A technology consulting firm provides support to a corporate client through technological change. Technology advances frequently, and companies across multiple industries, from finance to retail, often need guidance with upgrades, integration, or other business transformations. Consultants identify challenges that a business faces in integrating or adapting to those changes. They walk a client through those obstacles, and in the end will typically provide a written report that chronicles the experience for the period of time the technology consulting firm was retained.
Some of the services that technology consulting firms might provide include instruction on how to integrate cutting-edge technologies into a client's operations in ways that will help to control costs and also boost revenues. For instance, the proliferation of the Internet introduced electronic commerce to many businesses that were once dependent on brick-and-mortar stores. A technology consultant might walk a business through how to transition to the Internet entirely or to use it to compliment an existing physical structure.
Other services might include an assessment of a company's information technology (IT) costs. When a company is forced to reduce an IT budget, it must decide which services are expendable. This might be especially true in the case of a merger or acquisition, when companies are forced to eliminate redundancies between the two businesses. Technology consulting firms can help to recognize signs of over-spending and offer suggestions on how to reduce technology costs, while focusing on efficiency and optimizing the systems that are worth keeping.
As global stock exchanges began migrating from an open outcry system, where they relied on trading specialists to execute orders, to automated trading, it was new territory for many of them. Technology consulting firms advised the exchanges on how to integrate and optimize the new technology systems and capabilities. Since then, technology consulting firms devoted exclusively to automated trading have emerged and other initiatives have been forged. In 2007, the New York Stock Exchange and the Tokyo Stock Exchange Group formed a cross-border partnership to serve as technology consultants to one another and exploit opportunities in trading systems and technology.
Fees that technology consulting firms charge vary by region. Many IT consultants charge an hourly rate, and may work on a client's premises for a period of time to provide support and ensure that changes are implemented accurately. More sophisticated technology consultants with more a comprehensive role might charge on a per-project basis. Technology consultants are often required to travel.