Sunday, October 26, 2008

Daniel Haurey has always had a passion for technology. So, 11 years ago, the former Lucent Technologies consultant started his own company, Exigent Technologies in Mount Arlington. Exigent brings high-end technology to small businesses that can’t afford their own IT department. Haurey says his company builds long-term relationships with clients by becoming trusted advisers. Haurey talked to The Star- Ledger about the importance of information technology.

What should a business look for in an information technology services provider?

Generally, you need to seek out a true professional services firm with the right qualifications and resources to recommend, implement and support IT infrastructure through the entire life cycle. But don’t focus solely on “break/fix” IT services.

Almost any IT services company can install PCs and servers, but the strongest firms distinguish themselves and provide additional value. Ask questions: How long has the firm been in business? What formal vendor relationships do they possess?

What are some disadvantages and advantages of a business outsourcing their IT needs?

One disadvantage that’s been expressed to me over the years is the discomfort associated with not having a dedicated IT employee within arm’s reach. Cost could be another. In some cases, hiring and maintaining in-house IT staff could cost less. But this is tricky. We have a formula that we share with prospective clients to help them with this decision. One of the biggest advantages is risk mitigation. I’ve met with far too many small-business owners that were relying heavily on their brother-in-law’s “side business” or a one-man operation for their IT needs.

Unfortunately, we’re often called in when something goes terribly wrong or “their IT guy” stops returning calls. Another advantage is breadth. When you hire the right firm, you’re leveraging a large amount of collective knowledge and experience.

With so many companies going out of business, is Information Technology still a thriving career field?

Absolutely, in fact, while the general employment market has gone from bad to worse, IT employment reached record high levels in the last few months, according to the National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses, a national trade association representing IT staffing and solution firms. Demand for qualified technical personnel is as high as I’ve ever seen it.