Building the IT Practice is a clear and practical guide organized to help design, build, and manage lucrative consulting practices. Building on the advisory methodologies described in the author's previous book, The IT Consultant, this book goes beond the personal practices and behaviors presented in that work to offer a roadmap to the creation of an IT Professional Services business. This book focuses on the basics of building a consulting business, dicussing such core issues as the creation of a unique marketing message, the design of a firm-wide delivery methodology, and the recruitment and retention of world-class sales and talent.
It takes more than technical expertise to be an information technology (IT) consultant! That simple premise has been the foundation of Rick Freedman's previous books, The IT Consultant
and The eConsultant
. In his books, columns, and his consulting practice, international expert and advisor Rick Freedman has coached thousands of IT experts in the behaviors and best practices of the consulting profession. His books and columns have achieved worldwide readership and established Freedman as a leading expert in the area of IT services and consulting. Now, Freedman turns his focus to the managers and entrepreneurs who build and direct IT professional services firms. In this comprehensive volume, Freedman shows that it takes more than consulting skills to be a successful IT entrepreneur or manager! Building the IT Consulting Practice
addresses the full range of issues that IT service firms face every day, from recruiting and retaining talented consultants, to marketing and selling complex solutions, to managing the financial metrics of utilization, rate, and profit.
Based on his twenty years of experience as an IT consultant and firm manager, and his exposure to the good and bad of IT practice through his consulting engagements with leading IT firms worldwide, Freedman helps IT entrepreneurs and managers navigate the complex challenges of succeeding in the crowded and competitive IT services arena. Full of real-world stories and case histories, as well as the "tips and tricks" of an experienced coach and mentor, Building the IT Consulting Practice is the essential first step in the path towards success as an IT services firm entrepreneur, manager, or consultant.
Rick Freedman is an author, journalist, consultant, and trainer. His previous books The IT Consultant and The eConsultant have achieved worldwide readership. Rick writes the "Consultant Master Class" column for TechRepublic.com, the IT professional web community. He teaches IT project management, IT consulting, and information technology courses at the college level at various institutions in the United States. Rick is the founder and CEO of Consulting Strategies, Inc., dedicated to helping IT service firms develop world-class consulting practices, and in the last year has trained and consulted for global IT firms across the United States and in the United Kingdom, Germany, India, Japan, and China. Visit Rick's website at www.consulting-strategies.com or contact him at .
Acknowledgments.Preface.ONE: What Is the IT Consulting Business?The Size and Shape of the Business.The Range of Service Possibilities.Common Elements.TWO: The Structure of the Practice.Sole Proprietor.Partnership.Corporation.Elements in Common.Putting It All Together.Interview with Ken Taormina.THREE: The Basic Financial Model.Utilization.Rate.Fee Capacity.Measuring Performance.FOUR: Vision and Mission.Broad or Deep?Strategic Planning.The Planning Process.The Vision Thing.From Products to Services.The Lessons of Migration.FIVE: Process and Methodology.A Sales Planning Process.A Proposal Process.A Scope of Work Standard.A Stakeholder Participation Process.A Risk Analysis Process.A Project Planning Process.A Status Reporting Process.A Set of Solution-Specific Toolkits.A Change Management Process.An Issues Management Process.A Post-Project Review to Assess Customer Satisfaction and Gather Lessons.Interview with Malcolm Frank.SIX: Sales and Marketing.Challenges.The Four R's of Service Marketing.Selling the Intangible.Interview with Andrew Bibby.SEVEN: Organizational Culture.Recruiting for Attitude and Motivation.Ethics and Professional Responsibility.Accountability.Open Book Management.Coaching and Mentoring.Atmosphere.EIGHT: Consultant Development.Technical Training.Project Skills Development.Communication and Advisory Skills Development.Business Skills Development.Project Assignments.Mentoring.NINE: Growing and Improving the Firm.Growing the Firm.Improving the Firm.TEN: Conclusion.Bibliography.About the Author.Index.
"...he intelligently observes his field and takes sound positions on almost everything." (Consulting to Management, Vol 15, no. 2; 6/1/2004) "...the essential first step in the path towards success as an IT services firm entrepreneur, manager, or consultant..." (mcsemag.eu.org March 20, 2003)
"?he intelligently observes his field and takes sound positions on almost everything." (Consulting to Management
, Vol 15, no. 2; 6/1/2004)Â
??the essential first step in the path towards success as an IT services firm entrepreneur, manager, or consultant?? (mcsemag.eu.orgÂ March 20,Â 2003)
"Rick Freedman's soup-to-nuts guide to building an IT business should be on every consultant's bookshelf. Whether you are a solo practitioner or running a corporation, you'l'l find exactly the practical wisdom you need to make your IT consulting business thrive."
Â— C. J. Hayden, author, Get Clients Now!
"Rick delivers a comprehensive roadmap for successfully structuring, managing, and measuring the IT services organization. His focus on the human, technical, and business elements provides a framework for anyone managing or building a services."
Â— Rich Echevarria, general manager, Intel Solution Services, Worldwide
"There is something here for every IT consultant. Too many IT consulting firms focus solely on the technology. This book describes the operational factors that are critical to increasing consulting professionalism. Understanding and executing on the imperatives in this book will help to increase quality and efficiency, and drive greater project success. Consultants and their customers alike can use these best practices to increase project value."
Â— Jeff Vilimek, principal consultant, Microsoft Consulting Services
"Building the IT Consulting Practice is a must-read for any consulting professional responsible for the management, development, and delivery of IT consulting services. The author's masterful use of case studies, interviews, and 'best practice' techniques reinforces the topics with great clarity. With a span of coverage from marketing to methodology, this book serves as a great reference for IT consultancies at any stage of their development."
Â— Scott Monaghan, U.S. Manager of Service Development, VERITAS Software Corporation
"Rick Freedman has compiled a thoughtful and encyclopedic profile of the prototypical IT consulting firm. The book is full of sensible advice for any human-capital-intensive organization."
Â— Tom DeMarco, author, Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency and Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams
"Success with clients is based on adding value along a number of dimensions, not just providing technical expertise. Rick Freedman understands this better than any IT consultant I have ever met, and he has set out an invaluable roadmap for building a thriving practice that acquires clients with ease and keeps them for life."
Â— Andrew Sobel, author, Clients for Life and Making Rain
BUILDING THE IT CONSULTING PRA
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