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Working with Educated Clients

By Vance Breshears

Remember when the role of a technical consultant was to find out what the client needed and then design something to meet that need? It was all about providing information to the client based on knowledge and experience. With the shift into the digital world, the needs have changed. Now, clients can access a tremendous amount of information themselves. Many clients come to us with brand preferences, an idea of how they want the systems to work and a clear understanding of functionality. And even those who don’t still have ideas about what is possible.

Our clients no longer need a consultant to develop an equipment list. What they need is a team who can help them make decisions, document their ideas and get the project done in a way that helps them meet their business case and realize their goals. Working with educated clients puts more responsibility on the design team to be great facilitators. Being able to offer a wide-variety of options rather than a one-size-fits-most.

It is one of the reasons that the team needs to be made up of people with passion and interpersonal skills as much as advanced degrees and engineering chops. A great engineer without the ability to collaborate with groups and adapt to changing parameters can’t thrive in this environment. It also requires alignment on the client side. The process works best with clients who understand the “why” of their projects and are able to make decisions that can resolve the conflict between need and available budget.

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