ARTICLE TABLE OF CONTENTS
This is about functional consultants vs. technical consultants vs. techno functional consultants.
- What a functional consultant is
- What a technical consultant is
- What a techno functional consultant is
- The difference between functional, technical, and techno functional consultants
- Lots more
If you want to learn about the differences between functional, technical, and techno functional consultants, then this article is for you.
Let’s dive right in!
What Are the Differences Between a Functional Consultant, Technical Consultant, and a Techno Functional Consultant?
Even if you have a background in tech, chances are you probably don’t know everything about how to make your computer system work its best for you.
Do you know how to program? If not, that’s where a technical consultant comes in.
If you’re able to program yourself, do you know enough about the business side of things? If not, that’s where a functional consultant comes in.
These two roles complement each other and are both essential to operating in an IT field.
There’s also a third role, the techno functional consultant, which is a hybrid of the two consultant types—something that we’ll touch on later in the article.
Collaboration is more important than ever today, and working with consultants can be the difference between success and failure.
If you’re looking to find the difference between a functional and technical consultant, read on.
What Do I Need a Consultant For?
When it comes to running your business, some things are better left to professionals, especially in technology fields.
Technical and functional consultants will help you execute your technical plans as well as plan for the future.
Hiring a consultant is essential if you don’t have the expertise you need to create a computer system or keep it performing to your standards once it’s up and going.
You’ve probably heard of consultants before for other fields, but unless you’re a functional or technical consultant yourself, you might not be familiar with consulting in the technology fields.
The chart below shows the IT consulting market in the United States from 2008 to 2022. By 2022, the IT consulting market revenue in the U.S. is expected to reach 471.28 billion U.S. dollars:
Technical and functional consultants have very different roles but are both very important to have around; although, sometimes they are the same person if they are working on smaller projects.
Let’s look at the differences between functional consultant vs. technical consultant to understand better why they’re essential to have as a part of your team.
A technical consultant is typically a programmer or a systems administrator. As the name suggests, they have an in-depth understanding of the technical processes required to help your business flourish.
This person will likely have a background in SAP administration and will be able to figure out how much processing power your business needs, install upgrades, ensuring all requirements are met, and executing the technical configuration for your system to work the way it’s supposed to.
A technical consultant will also oversee the system’s daily maintenance and work out bugs.
They’ll provide technical support by troubleshooting problems and helping to resolve issues that customers have.
Here are a few technical consultants’ specific tasks:
Duties of a Technical Consultant
- Think of new ways to add functionality to existing computer systems
- Work with you as a manager to help determine the role of an IT computer system for your business
- Design and implement computer systems by configuring hardware and software
- Oversee the installation and configuration of these new systems to make them unique to the organization they are for
- Train whoever will be using the system and write them instruction manuals
- Test the new computer systems to make sure they work the way they’re supposed to
- Customize standard software such as software from SAP
Functional consultants have a bit of a different background; while they most likely have a lot of experience with computers, they combine business process knowledge, financial knowledge, and technical knowledge, making them a valuable member of your team.
Once you’re up and running, the functional consultant will take on more tasks like setting performance benchmarks, making sure your system is working the way it should and preparing stakeholders for steady-state operation.
Being a functional consultant also refers to the way they configure the system to support business processes. This requires functional consultants to have an understanding of things like accounting, sales, and plant maintenance.
Functional consultants must determine the requirements for things such as how much memory and speed the computer system needs.
They also take a step farther and help draw up plans for programmers to use when building the computer system.
Here are specific tasks that functional consultants do—see what the main differences are between a technical and functional consultant by comparing them with the duties of a technical consultant from above:
Duties of a Functional Consultant
- Figuring out where business gaps exist and working with technical consultants to close the gaps accordingly
- Analyzing information and data trends to help increase the computer systems’ performance and efficiency
- Helping think of new ways to increase functionality to existing computer systems
- Helping research new technologies to decide if using them can increase a business’s effectiveness and efficiency
- Preparing a cost-benefit analysis of the computer system to determine if they’re spending their money wisely
Skills of a Functional Consultant
Like we’ve said before, both functional and technical consultants have a background in IT and have a good understanding of how to use most major programming tools, but business experience can also help you excel as a functional consultant.
Although there’s no functional consultant degree, if you’re looking for a job as a functional consultant, there are obviously some core skills that an employer is going to look for from you before offering to have your contract with them.
- Expertise in workflow configuration
- Expertise in security
- Strong communication skills
- Adept in identifying business requirements
- Experience with SAP or Oracle systems
- Experience using Microsoft Office tools
Along with all of these skills, one skill that is most needed as a functional consultant is balancing the two different roles that you play.
Although it is usually the technical consultants that do most of the programming, an excellent functional consultant has to balance finding technical solutions to problems and meeting business requirements.
What are the Main Differences Between Functional and Technical Consultants?
The functional consultants are often the ones who are contracted to start work on a project.
A company or organization will often contact a functional consultant to talk about where they have needs, gaps, and identify their assets.
The functional consultant will help the client come up with a plan to help bridge the gaps that the client has between where they are now and where they want to be.
After this plan is in place, the technical consultants are the ones who put it into motion.
They will figure out how to put the computer system together and how to scale and refine it. A lot of this work is meticulously calculating what the system needs to help the client get to where they want to be.
Once the project is completed, the functional consultants may not stick around as the technical consultants do.
Their main job is to create and implement a plan, and once that is done, most of the work that is left will be upkeep, bug fixing, updates, and changes made by the technical consulting team.
How Do Functional and Technical Consultants Work Together?
Although they serve different purposes most of the time, the collaboration between functional and technical consultants is greater than you might think.
If your functional and technical consultants are two different people, they’ll need to work together to ensure that your system works properly.
For example, functional consultants often work with technical consultants to solve any problems that surface once the initial system is up and running.
Both functional and technical consultants likely have a good understanding of technology and how it works, and can probably even do some of the same things.
Still, functional consultants are more skilled in seeing the bigger picture, and therefore should work together with technical consultants.
Having someone who understands the technology side of things is essential.
You won’t have all of the help you need to have an effective system without the combination of knowledge and experience of both a technical and functional consultant.
Functional and Technical Consultants are Complements
They may be different, but the two roles are two halves of an essential function.
Without a technical consulting team, you wouldn’t be able to keep your computer system running. The technical team needs to keep everything running smoothly, execute upgrades or migrations.
Likewise, without a functional team of consultants, you wouldn’t be able to take advantage of all of the flexibility and customization that the technical team has created for you.
The two roles, more often the two teams, can’t work without each other.
Functional consultants create features that are useful to the business side of things, sometimes called “modules.”
These modules help the functional consultants turn data into business intelligence and assist with processing orders, tracking inventory, or handling human resources.
On the other side of the coin are the technical modules, which the program administrators use to run the computer system behind the scenes.
These modules download and install updates, plan and execute migrations, and troubleshoot any performance issues.
They are anything that technical consultants use to maintain and fine-tune the computer system.
What Kind of Companies Need Functional and Technical Consultants?
While most of the job opportunities for functional and technical consultants are for technology-based companies, many other companies need these consultants.
Most of what we’ve described already about functional and technical consultants refer to the IT fields, but this isn’t necessarily the case for all functional and technical consultants.
While most technical and functional consultants do have a background in IT, not all do, because someone can be an expert in any field, right?
You don’t have to be a master programmer to be a successful technical consultant, although it doesn’t hurt.
Some other fields that often use functional and technical consultants are:
Even when you’re using the broad definitions of technical and functional consulting, not related to technology, you can still see that they apply to most businesses.
Technical skills refer to the proficiency that someone has in a specific field, while functional skills are broader.
The possibility of expertise in a specific field is why functional and technical consultants are widely used in different fields.
The more someone learns about a specific topic, the more likely they are to be able to offer advice or guidance on that topic.
Having a technical consultant on your team is a great way to take the guesswork out of your business.
If a pipe in your house were leaking, you’d call a plumber instead of trying to fix it yourself, right?
Even though you can figure most things out by yourself, it’s still useful and worthwhile to have someone who knows what they’re doing give guidance to save time and resources.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Functional and Technical Consultant?
The main benefit of utilizing a functional and technical consultant, as is the case with any consultant, is that you get a level of expertise that you wouldn’t be able to provide yourself.
Part of why consultants are useful to companies is because they are experts in their field and have experience solving problems just like yours.
You might be able to muddle along without consultants if you’re working on a very small project, but for larger companies that require much more complicated plans and solutions, the best option is to consult a consultant.
Using functional and technical consultants allow you to better focus on your other jobs, rather than trying to create, troubleshoot, and implement a whole new system for your business.
Allowing functional and technical consultants to do their jobs makes your life easier, but it ensures that the job you need is done the right way. This will lead to fewer problems and bugs in the future.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Hiring a Functional and Technical Consultant?
As far as we’re concerned, you won’t be throwing your money away if you decide to hire a functional and technical consultant.
These people are here to help your vision become a reality, and are skilled in coming up with creative solutions to both technological and business problems that you may have.
What is Consulting Anyway?
The simple definition of consulting is “the business of providing expert advice to a specific group of people.”
If consulting is just giving advice, then why do people pay for it?
People pay for advice for the same reason they ask for it: because they need that advice to help improve themselves or their business.
The advice of an expert can take you from where you are currently to where you want to be.
Trying to figure everything out by yourself can be really hard, especially in a field where you don’t even know where to start.
That’s where a consultant comes in, to help guide you.
Consultants can provide you with a tried and true way to get to your destination.
The chart below shows the size of the global consulting market according to its different segments. By 2020, the technology consulting market is expected to generate about 53 billion U.S. dollars in revenue:
Consultants have experience doing the same thing for other businesses, so they can adapt their methods specifically to your business to help it succeed.
Is Becoming a Functional or Technical Consultant a Good Career Choice?
Like many other jobs in the IT field, there is a lot of need for functional and technical consultants.
Many people are already specializing in IT and other technological fields, so the possibility of becoming a consultant is open to you.
Unlike other professions, there is no degree that you have to get to become a functional or technical consultant. There’s also high earning potential for those who choose to go this route in their career.
A study was conducted in 2018 regarding the monthly earnings within the consulting industry.
Around 24.3 percent of the respondents stated that they earned 10,001 to 45,000 U.S. dollars a month:
If you know a lot about technology, you could make the switch to become a technical consultant for a variety of different companies.
Those who have both an IT and business background also have the potential to become a great functional consultant.
Business education provides people with the ability to see the bigger picture and think of creative solutions to problems.
That knowledge, combined with a practical IT background, can give you the tools you need to become a valuable member of a team as a functional consultant.
And like with other kinds of consulting, because you are considered an expert in your field, the pay is excellent.
If you’ve been thinking about making a career switch and you’re in an IT field already, consulting might be an excellent option.
Is Hiring a Functional and/or a Technical Consultant Worth It?
Like we said earlier, even if you consider yourself an expert in the IT field, there are still things that you won’t know how to do.
You might be weighing the costs and benefits of a functional and technical consulting team and be thinking, “Is this worth spending money on?”
Trying to learn how to do everything yourself can be overwhelming, not to mention a waste of time and resources.
Having a functional and technical consulting team behind you to help you get to where you want to go with your computer system is worth it.
You probably have a formula for how you get things to work in your business or a model that you follow; the same is true for consultants.
It is what functional and technical consultants do, even if they do play different roles, to help you bridge the gap between where you currently are and where you want to be.
However, there’s also a third type of consultant that blends the roles of the technical and functional consultant positions.
Below, we’ll touch on the role of the techno functional consultant and explore whether they’re a worthwhile alternative to the other two consultant positions.
What’s the Difference Between a Functional, Technical Consultant, and Techno Functional Consultant?
Now that we know the difference between functional and technical consultants, let’s turn our attention toward the techno functional consultant and how it differs from the two former positions.
In this section we’ll define what a techno functional consultant is, what they do, and why they might offer an advantage over functional and technical consultants.
What is a Techno Functional Consultant?
A techno functional consultant is a multi-skilled professional who combines the skills and competencies of functional and technical consultants.
In other words, they act as a hybrid of the functional and technical consultant.
Techno functional consultants embody technical skills such as coding, troubleshooting, code testing, and technical writing.
On the other hand, they also develop functional skills such as writing test cases, developing front-end configurations, and having the “soft” skills to interact and coordinate with clients and business partners.
In other words, techno functional consultants combine the skills of two types of consultants by offering technical and computation skills with people-oriented skills to configure and execute systems per the client’s requirements.
Their unique combination of “soft” and “hard” skills make techno functional consultants an in-demand profession.
Definition of Techno Functional Consultant
Let’s refer to the term’s definition for a more precise view of what a techno functional consultant is: A techno functional consultant is someone who provides expert advice in a professional context related to technical and operational business objectives.
Techno functional consultants are a type of adviser who provides useful skills to help develop, test, evaluate, and carry out a business’s projects.
As such, techno functional consultants understand a company’s underlying technology while also having a strong command of the business’s processes, workflows, and operations.
For this reason, techno functional consultants lend themselves well to virtually all projects that a company takes on because their skill sets are so versatile.
What Sets a Techno Functional Consultant Apart
A techno functional consultant has a different range of skills than functional or technical consultants, and are often entrusted with different types of projects.
Whereas a functional consultant might only understand the business-side of a company’s operations, and a technical consultant might only comprehend the technical aspects, a techno functional consultant has a high level of expertise in both domains.
Therefore, techno functional consultants have a background in IT (Information Technology) and business management or administration.
In many cases, consultants of this variety have a specialized degree in an IT-related field (e.g., computer science, software engineering) combined with a Master of Business Administration degree or years of equivalent experience in a managerial role.
What Skills Does a Techno Functional Consultant Have?
In short, a techno functional consultant is both an implementation specialist and a functional consultant.
In this capacity, they are entrusted with providing support to senior management as well as the business’s clients.
Perhaps the primary skill of a techno functional consultant is that they can bridge the knowledge gap between the technical and operational side of a business.
In this sense, they often liaise between an IT team and senior management to translate technical work into business solutions and designs.
There are many skills that a techno functional consultant must embody to excel in their profession. Below, some of the most in-demand skills for a techno functional consultant are listed:
- Understanding of underlying technologies (e.g., ERP systems, Oracle, SAP)
- High level of competency with writing standard, reusable code
- Expertise in technical design and product architecture
- Interpersonal and presentation delivery skills
- Project management experience and expertise
- Translation of business requirements into technical solutions
As demonstrated by the list above, the skill set of a techno functional consultant is two-pronged.
On one hand, they must possess the “hard” skills required of IT professionals, and, on the other hand, they also require interpersonal and managerial skills to carry out operational tasks for the business.
What Is The Advantage of Hiring a Techno Functional Consultant?
The primary advantage of hiring a techno functional consultant is that it eliminates the redundancy of hiring two separate consultants who specialize in different domains.
Rather than paying two salaries and hiring two consultants who do not share the same skill set, a techno functional consultant can perform the roles of both consultants at the same time.
Likewise, hiring a techno functional consultant requires a company to hire and onboard only one consultant.
By hiring only a single consultant, companies can save time and free up training personnel for other operations.
However, the downside is that a techno functional consultant may demand a higher salary and compensation package for their services.
According to PayScale, the median annual salary for an Oracle techno functional consultant is $92,526, and the top 10% of income earners within this profession earn north of $134,000.
A senior techno functional consultant may earn close to double that of a junior or mid-level technical or functional consultant.
Final Thoughts and Differentiating Factors
Hiring a technical consultant or a functional consultant provides a host of benefits for your organization.
However, their skill sets are ultimately limited and they often lack the expertise required to perform “back-end” and “front-end” operations simultaneously.
For this reason, techno functional consultants are an excellent option for companies who need an expert to liaise between these two sides of a business.
A techno functional consultant understands business problems and IT solutions. Therefore, they exist at the intersection of the technological and managerial.
That’s why techno functional consultants are well-suited for a diverse range of projects and responsibilities that technical or functional consultants alone are not.
Techno functional consultants are uniquely qualified to impart an IT team with operational knowledge of a company’s finances or objectives to help guide the development of software or any other technical product.
Likewise, techno functional consultants can take complex technical problems, address them, and translate them for company management or clients.
Given their unique diversity of skills, techno functional consultants are among the most important and sought-after professionals within an organization.