Traditionally there’s been quite a large barrier between two types of IT consultants. Those who know about, install and repair hardware and those who are programmers and create and implement software solutions. Web developers fall into the later category.
However, companies that sell easy to customize hosted solutions, such as Intuit’s QuickBase are realizing that the line between traditional technology solutions providers and a new crop of hybrid ones is blurring.
If you spend a few hours with Intuit’s QuickBase you can create simple or fairly complex solutions for a variety of general business uses or specific industries. QuickBase does not have a lock on “simple to use – no programmer needed applications” but other database driven tools such as DabbleDB can be easily configured as well. Kickapps is a simple to use tool that can be customized and is ideal for the creation of social networks. Maybe you want t have your own social network for customers to create blogs, add their photos, and do other things around a central theme or community. A smart, formerly hardware only consultant, could probably put a good social network together for you.
“SaaS implementations do not require highly technical people, although they may require consultants with data integration skills. Instead, seasoned business process management consultants will become the focus for successful project delivery,” according to Forrester Research Inc.’s Oct. 29 report, “SaaS Economics Will Change ISVs’ SI And VAR Channels.”
Services like Coghead and Longjump are also providing new opportunities for formerly hardware only vendors. These services, with little training, enable smart and tech oriented professionals to create applications.
Training is very important to properly implement custom solutions. Ensure you ask what training, certification and how much time your local IT expert has spent using the solution he or she is recommending. You don’t want to pay for their training or have them learn at your expense.
Telephone service is always getting easier to install. It’s no longer an expensive and bulky PBX system that many smaller businesses are buying, bu hosted telephone systems. This is another service that your local IT consultant could assist with the implementation of.