Often, architects and engineers are tasked with hiring an ICT consultant without having much background in ICT. It can be overwhelming to pick a professional in a field you aren’t specialized in, and choosing the wrong one can be the start of a chaotic endeavor.
Between lack of communication, incomplete designs, and unprepared firms, the wrong ICT consultant can make your project frustrating and choppy. A coordinated, responsible, and qualified ICT firm is essential to completing projects efficiently for your team.
Before starting your next project, here are five questions to ensure you choose a quality consultant:
1. Is there an RCDD on staff?
The first step in selecting your ICT Consultant is ensuring they have a BICSI Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) on staff. These days, it’s a much-needed qualification for installation contractors – equivalent to a PE at an engineering firm – and it provides a “stamp” of knowledge in the trade.
The RCDD designation means an individual has demonstrated knowledge in the creation, planning, integration, execution, and detailed-oriented project management of telecommunications and data communications technology.
But just as important, an RCDD indicates the firm has the knowledge necessary to guide you through the many difficult ICT-related decisions that are inherent in any project.
2. Do they have project management experience?
There is no better way to learn than by doing.
Past project management experience is essential when selecting your consultant because of the immense amount of coordination required within the design process of a project.
While an experienced designer is important, it is also crucial that your ICT consultant knows how to efficiently coordinate with you and your other consultants, what information to communicate, and how to work within your designs.
Past project management experience ensures that the ICT consultant will act seamlessly as part of your team.
3. What are their communication styles?
Nothing sinks a project quicker than lousy communication.
Start by looking at the response time and the thoroughness of the response.
You should expect a firm to respond quickly with quality responses when asking to partner or searching for information on the firm. The response time to an initial correspondence is often a good indication of how they will communicate throughout the rest of the project.
Be sure to find a firm that is capable of meeting your deadlines and communicates thoroughly and frequently throughout the entire process.
4. What do their deliverables look like?
Like any other firm, a quick glance at deliverables can indicate the quality of a firm’s work.
Look for highly detailed and thorough drawings and ask for specifications.
A more qualified firm will deliver higher quality work. The detail in a 6-page specification versus a 40-page specification, or the clarity of a drawing set is a clear indication of the knowledge and experience of the designer(s).
While reviewing deliverables, it’s also essential to ask for references to better understand the firm and how they interface with clients and other consultants.
5. How good are their references?
Never skip this step.
While many companies list references, they may be hoping you won’t call and ask for details. Always call the references and ask how the company fits into the overall project.
Many companies design ICT while specializing in other services such as engineering. Be sure that the consultant you choose is focused on ICT design and can provide quality advice to their clients. Ask references how the consultant’s advice and/or design has worked out for them, even several years after the project was complete.
A quality ICT consultant will guide you in your decision-making, helping you implement technology that is flexible enough to adapt to the future.
By asking these five questions, you are on the way to adding the right ICT consultant to your project team.