Consultants can be valuable allies for an organization that needs help with work that it doesn’t have the resources to accomplish. In most cases, IT—from support workers to the CIO—does all it can do to keep workloads manageable. A consultant can offer a client expertise, new solutions, or just simple man-hours to help accomplish minor tasks and major projects.

As a consultant, your strengths could be so valuable to a client that you may eventually be in a position to help your client make your services unnecessary. Think about it: Could you teach clients how to benchmark a database or to troubleshoot a router in a way that would lessen their dependence on outside contractors? Are there applications that users could manage without your help after a few weeks of training?

For example, Computerworld recently ran an article on research spending that detailed how Wesco Distribution Inc. hired Giga Information Group to benchmark Wesco’s e-commerce site. Wesco also requested that Giga train the company’s Web marketing team to do the same in an effort to cut its IT research costs.

How do you balance providing clients with the information and services that they need to keep their organizations rolling against giving them guidance that makes your services unnecessary after the course of the contract? Have you faced situations in which you determined that your ability to set a client on a clear course of IT self-sufficiency was more important than future billable hours?

Join the discussion and tell us how you strike a balance between fulfilling your responsibilities as a consultant and giving your clients enough help so that they won’t need your services anymore. We’ll compile your responses for later articles.