Professional Services are Getting a Technology Makeover
Professional services include some of the oldest professions in the world, and some of the newest. Regardless of what kind of professional services business you run, it is hard to continue to meet your customer’s needs without incorporating some technological changes. Furthermore, there are new innovations that can help your business thrive. Let’s examine some of this technology to see if it could benefit your business.
Professional Services Pen & Paper Approach
Many professionals that have been working for decades were taught their craft by people that didn’t have the technology that we have today, and therefore, often dismiss it. There is something to be said about understanding the fundamental reasons certain tasks need to be done, but the truth is that a large chunk of work, some say upwards of one-third of the time spent by a professional services business, is doing mundane, repetitive tasks. If you have an analog strategy it may be time to consider deploying some technology that can help you streamline your business.
Professional Services Technology
There are certain solutions that are created specifically for professional services companies. In professional services, there’s that extra responsibility to be the authority that you were hired to be. As a result, today’s professional services firms are really looking to use cutting-edge technology. Like any other business, professional services firms need reliable hardware, software tools that promote productivity, and the security solutions needed to protect their network and data. Here are a few technologies that can help.
You have that archetype in your mind of an office worker. Someone that sits behind a desk and types and frequently takes phone calls to go retrieve a file from a file cabinet someplace in the office. Once the model, this version of the office can only be viewed today as inefficient and costly. Businesses, even professional services businesses, need to do more with less. Document management is an opportunity to streamline the management of all of your business’ crucial information.
In professional services, the ability to get the information you need at the moment you need it can be completely indispensable. A document management system (DMS) presents an opportunity to do just that as every document your business needs to save, every receipt, even the all-important lunch menus can be scanned and saved in an easy-to-organize digital management system. Privacy is built-in as many DMS options allow administrators to secure documents down to the file folder.
While often resource-intensive to set up, the DMS provides complete and secure access to all of your business’ filed information from nearly any device, anywhere you have access to the Internet. For professionals, information is a key component of doing business, so to have remote access to all your information can both speed up business and reduce costs.
Professional Services Automation (PSA) is a software designed to manage the professional services business from end-to-end. It allows for comprehensive service management as well as options to manage resources, store information, and manage projects. It provides a great deal of automation options that both enhance your business’ ability to do business and manage the relationships that make the service offering possible.
Most businesses use some type of CRM (Customer Relationship Management). This software basically comes with a calendar, a time management system, analytic tools and more. The PSA is designed specifically for tracking time and managing tasks within a project setting. This means that each client has a profile within the PSA and each service that is carried out is tracked through a ticketing system. This provides an easy-to-use interface to manage all of a business’ day-to-day operations.
Additionally, many of today’s PSAs provide access through a web client or browser so it can be accessed remotely from anywhere. This accessibility also provides for the means to integrate some other tools, such as payroll software, CRM platforms, or even a marketplace, allowing businesses to centralize their operations, be able to sufficiently track billable time, and invoice clients faster. The PSA can also provide the knowledge base decision makers need to make educated and informed decisions about their business in the future.
Over the past few years more and more developers have claimed to use artificial intelligence to enhance their offerings. In the professional services industry, this rudimentary machine learning can pay massive dividends. AI substantially improves the ability for automated services to positively affect the processes a business builds. By this, we mean that automation, as it has been used up until recently, were manually configured settings, with not many options. If you wanted to change the parameters for a process to kick off, you had to do it manually. Once the criteria was met, the automation would be triggered and the tasks associated would be completed by a predetermined algorithm inside the software.
By building solutions with AI, it allows a business to automate a larger percentage of tasks, as the software tracks and learns how to be most effective rather than being required to be set up manually. One example of this is the use of chatbots. Rather than having to keep human support for your website, you can now deploy an AI-run chatbot that is basically run through a FAQ. The more it is asked a question, and the more clients have a satisfactory response to the support, and the more you manually adjust the common answers, the more effective the support chatbot will be.
By having software that reacts to positive outcomes, the overhead of any business will be reduced. It will also allow professional services companies to cut out a lot of the intermediaries that may act to hurt their business. Having smart software powering the modern professional services company will only help for quicker and more effective resolutions, and much lower costs.
The professional services industry is competitive. The use of technology to make your firm, practice, or company more efficient will in turn make it more client friendly, approachable, and profitable. For more information about how we use technology to run our professional service, call us today at 607.433.2200.