What's a consultant?

A person who gives professional advice or services in a specialised field
(source: The Canadian Oxford Dictionary)

We are consultants in the true spirit of this definition. Most “consultants” are in practice value–added resellers (VARs). It seems in the IT business a VAR being referred to as a consultant is the norm. It’s not fair to say that they don’t do their job well. They might be doing great selling goods and services on generous markups. Here’s an example that speaks for itself:

from: Rick Newcombe
email: not shown

Need Consultants

Hello,
I need to secure the names and contact numbers for at least 10
"Computer Consulting" firms in BC and AB. telus.net is offering
a generous commission plan to those who will resell our Small
Business Internet services, and we wish to invite the top 10 from
each province to participate. Eventually all qualified "Consultants"
will be able to participate.
Thank you for your suggestions

But they aren’t consultants at all, are they? Do you want the “advice” of such “consultants”? Of course not! VARs have vested interests in specific products or services, so their solutions could be woven around their wares.

You are not required to buy from us to engage our consulting services. There are no vendor-specific contractual obligations or volume purchase commitments to influence our product recommendations. This means we might be required to pay retail for some products and thus sell at cost so as to be priced the lowest across all products. A price we pay to honour our commitment to you as consultants and for your one-stop shopping convenience.

A quote from Larry Kesslin, President, Riverdale, NY-based 4-Profit as published in eChannelLine:

I can't tell you how many resellers I talk to who think they're in the
technology business. The job of a reseller is to sell. If you don't
develop your own technology, then you are in the sales business.

Comments

You are absolutely right

You are absolutely right about the misuse of the work consultant. It seems to be the case these days, as society becomes less formal, that words/titles are often used improperly. After all Microsoft lets me call myself a Systems “Engineer”. J