Australia’s professional services firms have a wealth of talented people who manage diverse client portfolios. How is the world of professional services changing with the onslaught of new technologies like on-demand Cloud services and what opportunities do these present? Justin Bailey, Cloud Solutions Consultant at Nexon speaks about how adopting modern technologies is opening the door to a wave of innovation.
Q: What are some of the typical challenges professional services firms have with existing technology and processes?
JB: Some challenges in professional services are common across other industries such as the changing workplace, mobility of applications and compliance requirements around the storing, retention and security of information.
A challenge we are seeing in the professional services industry is around their sales processes, how they go to market and generate new business. Their core skill set is their knowledge, practice, and experience, they have strong consulting skills but generally they don’t have a lot of sales structure, marketing or the platforms to drive new business so they are trying to change that.
Another challenge is how they get information from their client’s systems, structure it, understand and deliver the result or outcome their clients are looking for. Their client could be looking for assistance in their business planning, as an external consultant how do you extract all that information from the client, process and present meaningful results.
Q: Is cloud computing a disruptive technology threats which could render their role obsolete?
JB: No, the cloud itself will not disrupt professional services firms’ core intellectual property, but there is disruption in the services they offer to customers and an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage.
Firms that do not adopt the cloud, look for opportunities to differentiate and add value to their existing services are at risk from those that do.
Q: How can professional services firms take advantage of Cloud services for innovation?
JB: New technologies in the cloud space like Office 365, CRM and business intelligence apps give customers a strong platform to do customised workflows across information systems and integrated is a better solution than individual tools. These integrated tools provide a solid platform that has a strong capability of working with, enhancing and streamlining workflows and business processes to provide an innovative experience not available out of the box.
Cloud applications generally have strong integration with other cloud applications making it easier to share information and business processes instead of having siloed applications for single functions with isolated information.
Q: How can Cloud expand business opportunities?
JB: The Cloud provides many ways to access different technologies so firms can jump into new verticals and geographies with a lot less risk. If professional services firms are agile they can take advantage of new markets and look to the Cloud for new tools to service their clients.
There is a great opportunity to take advantage of cloud to enhance their services, reduce their cost, increase their focus on their clients. And with cloud risk is significantly reduced.