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Defining Specialists

The terms used to refer to different technical specialists vary greatly, even within a particular profession. Consider the following:

  • Independent consultant/designer: A specialist or firm whose advice precedes the outsourcers and system integrators. The consultant might provide a needs analysis, a strategic plan, or a design. Most independent technology consultants have specialized experience in a specific area, such as CRM, and are in a position to provide multiple options. They provide expertise, but not a product. They can transfer their skills or knowledge to your team for current and future use.

  • Outsourcer: An outsourcer is an outside company that takes ownership or control of a company's computer system or network.

  • System integrator: A system integrator is a firm that designs or optimizes the system or network, while enabling the company to retain control of the system and responsibility for day-to-day maintenance.

  • Vendor/dealers: Many technology vendors have a single objective when approaching a company—to convince the company that their expertise is the best match for the project's needs. Many vendors offer to design the system, write specifications, and assist with the bidding—all with the expectation of obtaining business. If a company does decide to hire a vendor/dealer to serve as its technology consultant, it should be made clear in the request for proposal that the vendor or dealer will not be permitted to bid, sell, or install any portion of the work required.


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