PracticeConsultingLEADER – Let’s be brutally honest about this

LEADER - Let's be brutally honest about this

Fact: IT consultants and their clients, IT directors, have never been the cosiest of bedfellows. However much one tries to gloss over their differences, the relationship remains a difficult one to negotiate. Consultants are the innovators and the engines of change. They have no power base to consider and few political conundrums to figure. IT directors have an empire to guard. Change has always been dictated at their own pace.

They jealously protect relationships with their own suppliers and relish the direct contact with their own board. However carefully they try to tread, the consultant invariably has their own agenda with regard to the pace of change; they have their own alliances with third parties and they have a direct reporting line to the board. On almost every count the relation between internal and external expertise can be rocky.

Protestations such as “No, no, we work together” and “we’re both on the same side” are usually firmly stated for the record but in more frank exchanges the truth emerges. In this month’s cover feature, we get the low-down from some of this country’s top consultants and IT directors.

They offer you a number of bones of contention but also hopes of a truce. Can these two diametrically opposed professions really “work together” as “part of the same team”?

Some of our interviewees think that the solution is straightforward. The theory is exemplary but the practice is a lot harder to effect. However, it remains true that all IT projects succeed as a result of synergies of purpose. There are successful IT projects, hence there must be successful relationships. In our article you will find plenty of problems but also a raft of possible solutions. If everyone drops their guard for long enough, the relationship can work.

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