The 6 keys of the good IT Consultant

In my previous blog entry, I shared a story that none of us ever wishes to be in. I also shared what I did when it actually happened to me.
This time, I want to talk about the six crucial questions you should ask your client.

1    Who turns on and off the servers manually?
You may not think so but it can be fairly common for a server to turn off by itself. There are also many instances when a server needs to be switched off manually.
You must know who is the person in charge of this task, making sure to check with him or her. You should also know who his/her back-up is. Be careful when turning off a server as you may turn off tools of other areas. Confirm with other users the restart of a server, as to do it at the half of a Month Closing could be your end.

2    Who is the contact in case of an emergency?
Sometimes unfortunate situation can happen so it is key to know who to contact (whether an individual or a team) when having a high level request, how to mobilize specific teams or how to request emergency materials such as laptops or servers.
Of course, these contacts should only be engaged in true emergencies.

Everybody is very busy and any conversation or deal can be forgotten.


3    Are the servers virtual or physical ones?
When you do a backup, ideally, should be stored in a different building, than the original database. If this is not the case, they should at least not be kept in the same physical server.
If you are interested in knowing more about this point, just make me know.

4    When are the security backups done and how can they be re-installed?
This point is easily forgotten as most of us assume it is under control. Don’t keep your client waiting when you need to recover some piece of data and you are scrambling to find out who is in charge of periodically processing the security copies. It is important to know the procedure beforehand.
Personally, I would ask the Consulting firm you are working with about this instead of the client.

5    What if no security backups are being recorded or their quality is unreliable?
After first debating this internally with your own company, draft a proposal for your client to establish a process to procure quality security copies.
It might not seem like it but this is critical. When security copies are needed, not having them can result in severe monetary losses and employees losing their jobs.

6   Save your Customer’s Communication
This is not a question but it’s important. Preferably save the information in writing (email or such), with the confirmation on the procedure of the involved ones. Even if discussed over the phone, a written recap shared with the other speaker can be easily located when required. Everybody is very busy and any conversation or deal can be forgotten.

At least, remember to request all this valuable data in a professional and kind manner, people will be more eager to help you if they like you.

Did you have any similar experience? If so, please share and if you don’t want to lost a track, register with your email to receive Cobaltaire’s newsletters.

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