There is expense that most partners don’t consider: the cost of bad advice when an inexperienced IT consultant recommends a product, service or project that is unnecessary or incorrect for your specific situation.

Another form of bad advice is when a consultant doesn’t take into consideration all the pitfalls and situations that will arise when implementing your project, and grossly underestimates the time and money it will take to successfully complete it. When a consultant makes this mistake, your project ends up way over schedule, and costs you 2-3 times as much in unexpected fees, hardware and software.

It’s gotten so bad that Network World recently noted, “Increasingly, IT customers are crying malpractice and railing against slipped implementation schedules, compounded consulting fees, and disappointing product performance.”

Although the price of bad advice is hard to measure, if you’ve ever been disappointed or burned by a so-called IT expert, you know the costs to your business are painfully high.

Here are just a few of the ways bad IT advice can cost you:

  • Paying for unnecessary projects, software or hardware.
  • Paying too much for repairs, software and hardware.
  • Accumulating downtime, unstable networks, data loss and security breaches.
  • Getting stuck with a “solution” that doesn’t really solve your problems.
  • Increasing the time and work you and your employees invest in rolling out a project.
  • Paying double by having a competent consultant fix what the first person messed up or complete the project you originally wanted implemented.
  • Incurring litigation costs to get your money back from a technician who ripped you off.
  • Dealing with the sheer frustration of the problems resulting from poor advice.

We recently had a law firm whose IT support we took over after their previous company (yes, another Windows shop claiming they could support Macs) charged them between $6,000-10,000 to migrate their email from Google Apps to Exchange. The process took them several months, was never completed properly and was still only partially finished when we came onboard. We quickly fixed this problem, but for 3 months no one in the law firm was able to file messages or access emails in the subfolders in their built-in Mail program, they could only do so via the webmail access. Think about the productivity impact this had on the firm, in addition to the checks written to this IT company!

Trouble is, it’s hard to know that you’re paying for bad advice until you are already neck-deep into the problems. By the time you get the first inkling that you hired the wrong person, you’ve already invested a considerable amount of time and money, making it difficult, if not impossible, to end the project and look for someone else. Your best defense against all this heartache is to become an educated consumer who does your homework. So put in the time and effort to find a knowledgeable IT company to work with BEFORE you’ve got a fire to put out.

Yours truly,

Tom Lambotte