Aleksandra Karp explores how getting their own digital houses in order can make all the difference for professional services businesses when it comes to gaining increased market share.
Digital transformation and modernisation are still very much the order of the day for all businesses, regardless of shape, size or sector. But, with digital transformation comes a whole host of issues, which, for many businesses, can prove a little too hot to handle, with many turning to the professional services sector for guidance, advice and quite often, step-by-step assistance. For the business consulting, sales and marketing agencies and accountancy sectors in particular, this has resulted in some healthy growth, with businesses looking to the experts to assist with not only digital transformation but with getting to grips with new legislation and the seemingly unending changes to the global markets in which we all operate.
That said, businesses are often only as good as the quality of advice they receive. And, all it takes is one bad review from a customer for a professional services businesses to face an uphill struggle to re-establish itself as a trusted advisor. With this in mind, and if professional services firms are to continue with the upward growth trajectory that they’ve seen in recent years, they have to ensure that they’re at the top of their game and ready to overcome whatever changes the business world throws at them. Professional services organisations need to ensure they’re sufficiently agile to weather the long list of challenges that they’re likely to face in coming years, including continued political uncertainty, new accounting standards, compliance requirements and an increasing number of hybrid business models with the potential to divert valuable resources away from the bottom line.
One of the most important changes that professional services organisations need to embrace, and perhaps the most difficult to successfully achieve, is the move away from traditional ways of working. In fact, if any form of digital transformation is to take place, a fundamental cultural shift must occur. Traditional consultancy models of silo-working, with individual consultants assigned to individual clients, with little or no input from the rest of the organisation, simply won’t work in a digitally-enabled organisation. Inter-disciplinary, collaborative working is required, where all areas of the business are aware of how their individual roles contribute to the overarching aims of the business as a whole.
However, in what is somewhat of a chicken and egg situation, while professional services need to first ensure cultural change before embarking on digital transformation projects, one of the key enablers of demolishing internal barriers within an organisation is technology. Acting as a catalyst for organisational change, the right solution can bring together all disparate parts of the business, sharing information across the organisation in real time and bringing previously undiscovered business insights to the fore. By making good use of a solution designed to manage the specific nuances of the professional services sector, businesses can put in place a solid foundation on which to develop both their cultural and digital transformation.
In today’s fast moving economy, accurate, up-to-date and comprehensive business information is what’s required if professional services organisations are to optimise their business agility. More often than not, for professional services businesses, this is an area where they’re left wanting. For example, having to wait for the finance department to amalgamate its Excel-based reports with the latest figures from the sales team, which in turn have to be downloaded from the team’s departmental CRM solution, inevitably takes time and can be prone to errors. With a business-wide solution in place, not only collating but also analysing information from right across the organisation, in-depth business insights are a given. It’s this access to the right information, in the right format and in the right context that underpins timely and robust decision-making, enabling businesses to respond rapidly and effectively to changing market conditions and fostering the culture of collaborative working that’s vital to ensure the success of any digital transformation initiatives.
Digital transformation requires more than a quick fix, with a lot of businesses dependent on the advice of trusted partners to bring any such initiatives to fruition. Without undergoing the necessary cultural and digital transformations themselves, professional services businesses will find it hard going to convince potential customers of their digital credentials. If consultancies have gone through the process themselves, customers will see for themselves an authentic digital culture at work, reinforcing their trust in what are credible enablers of digital transformations. It’s only with this combination of culture, technology and industry knowledge that professional services organisations can provide true end-to-end digital transformation consultancy, capitalising on the digitalisation opportunity and further increasing their market share.
What to look for in a solution for the Professional Services sector:
1. Working with a trusted partner who knows the industry and the technology is a must.
2. Define what it is you want to achieve. Don’t try and cure all your business ills at once – prioritise.
3. To guarantee maximum user buy-in, ease of use is vital.
4. To move away from manual systems, process automation and built-in analytics are a must.
5. The reason for the investment is to help expand the business so it’s vital that systems can grow in tandem with the organisation.
For more information on how Sapphire could help your Professional Services business, contact us now or attend a free software selection and implementation masterclass.