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Software Consulting

Software Consulting: Professional Services and IT Security

by Svitla Team

October 29, 2018
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Software Consulting Services

Software Consulting in IT has long been recognized as a key ingredient to success for businesses that seek an expert take on specific areas. The global IT consulting services market is well above the $45 billion dollar mark and over the years has evolved into what is familiar today: service offerings from experts in specialized fields.

Technology consulting is commonly defined as “focusing  on advising organizations on how best to use information technology, in achieving their business objectives.” With this definition in mind, there are numerous software consulting companies that are available across many industries. n IT specifically, they concentrate on advising organizations about how to meet their goals and objectives by using software most effectively. 

While the main focus of software consulting is to advise organizations on how to best use and apply software to reach their business objectives, it also encompasses a broad range of services and activities for specific professional areas of expertise in a software environment.

Software consulting services can be thought of as a series of phases that include discovery, creation, delivery, and post evaluation. While the industry is still ambiguous about the number of phases and sub-tasks that are essential, the process can be configured to suit a variety of software consulting needs. In this article, we are going to focus on four phases as they are vital for any software consulting services offering. Each phase is comprised of sub-tasks that help identify, define and deploy a software solution for the client.

In this article, we are going to cover these consulting phases to expand on what software consulting entails in the IT industry.

Software Consulting Companies Workflow

Discovery Phase

Driving value for the client begins with the discovery phase. In this phase, software consultant companies deploy a team of consultant experts to begin to assess and identify objectives, collect information, and perform a deep-dive review of the customer’s pain points to suggest comprehensive solutions.

Before the discovery phase, the team of software consultants is most likely briefed on the “what”  aspect of the issue that affects the company. Therefore, during discovery, instead of focusing on the “what”, consultants spend a significant amount of time with the customer to gain insights and uncover the “why” of the problem, issue or constraint they want to be solved. 

  • Identify objectives: This usually happens over several internal staff interviews, external and partner interviews, website and content analysis, review of key objectives, and examination of goals.
  • Data collection: A set of targeted questionnaires, observation, document analysis,  checklists, and other research activities are performed to gather essential data.
  • Review: In this sub-task, the software engineering consultants verify the gathered information with the customer to ensure consistency, accuracy, and understanding.

With a clear understanding of these objectives, the team of consultants identifies the desired outcomes, which can range from increased productivity, increased profits, increased speed, a more streamlined process, an enhanced system or platform, and many more.

Additionally, in this phase, the consultants identify any potential barriers, risks, and constraints that may slow down the project’s progress. 

Once the high-level business and technical requirements are properly identified and documented, the team of consultants presents a thorough plan of action to the client so they can evaluate and give the green light to proceed to the next phase: the creation phase.

Creation Phase

During the creation phase, consultants leverage the information that was collected during the discovery phase to formulate a comprehensive action plan that identifies and documents the tactical and strategic goals for the software project.

Consultants meet with the client to present and “sell” the solution, making sure to align everything with the findings made during the discovery phase and deliver a robust and informed solution.

Once the action plan is defined by the team of consultants and presented to the client, the client then provides feedback to ensure the recommendations are tied to their business goals, strategies, and objectives.

With feedback from the client in place, the team of consultants can refine the approach to ensure everything is in sync with the client’s needs and define metrics to measure progress.

After the client approves the action plan proposal, the project team begins to create the solution for the client.

With the action plan created and approved, consultants move to the next phase of the project: the delivery or roll-out phase.

Delivery Phase

Once the action plan is ready, the team of consultants delivers it to the client and a set of practices take place to ensure a smooth roll-out. These practices include user training, knowledge transfer, and a roadmap for the client.

Along with these practices, the delivery phase consists of:

  • Report: Assist the client by delivering the plan, goals, and metrics to help with the initial roll-out efforts.
  • Support: Support the client during the implementation efforts by verifying progress and performing an inspection of the metrics.
  • Iterate: Revisit the plan, goals, and metrics to update them as necessary to ensure a consistent alignment with business outcomes, even as they change over time.

During the delivery phase of the action plan, consultants oversee and advise the client and their team of in-house professionals as necessary to support a seamless roll-out. After they oversee and advise the delivery of the action plan, the consultancy team usually signs off and hands over the project completely to the client for implementation by the client’s in-house team. 

If the client requests that the consultants stay and solicits help in deploying a team of professionals to implement the solution, the consultants assemble a hands-on, dedicated team of experts solely dedicated to implementing the solution resulting from the action plan. But not all consultancy teams are required to stay during the roll-out phase and if they are required to do so, it should be explicitly and contractually requested by the client.

While some consider the delivery phase the concluding phase, there’s still work to be done in terms of maintenance and support, which is the post-evaluation phase.

Post-evaluation Phase

In the post-evaluation phase, consultants are often required to deliver a concluding set of practices before closing the cycle. These practices involve maintenance, support and post-evaluation reviews of the delivered solution.

As the solution continues to be implemented, it’s important to assess whether it requires updates in specific modules, additions to complement current functionalities, or an overall evaluation to understand if the solution’s behavior is as expected.

While this phase is not mandatory and is frequently overlooked, it can be very valuable to understand the success of a project and make for smooth replication as needed.

The post-evaluation phase provides reliable information about the overall performance of the solution and demonstrable outcomes that show the measurable impact on the organization.

IT Security Consulting

IT Security Consulting is the branch of consulting that covers an organization’s security aspects. Only a decade ago, cyber risks were considered a novelty but nowadays they represent billions of dollars in loss for IT companies.

Information security consulting is a complex effort as new, frequent and sophisticated threats arise on a daily basis and the same goes for defense technologies that try to tackle them. Information security is crucial to protect an enterprise’s network, data, endpoints, and web applications. 

Cybersecurity consultants can help companies minimize or eliminate security breach threats by developing sophisticated cybersecurity strategies to help companies make informed cybersecurity risk management decisions. With the help of competent cyber security consultants, organizations can ensure the optimal protection of their resources.

IT security consulting is committed to performing enterprise-wide research, program review, road-mapping, design solutions, and more, all in the effort of helping companies implement robust cybersecurity programs.

Security consulting revenue means big business, which is why more and more cybersecurity companies are emerging to meet the demands of the market. Cybersecurity companies offer IT security solutions by partnering cybersecurity consultants directly with the client to evaluate and look for weaknesses in design plans and fix any potential threat or issue.

These are some of the most prominent IT security consulting service offerings:

  • Design a security program to secure an organization’s network, software, data, and information systems.
  • Expertly identify threats and vulnerabilities to solve security setbacks via vulnerability testing, risk analyses, and security assessments.
  • Eradicate malware crises by identifying needs to update/upgrade security systems.
  • Outline robust security architectures for IT projects.
  • Methodical assessment of cybersecurity control environments.
  • Evaluate risk and compliance strategies of an enterprise.
  • Identify 3rd party relationships to assess the possibility of a breach or exposure.
  • Aggregate resources and technical supervision to an in-house security team.
  • Secure network and device access with security standards, systems, and authentication protocols.
  • Train employees in security best practices to improve safety and reduce risks.

Conclusion

The right consulting partner can accelerate your company’s growth. There are many business advantages gained from partnering with consulting firms for either one or several professional services and IT security consulting.

At Svitla Systems, we are sure to have the right solution for your business. Regardless of the type or size of a project, we can offer you a team of devoted, highly-capable specialists that are ready to help you and consult with you, as needed.

Do you want to know more about our Software Consulting offerings and capabilities? Reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help.

by Svitla Team
October 29, 2018

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