This article posted on CIO compares building the ultimate IT team to drafting the perfect fantasy football team, but as commenter David Sirorkman says, outsourced IT consultants are left out. He proposes that outsourced consultants are like Special Teams because they “fill in the gaps outside of the skill set of the in-house IT Team.” While I agree that consultants certainly fill in the IT team’s skill set gaps, I disagree that they are comparable to Special Team because it implies that every IT team brings in consultants to serve one specific purpose. However, I do think he’s on to something.
IT consultants aren’t Special Teams. IT consultants are the Flex player – a position on the fantasy roster that can be filled by a variety of different players depending on each team’s specialized needs. The kind of player that fills the Flex position can vary widely between different teams, just like a consultant can be brought in to fulfill an IT team’s needs. While one fantasy team may need to fill their Flex position with a Running Back, another may need a Wide Receiver in that spot. While one IT team may need to bring in an outsourced Project Manager to get the job done, another may need a QA Tester.
The luxury of the Flex position in fantasy football is that they can be switched out week-to-week. You’re not stuck with one position filling the Flex spot for your entire season. For example, if I need an extra Wide Receiver one week, I can fill the flex spot with a WR. But what about next week when I really need a Tight End to put up some points? Fortunately for the Flex position, I can put in a TE. The same rings true with outsourced IT consulting. One project may require a Software Engineer to be brought in, while a different project may call for a System Admin. Thanks to IT consulting, a company can bring in that Software Engineer for one project, and then bring in a System Admin for a different project.
Consultants, much like Flex players, are a crucial part of the team. Without them, the team could lose despite the quality of talent in the other roles.