Research Outline

IT Technology Consultants Motivations


To understand what motivates small business technology consultants to partner with technology vendors. This information will be used as stimulus for an audience workshop with technology clients.

Early Findings

IT Consultants for Small Businesses

  • Small businesses tend to hire IT consultants for their needs as they cannot afford to have a full-time IT employee.
  • Larger companies would usually have a full-time individual on the payroll.
  • IT consultants for small business argue that it would be cheaper for small companies to hire them than to recruit a full-time employee.
  • However, when these companies acquire a web server, they start needing numerous other specialist services and require IT consultants to perform them.
  • Other IT services that can required by small businesses include payroll, email system, ecommerce systems, network and computer protection, and data backup.

Examples of Partnerships

  • Small business consultancies such as CMIT Solutions have exclusive partnerships with vendors such as Dell, Microsoft, Lexmark, Intuit, Barracuda, and Datto.

Partnerships with IT Vendors

  • IT consultants are motivated to partner with vendors to obtain better terms in their contracts with them, but also to benefit from a better flexibility in terms of supplying conditions, and be able to offer cost-effective solutions to their clients.
  • Other IT consulting companies claim to be vendor-neutral to be able to provide objective recommendations based on the specific needs of their clients.
  • Traditionally, IT consultants enter into partnership agreements with numerous vendors to have access to a large array of offerings, and vendors provide them with training and certification.
  • Partner IT consultants are also paid commissions by the vendor when they conclude sales with their clients.
  • This is called the "reseller partnership" and has been the main model of the IT consultant-vendor partnership for decades.
  • However, the model is changing with the decrease of commissions and vendors now prefer to deal directly with the client.
  • This affects smaller consultancies more, such as Envisian, who decided to strategically limit the number of vendors with which they partner and train.
  • The company also decided to stop relying only on commissions from their vendor partners and become more independent and objective.
  • Envisian chose to remain independent and objective by trading the commission on a potential partner product sale for the lower ‘finders’ fee of recommending a competitor.