Change is both a blessing and a curse for the global professional services industry. As this year’s 2019 Professional Services Benchmark puts it, “After all, without disruption and change, professional services would not exist, because clients would not need expert help to navigate new opportunities and landmines.” The past months have seen no dearth of “opportunities and landmines” in the form of political, cultural, and technology disruption.
One of the fascinating aspects, however, of this year's Service Performance Insight (SPI Research)'s benchmark is a pair of subtle and opposing trends that professional services organizations themselves may need expert help to navigate. On the one hand, professional services firms are seeing a wholescale shift in their employee demographic as the baby boomers in their workforce retire, to be replaced by millennials. This, according to SPI, is a generation "nursed on technology and instant global communication…[who] demand ease, access and instant gratification."
On the other hand, SPI sees professional services business models becoming increasingly complex. As buyers of services have striven to transfer risk, they have forced firms to come up with innovative contractual models to remain competitive. The past decade has shown a steady decrease in simple time and materials projects in favor of fixed fee, subscription-based, or managed services contracts. Today, firms are scrambling to manage the complexity of multi-element contracts while maintaining growth and profitability.
With these two competing needs—increased simplicity expected by a changing workforce set against increased complexity and flexibility demanded by the business— professional services firms need to choose their business systems carefully, especially their Professional Services Automation (PSA) software. The PSA tool is the one system that knits together nearly everyone in the firm, from the front lines to the back office. As SPI puts it, "As competition and volatility intensify, information has become a competitive weapon to increase performance and profit. Lack of an effective information infrastructure is no longer an option!"
All of this begs the question: In this environment of continual change, are your business systems keeping up, or are they holding you back?
We here at Projector are proud to have played a small role in the success of our clients by building PSA software designed to adapt to, manage, streamline, and simplify the needs of top-performing services firms, even as they change and evolve. We are also fortunate to have worked successfully with hundreds of the most successful firms in the industry, 41 of which have participated in this survey.
Projector PSA is a proud sponsor of the work SPI does to help the professional services community measure and improve its performance, and we hope that it provides you with some perspective as you evaluate yours. We would enjoy the opportunity to speak with you about the challenges you face and how systems like Projector might help you turn those challenges into competitive advantages. We are pleased to have played a small part in bringing you this important work and hope the insight it contains will help you to achieve your goals no matter what surprises 2019 and beyond may bring.