|My penmanship sank years ago.|
An often overlooked benefit of being a consultant in the IT world is that you get to see how technology is used in many diverse business settings. Your eyes open to the variety of functional and non-functional requirements that can shape the design of things like vSphere and UCS. Your assumptions about how technology is used will be challenged, and you'll end developing your consulting skills (and probably your coping skills, too).
But these are all benefits for you, dear consultant. What about the client? What do they gain from some consultant showing up for a few weeks, maybe even a few months?
Consultants are the bumblebees of the IT world. We cross-pollinate infrastructures by sharing our knowledge of what works and what doesn't. And for many organizations with a low turn-over rate, we provide a much needed infusion of fresh ideas and new approaches to problem solving.
Of course, the ultimate responsibility for adopting change falls on the customer. I can share the best, most current thinking on business concepts like enterprise mobility, client virtualization, and BYOD (if you're looking for BYOB, check out my doppelganger's blog here). But if the existing staff is hell-bent on convincing me why they can't do things the right way, or why their outdated, ill-informed understanding of technology should be the basis for an agency's enterprise mobility strategy, change will be... difficult.
tl;dr - Consultants are ever the new guy, and new ideas are worth listening to.
PS - Looking back at this post, it seems to be a bit passive aggressive. It's really not, though. Sure, it was the product of a difficult debate at the office this week, but I did my best to turn a frustrating argument into a positive experience. And the guy I was arguing with is a good engineer, so the debate was every bit technical as it was rhetorical. Of course, I'm an IT professional with a degree in rhetoric, so he didn't stand a chance. :)