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The shift towards digital transformation for the professional services industry

It goes without saying but over the course of the last two years many professional services businesses have had to make the move towards digital transformation which has questioned the industry’s agility as well as the longevity of its more traditional business models.  

This has been caused by a number of different external factors largely the swift shift towards remote working because of the COVID-19 pandemic which has highlighted significant gaps in connectivity as well as the ability to work dynamically. Added to which, employees' demands have pressurised many businesses to surf the market for new talent based on the fact that most want to have either the ability to remote work or the more hybrid approach. Last but certainly not least, the hourly fee structure is changing as many customers look to pay their bills based on actual results. 

If you are currently one of the market leaders in professional services, you may question whether the way in which we work or the way in which we operate will ever return to what it was pre-pandemic. Without a shadow of a doubt, the way your business both develops, packages and delivers its services is shifting. In the past your business relied on an hourly rate of billing as your main revenue source, which has now led to you working towards transforming existing services into products to drive in revenues. In order to achieve this, your business has to transform into a digital factory with the ability to be able to deliver technology-first solutions to meet and exceed customer expectations. 

It is now of the utmost importance to provide great value and a personalised service with a flexible workforce at scale. The way in which you can achieve this you ask? Simple by going through a digital transformation. 

How does technology impact upon the future of the professional services industry? 

People are at the heart of the operations of your business, with these related costs reaching nearly 80% of the total professional services revenue. This when faced with a number of challenges such as retention, upskilling and hiring, businesses are analysing their over reliance on people power to run internal business functions and meet customer demands. Therefore, they have turned to technology as a way to augment their workforce and build new pathways to grow. 

Looking at the future of the professional services industry, it is clear that there is a heavy reliance on both remote productivity and collaboration as well as the need to scale up via process efficiency. With the change in working environments and customers looking for more scalable and product-led solutions, you will need to make sure that you are flexible enough to cope with the change in demand in addition to having the necessary digital infrastructure in place to be able to exceed operational excellence and build more engaging experiences for your customers. Taking the necessary steps to move towards the Cloud will give you the capability to meet any industry challenges head on whilst at the same time allowing you to maximise your investments in technology. Through the use of cloud-based tools, you will find that your team is able to increase collaboration that cannot be achieved through the use of on-premise infrastructures whilst at the same time building process efficiencies via intelligent automation. 

Granted, people will always be at the heart of the professional services operating models. However, having the right digital solutions in place will not only help with your team but will also allow your employees to focus on creating and maintaining customer relationships. For those businesses that choose to both acknowledge and adapt to the changing working environment have an opportunity to put people at the forefront of what they do, where employees are the centre of everything. 

If your business doesn’t go down the digital transformation route may deter potential employees from joining you, or in certain instances where you are looking to digitalise quickly, employees' opinions and input might be muted or even worse, they may think they are being replaced. 

How can your professional services business benefit from a digital transformation? 

It does not come as a surprise but those businesses that embrace digitalisation can expect to benefit in core functions of the business. In a Services Performance Insight report undertaken in 2021 highlighted those businesses gained the following from a digital transformation: 

  • 12% increase in revenues 
  • 12% increase in client references 
  • 38% increase in project efficiency 
  • 422% increase in annual revenue per employee 

From the above, it is clear that digital tools have a significant role to play in helping businesses to shift from a model based on efficient service delivery to a model based on responsiveness and continuous solution development. Put simply, digital transformation is vital in safeguarding the future of your business. 

Next Steps? 

As a Microsoft Gold partner, Advantage are committed to helping businesses in professional services to use the power of the cloud to grow revenues and make them more agile. If you decide to implement Microsoft Azure, implement Microsoft 365 & implement Dynamics 365 together as one platform, you can speed up your digital journey and enjoy the freedom to innovate. 

If you are operating in professional services and looking to take the next steps towards a full digital transformation with Advantage then please give our team of experts a call today

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