There were few, if any, IT consultants back in the '70s when the United States saw its last true recession. This means that most of us are about to experience something new, as our smaller clients struggle to adapt to the changing economy. If the doomsday analysts know what they're talking about, some of the companies we support won't survive.
I suspect most of us will watch as larger companies gobble up smaller competitors. When this happens, your role — if they bother with you at all — will be to integrate your client's systems as smoothly as possible. Being efficient and bright here will win you points with the new bosses, so be proactive. Here are three suggestions:
- New IT management is going to expect immediate access to the data center you're supporting — its systems and its data — so make sure your management documents (password logs, standardization policies, and so on) are up to date. It's perhaps the simplest way to look good to new management.
- The acquiring IT center isn't going to integrate an outdated, inefficient data center. They'll toss it (and you) unless you present solutions worth keeping. Update your clients with the newest technologies: virtualization, cloud computing, and Software as a Service (SaaS). Granted, you can't make that kind of change quickly, but start now to review systems and processes to determine where you can make quick changes that matter.
- Look into middleware — that skill should be invaluable during a merger. You know the systems and the data, so who better to help integrate systems than you?
The truth is that the acquiring company probably won't care about people — the company wants the data. The more efficient the integration process is, the more valuable you will be to new management.
Do you have an updated strategy if the economy goes south? If so, share your ideas in the discussion.Get weekly consulting tips in your inbox TechRepublic's IT Consultant newsletter, delivered each Monday, offers tips on how to attract customers, build your business, and increase your technical skills in order to get the job done. Automatically sign up today!
Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.