As the budget for implementation services shrink and travel expenses increase, companies can save significant money by leveraging remote or virtual consultants. To make Remote Cognos Consulting effective for an IBM implementation, consider the following tips:
- Be Prepared – Create a detailed statement of work outlining the deliverables.
- Check Them Out – Check references of the consultant and conduct a phone interview. You want someone that can speak clearly and is articulate.
- Project Binder – Document your issues and questions in a project binder so you can review all your questions during your scheduled consulting time. This will help you cover all your questions and respect the consultants time by not bombarding them with emails.
- Agenda – Virtual consultants often will bill in ½ and full day increments, so make sure you have an agenda for each session.
- Schedule in Advance – The consultant is most likely working on multiple projects so book critical dates in advance.
- Documentation – Don’t skimp on documentation. Establish a standard for which you expect remote work to be documented for future reference.
- Status Reports – Require the consultant to provide periodic status reports of their work listing any road blocks or foreseeable issues.
- Time Zone – Consider the time zone of the consultant. Ideally, you would prefer someone in your time zone not 13 hours different.
- Utilize Virtual Meeting Services – GoToMeeting and Webex will allow you to watch what the consultant is working on. Reputable consultants will have these services at no additional cost to you.
- Be Accessible – If the consultant is building reports or models remotely, make sure you are accessible for questions to allow for continued progress.
- Be Engaged – Despite the work being completed remotely, you are responsible to make sure the work will meet your expectations. Have regular checkpoints and ask questions.
- Manage Emails – When working virtually, there can be a significant number of emails. Create a methodology for managing emails that all team members follow. Try utilizing the subject line to clarify the purpose of the email. FYI, “Action Required” or “Urgent Request” in the subject line can help team members filter out the non-urgent chatter.
If you are interested in learning more about how Lodestar Solutions can help you with your IBM Cognos implementation, please contact us.