An implementation consultant is generally a professional who is brought into a company on a short-term basis to help them with the large-scale implementation of something. A very common reason for a company to hire an implementation consultant in recent years is to help with the installation of new software or hardware.
However, an implementation consultant’s job, especially when it comes to helping implement new equipment or programs, is not a one step process where they can come in, set it up, and take off. Often, there are many different steps that they must complete before their job is done.
1. Create good client relationships
The first and most important task of an implementation consultant is to create and maintain excellent client relationships. The clients need to trust the implementation consultant – it is really the fate of their business at the hands of the consultant. The consultant and the client must be able to easily communicate with one another to ensure that the consultant both understands and is able to carry out the client’s wishes effectively, on time, and within budget. Before the implementation consultant gets his or her hands dirty, they must have this relationship as a base, or it could throw the whole project off.
2. Software installation
The next step is the more technical part of the job. This is the part where the implementation consultant installs and sets up the new software. As implementation consultants are most frequently external to the company, they will come in, install the software, and make sure that it is configured to the needs and wants of the client. It is their job to have a good knowledge of the systems they are working with and the software they are installing, in order to ensure that the install is done correctly, and that it is set up for maximum efficiency for the client.
Once the software is installed, the company’s employees need to learn how to use it. It is then up to the implementation consultant to effectively train them to use the software in order to decrease the amount of downtime the company has to have as a result of this change. One of the main mandates of an implementation consultant is to complete the entire job within a pre-determined time frame, which would have been discussed and set based on how much time the company is able to give up, and how much time is required for the installation.
4. Communicate plainly
It is important that implementation consultants be able to communicate plainly with their clients and with those who may not have a strong understanding of the software or hardware that is being installed. While implementation consultants may have a ton of high-level knowledge about the systems they are working with, they need to be aware of the audience with whom they are communicating, and be able to effectively bring their language to a more basic level in order to ensure that the other party understands.
5. Work with a project manager
The implementation consultant will have a mandate to complete a certain job by a certain date and within a certain budget. However, these things do not always go as planned, and there may be external factors that cause the job to take longer or cost more. At the beginning of the job, the implementation consultant will make an estimate as to how long the project should take, but if anything should happen that would change the agreed upon parameters, the implementation consultant will need to work with the project manager to lower the impact such issues can have on a project.