4 Ways Professional Services Companies Can Outsmart The Competition

Thierry Morin

In my previous blog, I looked at how digital disruption is affecting the professional services industry, forcing incumbents to rethink and transform their business.

That begs the question: How to go about it? What strategic priorities should professional services companies pursue to differentiate and gain a competitive edge?

Working with customers across the globe, we see four main levers to achieve this:

1. Industrialisation of services

Professional services companies can leverage established technologies and experiment with newer ones to make their delivery capabilities leaner. By running 100% in the cloud, Consulting firm Delaware has significantly improved process efficiency and visibility into the business, thereby allowing consultants to focus on their client work and laying the foundation for scalable international growth.

Innovators are also harnessing the power of technology to achieve a step change in their offering, unlock new revenue streams, and accelerate growth. Kaiserwetter, which helps renewable energy companies manage their asset portfolio, recently launched its data analytics platform Aristoteles. By collecting asset sensor data through the Internet of things (IoT) and applying advanced and predictive analytics, Kaiserwetter helps customers optimize asset performance – both financial and operational.

Yet another example in the same segment is A/V/E, which leverages predictive analytics capabilities to help energy suppliers decrease customer churn; contract termination risk is calculated in less than 3 seconds with 80% prediction accuracy.

2. Outcome-based models

Professional services companies are increasingly looking to price and bill customers based on outcomes (or usage) to differentiate their offerings, increase revenue, and achieve higher profitability. Hygiene solutions company Hagleitner is one such example: using cloud, IoT, and advanced analytics technologies, the company was able to create its new service, senseMANAGEMENT, in just 6 months. Automated monitoring of dispensers in the field and flexible pricing plans based on service levels allow Hagleitner to offer “hygiene-as-a-service;” moreover, customers can benefit from data insights to better understand demand and drive further optimization within their own organizations (e.g., workforce planning and utilization).

3. Total workforce management

As found by a recent Digital Transformation Executive Study, which surveyed 3,100 organizations worldwide, talent focus is one of four traits that set digital leaders apart from the rest. This is particularly relevant in professional services, where people are by far the key asset to a company’s success. To win the “war for talent” and cope with a changing workforce, many professional services companies are placing greater emphasis on the full employee lifecycle – and turning to technology solutions that allow them to start their HR transformation wherever their burning priorities are (e.g., core HCM, learning & development, performance & goals). Modern cloud-based technologies allow companies to reduce HR complexity and increase efficiency, thus improving employee engagement and client focus – as illustrated by Britehouse, which is just one of many examples.

4. Customer focus

Another trait of digital leaders is that they recognize customer empowerment as a key trend impacting their business. As a result, they transform customer-facing functions first. 92% of leaders have mature digital transformation strategies and processes in place to improve the customer experience, versus just 22% for all other areas. Customer focus needs to be holistic, from business development to sales to delivery. With 80% of a professional services company’s profitability estimated to be determined before and during the bidding stage, companies such as movento are turning to solutions that help them simplify processes, reduce time lag by 95% for entering leads and increase prospect time.

How do those priorities resonate with you? Where is the current focus of your business to transform and adapt?

If you’d like to get instant insights into your maturity against industry peers and identify areas of opportunity, take our free 10-minute online Digital Professional Services Readiness Assessment. I look forward to discussing the (near) future of your business!

Thierry Morin

About Thierry Morin

Thierry Morin is helping companies in the Services industries become digital enterprises. As a member of the Industry Value Engineering at SAP team in Australia and New Zealand, he works with the broader sales and services teams to inspire customers and enable them to identify and realise value from digital innovation.