Emerging Tech

Poll for IT consultants: Do you also consider yourself a Systems Integrator?

In talking to IT consultants, I recently discovered that a lot of them also consider themselves Systems Integrators. I'm interested to know much overlap there is in these two job roles so I'm running this poll for IT consultants to ask them the question.

In talking to IT consultants, I recently discovered that a lot of them also consider themselves Systems Integrators. This may sound self-evident since IT consultants are typically hired to integrate various types of systems into a client's current IT infrastructure, but I'm interested to know much overlap there really is so I'm running this poll for IT consultants to ask them the question.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

10 comments
SCSIcat
SCSIcat

The way I see it, I wear many hats. I'm a database developer, server OS engineer, systems integrator, information systems security officer, qa tester, active directory engineer/administrator, Cisco administrator, etc. There's no one title that describes most IT personnel. Because of the shortage of talent in America, IT infrastructure personnel have to wear multiple hats.

sfsmadrush
sfsmadrush

I agree. It is multiple hats. Though I ended up being an IT consultant because of all the system integration I did. I think doing SI causes the person to exhibit all the traits that a successful consultant needs. SI tends to be a stepping stone towards consulting. But yes, I've been asked to do DB modeling and install SunOS. So the job of a consultant definitely varies.

sfsmadrush
sfsmadrush

I agree. It is multiple hats. Though I ended up being an IT consultant because of all the system integration I did. I think doing SI causes the person to exhibit all the traits that a successful consultant needs. SI tends to be a stepping stone towards consulting. But yes, I've been asked to do DB modeling and install SunOS. So the job of a consultant definitely varies.

jonsaint
jonsaint

When I was in the game (British readers feel free to smile) first and always, the consultant's job was to analyse problems and propose solutions straight from the Company's catalog. Need a new database? Only DB/2 will do. Need an asset management system? Why Tivoli fits the bill (all 37 components of it.) Our reports read like sales brocures. The other big consulting companies have commercial tie-ins with the other hardware players too, so nobody has clean hands among the leaders. I'd be curious to hear from current or former consultants how they were pressured or not to only recommend their employers' products.

Dr. Tarr
Dr. Tarr

...and more like a salesman with a misleading title. To me, the difference is in who pays the bills. I work as a consultant and integrator. I do not sell equipment or software, although I do have technical relationships with the major manufacturers as well as carrying manufacturers certicications. When I am consulting I am being paid by the customer to define requirements, and then assist in evaluating proposals. I work for the customer, and represent the customers interests. Because of the paucity of work in the field I prefer, I also do integration and installaton work, as well as represent manufactures as a technical representative. When a manufacturer hires me to do a site survey, I work for the manufacturer. I do not bid the installation / integration work on projects where I am consulting, or represent anyone other than the client that is paying me, it would be unethical at best, and most of the time is also contractually forbidden. Maybe I have the wrong idea about what a consultant is.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

All consultants/integrators have employers (such as IBM, as you mentioned) or partners that they work with, and will naturally try to gravitate customers towards solutions that they experience with. So here's my question: How often to integrators support competing products so that they can offer multiple options to customers and present a more neutral stance? This is a question for the crowd.

jonsaint
jonsaint

Jason- I've only seen IXX offer HP's stuff once; it was an outsourcing bid for P&G. P&G was already 100 % HP. Three Initial Corporation (3CI) offered to put its financing muscle behind new equipment purchases and use only the net-management products, etc. The bid was won by EDS and subsequent negotiations were broken off. On a smaller bid later on 3IC bid straight 3IC equipment - roll out the HP, roll in the new. Prop was thrown out on its ear. One time (1999) it came back the other way. I was working on an initial SAP installation for a large defense contractor in Texas which was a 3IC-only shop. Nothing but MF (27 LPARs) and DB2 and no UNIX of any kind. SAP-America won the installation bid (SAP Basis if that means anything to you.) Their first move was to try to get the customer IT shop to move to SUN hardware because they did not have anyone on their team who had MF and DB2 skills. Naturally the customer told them to implement the contract they'd signed.

bec
bec

I think your survey is shot... The survey results I got after responding were "100% Yes" and "100% No"... What the? :)

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

It does strange things sometimes for the first respondent. Sometimes it even says 0% across the board. Anyway, it's working now.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

I have to say that to be honest, the may job of a consultant is system integration. 'Course, your average shop needs a LOT more help than system integration, but that's another story.