The Digitalization of Professional Services – How to Keep Up?

2-Nov 2021

The digitalization of professional services was sped up by approximately five years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Suddenly people needed high-quality remote project management software that their employees could collaborate on in real-time – and they needed it as soon as possible.

However, the pandemic wasn't the sole catalyst of the swift transition of professional service businesses to digitalization. Before the COVID-19 outbreak in March of 2020, there were already three trends at work in the professional services industry and the professional services operating model:

  1. Demand for increased speed of business 
  2. Streamlining digital delivery of services
  3. A shift to an outcome-based business model

Customer demand for increased speed of business and agility had already sparked digitalization adoption. As a result, a startup could emerge in any industry seemingly overnight and revolutionize the standards of operation, challenging traditional business models. By providing more agile, effective services, these startups can take down industry powerhouses that have dominated markets for years. 

Providing digital delivery of services also helped position professional service firms to take a healthier market share than their competitors by giving consumers the most efficient tools to operate their businesses.

The digital delivery of professional services may involve reimagining the way solutions are delivered to customers. Digitalization might also require reinventing a business model to gain a greater market share.

Subscription-based delivery models of knowledge and other services to customers have seen a surge in popularity and may be effective for many professional services.

Digitalization also offers companies the ability to quickly scale workforces up and down to match the requirements of each project.

Digitalization is even leading to a more outcome-based business model, as opposed to the traditional rate-based business model. Streamlining operations, delivery models, billing, and business practices will lead to more successful outcomes.

Changes that Come With the Digitalization of Professional Services

Innovation is essential to the successful digitalization of professional services. The professional services industry is being forced to change as digitalization becomes the new norm for business operations. How businesses navigate this change will determine their future success.

Customer Demands Are Pressuring Companies to Adapt

Businesses are being pressured by consumers who are aware of the technological advances being made and demand faster, more agile services. 

Lowered Barriers to Entry

Digitalization lays the groundwork for symbiotic business relationships by allowing startups to step in and provide much-needed services to existing businesses. In addition, newcomer startups can provide a more compelling user experience at a better price than companies already operating in the industry.

According to an article published in the Harvard Business Review, "disruptive innovation research" is the process through which new entrants to an industry challenge the current industry norms. However, adapting solely to keep up with trends isn't going to cut it.

On the flip side of disruptive innovative research lies radical innovation. Radical innovations stem from the creation of new knowledge and the clever commercialization of novel products and solutions to problems faced by consumers.

Digitalization of Workforce Productivity Management

The massive shift to virtual workplaces caused by the COVID-19 pandemic required workforce management to become digitalized. The transition to remote work also gave businesses the opportunity to employ a flexible network of talent that could be located anywhere in the world.

Emerging Technological Advancements

Cloud-based services have made advanced tech solutions available to businesses of all sizes. The sheer number of high-quality productivity tools, content management systems, project management systems, and other technological advancements have put more small to midsize businesses on even ground with larger competitors.

Think of how many different tools were required for operating a business before the advent of smartphones: you had your telephone, your Rolodex, endless piles of paperwork, and employees whose sole function was to perform tasks we are now able to do entirely digitally. Many of these processes can be automated with the right type of business software, making it easier than ever to run a digital business.

Resisting Change to Digitalization

Adapting to the demands of consumers and the shift to digitalization is not an easy task. Moreover, it can prove quite costly, leading many businesses to resist the change. Pressures to adapt to consumer demands will always be a part of business, but resisting the need for digitalization can hurt a business's ability to compete in the long term.

About Accelo

As a collaborative client work management platform, Accelo is revolutionizing professional service operations. Accelo provides businesses with the cloud-based tools and resources they need to manage client relationships and maximize profitability. Designed for complete client work, Accelo manages sales, quotes, projects, tickets, retainers, timesheets, billing, and scheduling — all in a single cloud-based platform.

The goal at Accelo is to provide small and medium-sized professional service businesses with the tools they need to maintain long-term relationships with clients and nurture developing relationships with prospective customers.

The Accelo platform includes:

  • Projectsallows businesses to manage client projects against budgets in real-time, provides visibility into team schedules, and gives users the ability to create or edit client projects.
  • Saleshelps businesses make more sales and stay on top of current deals by keeping track of team notes, appointments, emails, and more.
  • Retainersassists with managing ongoing and recurring business done or services provided, including tracking tasks and billing.
  • Servicesincludes tools such as a support ticketing system to prioritize issues properly, active tracking, automated notifications, and a client portal.

Accelo can help you keep up with the digitalization of the professional service industry. Start a free trial of Accelo today to see how to use this cloud-based solution for your business. 

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