Project Management, Strategy, Professional Services Automation

The Evolving State of Professional Services

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Whether we are ready for it or not, the digital workplace has arrived. During this current crisis, businesses and individuals around the world have learned to depend on digital technology to survive. Getting comfortable with using cloud-based technology to collaborate, communicate, and coordinate essential projects using a distributed workforce once had a steep learning curve, but now is common. For many firms, this represents an enormous opportunity to emerge from economic uncertainty with velocity and confidence.

But to handle this opportunity, businesses today need to implement effective change management.

A recent article in Harvard Business Review, Preparing Your Business for a Post-Pandemic World, delves into the “what ifs” of drastic change management. Contributor Carsten Lund Petersen is an assistant professor in the Department of Marketing and contributor Thomas Ritter is a professor of market strategy at the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. Together, they have prepared a post-pandemic checklist to guide executives through and into a new economic environment. We’ve expanded the narrative as it applies to professional services.

The article poses five strategic questions designed to not only address today’s issues, but both look to and beyond the recovery to the new world digital ecosystem, which will ultimately define the new state of the professional services industry.

Finding a Strategy for Industry-Wide Change

American satirist Will Rogers famously stated, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll still get run over if you just sit there.”

Changing, transforming, morphing, and evolving are the words used by executives throughout the professional and creative marketing services industry to describe their current organizational status. Why? Because the time is now to take services companies to the next level. What many firms had feared in the past regarding the disruption of traditional operational processes has been thrust upon them with an unintended but welcome acceptance that this new model can work. And it actually is working today.

The authors state, “Management theorist Henry Mintzberg famously defined strategy as 5 P's: plan, ploy, pattern, position, and perspective. We have adapted his framework to propose our own 5 Ps: position, plan, perspective, projects, and preparedness.”

They suggest that opportunity in the midst of uncertainty is possible and pose five essential questions:

1. What position can you attain during and after the pandemic?

The far-reaching implications of the pandemic’s slowing, and in some cases stopping, business altogether means that companies across all markets have just been dealt a new hand. Companies that have already adopted some form of digital project management tool will have some advantage over legacy-based operational systems in keeping them on track. However, those firms using a more advanced and sophisticated solution such as Mavenlink will be equipped with the power to accelerate and actually grow, not only during the recession but also well beyond it. Early adopters of Mavenlink’s business management software are poised and ready to take advantage of those firms that have been lagging in improving how resources are managed, data interpreted, and higher profit margins established. The company reports wide acceptance and increased usage of the platform.

2. What is your plan for bouncing back?

For professional services firms, now is the time to join the revolution. With a more than 3 trillion dollar marketplace, the companies that can devise a plan to improve operations and margins and execute today will emerge from the recession at a much faster pace. On the other hand, firms that hold off and continue to use inadequate tools to manage their business face limitations and speed to market issues, especially when managing a distributed workforce across boundaries.

3. How will your culture and identity change?

The HBR authors warn, “A crisis can bring people together and facilitate a collective spirit of endurance – but it can also push people apart, with individuals distrusting one another and predominantly looking after themselves.” Mavenlink is built to capitalize on trust by providing high visibility and control over the entire life cycle of a project. This means that your clients will be able to collaborate, communicate, and coordinate within an environment designed to work from home or in a high-rise office building. Mavenlink’s clients attest to the fact that having a central Operational System of Record arms them with superpowers to transform the world.

4. What new projects do you need to launch, run, and coordinate?

Rather than relying on your in-house IT department to lead change and adapt to technology, consider joining Mavenlink and let us drive the charge forward to the new normal. Two factors have emerged that are driving this transformation. The first is the availability of business management solutions, such as Mavenlink, that essentially reconfigure sometimes decade-old policies and procedures, and take advantage of the insights that technology can enable any size firm to elevate and optimize their operational systems. This can provide enhanced resource planning, team utilization, and margin management. The second factor is that any firm, any size, anywhere including all of one’s competition can take the high ground and transform themselves into a powerhouse literally overnight, and creep into markets where clients view best practices as a minimum qualification to entry.

5. How prepared are you to execute your plans and projects?

Finally, the authors offer the following advice: “We see big differences in preparedness at the individual, team, organization, and national levels. The resources at hand, along with the speed and quality of decision-making processes, vary greatly, and the differences will determine who achieves and who falls short of success.”

The authors have created a worksheet around the five strategic questions. It can help you plot your current and future moves.

One of the most critical requirements needed by owners and managers of professional and marketing services firms is their quest for success. Only success-driven firms can readily appreciate the advantages new technology can have on managing a people-powered business. The tools exist now for better margin and resource management systems. You know it and so does your competition.

Strengthen Your Resource Management

Evolving and succeeding in the services industry requires insight. Learn more in our ebook, "The Step-by-Step Guide to Successful Resource Management."

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