Why Relationships Are Important

The landscape of Healthcare IT consulting has changed significantly over the last 20 years.  Back In the 90’s, the big six consulting firms sold the majority of engagements and smaller consulting firms were finding success with niche offerings.  Since 2010, the consulting industry has exploded with recruiting firms, independent contractors, off-shore firms and start-ups. People are changing jobs from one company to another at such a rapid pace it is difficult to keep track and maintain relationships. Industry growth is positive but we can’t ignore the downside, it has changed the way clients interact, contract and manage consulting services.

The frenzy to implement EMRs to meet the meaningful use deadlines created a surplus of consulting opportunities.  In many cases, clients are contracting with more than twenty firms to fill their open positions.  Working with this number of firms can be cumbersome and it also comes with risks. Asking a few questions up front can save you a lot of trouble:

  • Are they experienced in healthcare IT?
  • Have they been in business for more than 5 years and have referenceable clients?
  • Can you develop a relationship with them?
  • Who do you call when there is an issue?
  • Are they financially sound?

Many of the larger client organizations have moved to Vendor Management Systems to help with firm approval, tracking open positions, managing vendor communications, interviewing and time/expense management.  Some organizations have turned over the job of IT outsourcing to Human Resources.  This removes a firm’s ability to have direct contact with the hiring manager.  Has this really improved the hiring process? I say, no.

From the sales side this makes it more difficult to qualify resource needs. In some circumstances, we are given limited information to aid us in recruiting and screening candidates.  It can also be difficult to receive timely and informative feedback on candidates. When we are able to communicate with the hiring managers, we gain a better understanding of their needs, likes and dislikes which ultimately improves our ability to find for them the perfect candidate.

I spoke to a CIO recently who shared an increasingly common sentiment that if her organization could do it all over again, they would make very different decisions on how they staffed their projects.  Managing resources and auditing invoices for more than twelve consulting firms is very time consuming for her team.  In retrospect, she sees the value in her team working directly with a smaller number of firms that can demonstrate a history of long-term established relationships, trust and a vested interest in the hiring organizations goals.

I believe valuable relationships are built on quality and integrity. Anyone can sell consulting services but not everyone can deliver good service. I encourage those in need of IT consulting services to think of firms that were partners in the past and give them the opportunity to again exceed expectations.

By: Amy Noel, Business Development Executive at DCS