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Experience for Sale

I'm being 100 percent honest when I say I spent many an hour experimenting with technology while being paid for the engagement. How do you think consultants get their experience? Formal training? Ha! The only experience people should pay $50, $100, even $150 an hour for is real-world experience -- gained by using technology and solving business problems in an actual company, not in some XYZ-certified classroom. Remember the glory days of the paper CNE? Yikes.

But the $150-an-hour question is, How do you know this so-called expert actually has the chops to do what he says he'll do? How do you know you're not the real-world facility for some consultant-in-training? This issue of Network Computing will help you answer these questions so that the business relationship you form with a consulting organization is fair and valuable for both parties.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that a good amount of our readers are consultants, coming from the "be your own boss" single-person outfit to the large, worldwide organizations like EDS and KPMG. Those consultants read Network Computing because it reflects the real-world IT experience our editors draw on when evaluating technology to solve business problems.

The No. 1 thing I learned from my moonlighting consulting gigs was how to deal with these experts for hire when I was the one writing the check. For instance, I was able to use that experience to sniff out the pretenders, the "fat resumes" who couldn't go to the bathroom without the proper manual. The quickest way to expose these people is to interview them as you would any potential employee. If they don't pass muster, send them back to the mother ship, requesting the "real deal" in return.

Over the years, I've had professional dealings -- some good and some bad -- with many of the companies listed in our comparison chart. KPMG once built me a network positioning document that I used as justification for many a PO, tossing the company's name around when my boss didn't always trust my view alone. On the negative side, a certain vendor getting a ton of press these days tried, on the sly, to resell some intellectual property that was jointly developed with my company. Looking back now, I see it was a sign of bad things to come for that firm.

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