4 Key Steps To Achieve Digital Acceleration For Professional Services Organizations

Today’s world is rapidly moving into a technological era, and seemingly at an increasing pace. It has become imperative for professional services organizations to jump on the digital transformation bandwagon or get left behind. 

Digital transformation changed how businesses are being operated and ultimately, added value. But as tricky as it was to transform, professional services organizations are now facing a new challenge: keeping up with pace. According to KPMG, 63% of CEOs say that their current processes and operations are too slow. And the reason is the acceleration gap—between the pace of change and the ability of an organization to benefit from it.  

The major obstacles to the pace and success of digital transformation efforts are legacy technology complexity and siloed data in their current ecosystem. Many large organizations have hundreds—if not thousands—of systems running their business, and their data is locked in silos. Therefore, just merely embracing digital transformation cannot guarantee success. Large professional services organizations need to understand that the traditional approaches to these problems are not helping. Accelerating digital transformation requires new approaches to their ecosystem. The need to reimagine their tech landscape.

Why Should Large Professional Services Organizations Accelerate Transformation?  

To survive in today’s bitter economic world, an organization must move quickly and adapt to changes, or else it will struggle to be significant and relevant; and competitors will take the lead in the market. The 2021 Deloitte Digital Transformation Executive Survey reveals that digitally mature organizations are more resilient and efficient. A digitally mature organization enjoys a higher level of resiliency, agility, scalability, and flexibility. And to ensure continuous business growth, professional services organizations must accelerate their digital efforts. There is a high need for large professional services organizations to reimagine their business structures and strategies, and shift to a cloud-first strategy.  

Digital acceleration is the differentiating factor that gives organizations an edge over their competitors. It will enable large professional services organizations to yield the highest return on their investment in digital technologies by constantly optimizing their digital capabilities and by achieving a higher stage of digital maturity. Large professional services organizations that can accelerate their digital journey will:

  • Gain the agility to become future-ready
  • Achieve scalability and flexibility
  • Remove friction from operational processes
  • Reinvent customer experience
  • Foster transparency and innovation
  • Leverage analytics-driven decision-making
  • Reduce costs and improve ROI
  • Create a connected employee experience 

Therefore, large professional services organizations that want to move ahead of their competition need to implement an overall tech ecosystem strategy with an approach to openness centering on three themes: a data-driven environment, cloud enablement, and real-time visibility into data to survive the digital hybrid economy.

How Can Large Professional Services Organizations Accelerate Their Digital Journey Most Effectively And Sustainably?

To accelerate your digital transformation journey, it is important to identify your goals. Organizations that combine the adoption of new technology with a holistic approach to their business processes usually attain higher rates of revenue growth in comparison to organizations that focus on technology adoption alone. To begin with, organizations need to start analyzing their current ecosystem and identify any possible inefficiencies. The next step is to identify and implement the right technology that can simplify and streamline their business processes. An integrated enterprise-wide solution will not only accelerate your digital transformation journey, but it will also help you in:

  • Spotting and bridging data silos: A unified, connected system simplifies the work for employees who must otherwise toggle between multiple, complex systems. As a result, employee productivity is boosted.
  • Expediting informed decision-making: An integrated platform helps you access data across the entire organization easily and churn meaningful insights. This helps recognize potential problems before they arise, enabling you to shape your business strategy accordingly.
  • Optimizing resource utilization: Digital transformation connects multiple, dispersed databases and systems to a unified system. It helps create a central repository for business intelligence by integrating the software and databases.
  • Automating processes and operations: By automating a select group of your processes, you can reduce time and human effort considerably. Further, efforts need not be duplicated across multiple systems, as the sync allows easy sharing of information across systems.
  • Accessing accurate, real-time business data: Since all business data is coupled with time data, billing and resource utilization will become easier. Further, with business metrics available on the go, you can make faster and more informed decisions. 

What Technological Advancements Will Power Digital Acceleration?

Digital Acceleration has become inevitable for all businesses. Large professional services organizations that will adopt it early enough will be able to get many benefits and have an advantage over their competitors who are still thinking. Given below are 4 key steps that can help your organization drive digital acceleration. 

1. Cloud  

The shift to a cloud-based platform has unified current systems into a single platform. As a result, large services organizations can leverage modern technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) and unlock value from the current business processes while creating new opportunities. Cloud-first organizations can respond more adeptly to the changing business requirements and play a major role in reinforcing organizational resiliency, modernizing operational activities, and reinventing the customer experience. And as the speed of modern business keeps increasing, professional services organizations need to upgrade their technological capabilities and equip their workforce with modern tools. 

Implementing a single cloud-first platform will significantly improve the quality of data, and help better manage revenue and profits for global businesses. It will simplify an organization’s capability to strengthen resource allocation and boost resource utilization. A cloud platform allows businesses to get data in real-time that provides the competitive advantage for best-in-class companies to be more agile and properly build business resilience. They can accelerate their digital journey by providing a future-ready ecosystem on the cloud. Investing in a cloud-first platform will enable exceptional capabilities in all aspects of management and operational agility.

2. Automation

No digital transformation plan is comprehensive without automation. Organizations across verticals are investing in different flavors of automation – industrial automation, RPA, cognitive automation, etc. As per a McKinsey’s 2018 survey, The Automation Imperative, 57% of the respondents say that their organizations are at least in the initial phase of embracing automation, which means that they are piloting the automation of processes across functions and business units.

Employees end up spending countless hours managing the data spread across multiple systems in an organization. This also invariably creates multiple siloed databases that can’t or don’t effectively mesh with each other, limiting an organization’s ability to share important information quickly. Automation will help minimize human involvement in a wide range of business activities. Professional services organizations can become more efficient, transparent, and cost-effective. There are distinct functions and processes that can be automated – either partially or completely; however, organizations need to choose the right one. 

An automated system will give employees more time to focus on key competence and critical areas. Large professional services organizations can redefine employee experience and accelerate digital transformation by streamlining, reforming, and optimizing mundane activity.  Automation also gives real-time visibility into all data, thereby driving agile management processes and accelerating your path of transformation.

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

As an integral part of the digital transformation journey, AI has become the game-changer for creating a work ecosystem that will drive better employee satisfaction.   

Leveraging AI through a centralized platform can help large professional services organizations gain accuracy, control cost, and streamline the overall process. With AI-enabled software, leaders can easily predict burnout based on factors such as time spent on projects and resource utilization rate. Leaders can also track allocated work time versus actual resource utilization in real-time to be better prepared to strategically mobilize underutilized resources. It will help large professional services organizations reduce the workload of overworked resources.

4. Data Security

For large services organizations, data governance can be a bigger challenge than they realize. As professional services organizations operate across multiple global locations, serving a multitude of clients, and have complicated internal structures, there are increasing challenges around regulatory compliance, privacy, and security needs. Many large services organizations have faced time and labor lawsuits that not only resulted in millions of dollars in settlement fees but also loss of invaluable client trust.

Through the evolution of intelligent time data governance, organizations gain insights and information that support innovations and improve customer experience in addition to other benefits. Smart data governance will also drive business value and establish enhanced decision-making processes. The quote-to-cash process will also be reduced by speeding up the time capture process. Additionally, professional services organizations can gain access to enterprise-level functionality such as multilingual and multicurrency capabilities, built-in compliance, and global governance to help global operations. With this, they don’t have to worry and can freely focus on their digital acceleration roadmap.

Winning The Digital Acceleration Race With Replicon 

Every business leader needs to evaluate the maturity of their business initiatives to know where they stand in today’s world and deal with problems. Enhancing the complicated structure of your large professional services organization is a crucial step. We know it is not easy, and you can’t fix it overnight. But you can at least get started to sort out the complicated and unpredictable parts of your business processes to make lives easier for employees and gain benefits for your organization. 

Although it is an enterprise-wide adoption that will happen gradually, using advanced time-tracking software is a good place to start and get a quick win on improving employee experiences that accelerate your transformation journey.

A cloud-first time intelligence platform can help organizations future-proof their digital acceleration journey by bridging the necessary gaps. Some benefits of leveraging a time intelligence platform:

  • A time tracking solution for services organizations that leverages the power of AI, ML, and automation, simplifies and streamlines the overall time tracking process
  • It helps you gain agility by unifying all disparate time tracking systems and by consolidating time data on a single unified platform
  • It offers a single source of truth for enterprise-wide time data
  • It empowers organizations with real-time insights for better, faster decision-making to drive employee productivity and business profitability 

As the entire digital acceleration journey may look a little complicated and long, it’s advantageous to start with a cloud-powered time intelligence platform rather than opting for a big, full-fledged transformation like ERP, HCM, CRM, etc. Get a quick win for your business by adopting a time intelligence platform and embarking on your digital acceleration journey.

Shivani Bajaj
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shivani Bajaj
Shivani is an Associate Director of Product Marketing at Replicon. She is a technology enthusiast who loves tinkering with technology products. Replicon provides award-winning products that make it easy to manage your workforce. With complete solution sets for client billing, project costing, and time and attendance management, Replicon enables the capture, administration, and optimization of your most underutilized and important asset: time.
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