’t want to give up on the consultant approach as I definitely see the value in the relationship from an integrators perspective. Could you recommend the best approach to building a solid relationship with a new consultant without coming across too sales(y). More specifically – how do consultants prefer to be approached and what gains their attention?
Thanks in advance.
Where's the thread asking Intergrators what value Consultants provide?
I will say as an installer who has never worked with a consultant, I can see the benefits to having a good one to assist the customer is picking something they actually need, not something they just want. Maybe it's just me, but I'm good at giving a customer what they want, and sugesting what they need. But they're not paying me to tell them what they need. When I do it they see it as a sales pitch to make them spend more money.
That being said, I hear of many bad consultants, just as with installers. Good and bad everywhere you go.
As a small company that provides both roles (consulting/design & integration), I guess I don't see the need for a consultant. I think the best approach is one well rounded firm that can offer both services in one solution. Honestly, who knows more about the products? Someone who visits websites and talks to sales reps, or the guy who has to physically install it. Basically, my point is if you have the skills to integrate, yet still have the people skills to be a consultant, why not provide both services and offer a lower cost solution to the end user? When you have two firms, you have two companies looking for profits.
I see value in consultants depending on their organizational abilities. For example – if they are a network architect and are looking to expand into the security market because they receive lots of requests – I place value in their rolodex and in their overall expertise in the IT world. They do not have the security expertise but they have experience in the various new network and server technology which could develop into a back scratching type relationship. Depending on your individual capacity (whether you are a Project Manager or Salesman or Technician), you might place a different value on Consultants. As a Sales Professional in the systems integration world, I find great value in Consultants as an extension of my overall sales strategy. They are bringing opportunities to the table that I might not otherwise be aware of while I am bringing value to them in the way of project expertise or product knowledge.