Written by – Ashmita Chatterjee
The professional services market is evergreen. People will always need HVAC service, telecom installations, cleaning services, lawn care, and myriad other services. ResearchAndMarkets.
1. Rise of Automation
Increasing competition leaves thin margins, forcing firms to cut costs to stay competitive. That’s why most firms adopt automation to improve efficiency and cut costs.
Service firms deploy assisted or unassisted automation. In assisted automation, automated tools aid humans in decision-making or delivery of services. In unassisted automation, bots replace humans to perform tasks. Robots do not experience fatigue or need to take leaves. They don’t suffer from other inefficiencies plaguing humans. Deploying bots spares humans from difficult tasks, and allows them to focus on the customer better. The cost to deploy robots is far less than recurring salaries.
Most professional services industry automates back-end jobs. Tech leaders apply assisted RPA for some front-line tasks.
2. Transformation to Virtual Firms
Telecommuting and work from home have been gaining in popularity for over a decade. COVID-19 has shifted the balance in favor of these models.
Related Reading: How Can Field Service Businesses Survive A Pandemic
Smart enterprises move their data and software to the cloud and access it through intuitive mobile apps. This empowers them to work remotely from anywhere, at any time. When the workforce is no longer tied to the office premises they become nimble and agile. The always-open mode allows them to respond to customer requests fast, get the first-mover advantage in emerging situations, and cut down costs.
Many professional services firms go a step ahead and hire contract employees in large numbers. They rely on outsourcing and offshoring tasks.
IDC estimates that 69% of businesses are currently using cloud technology in some form and the worldwide public cloud spending will touch $500 billion by 2023, up from $229 billion in 2019. Cloud adoption increases by the day. Dell’s Global Technology Adoption Index reports that enterprises investing in big data, cloud, and mobility will enjoy 53% faster revenue growth.
3. Blockchain & Artificial Intelligence Go Mainstream
Among the new technologies, Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have gained the most popularity. AI is already mainstream and blockchain will follow the suit.
Both AI and blockchain will disrupt the professional services ecosystem as it exists. Blockchain’s ability to offer cryptographic storage enhances security and makes the delivery of services more robust. AI helps perform intelligent analysis, predict customer behavior, schedule field service shifts, deliver personalized content, and do much more. All these improve efficiency, reduce expenses, and unlock new possibilities.
Related Reading: How IoT and AI is Driving Field Service Innovation
Today’s customers prefer ultra-personalization. They prefer to engage with sales executives and technicians who understand their needs and preferences. Expecting the customer to explain their requirements from scratch is a sure-shot way of driving them away to a competitor. Successful professional services businesses invest in a good CRM and analytics tool. They also deliver customized and relevant content, containing relevant information.
Professional services firms split up services into specific modules and allow customers to pick and choose what they want. A good example is DTH operators offering standalone channels. Likewise, telcos offer different services over bundled offers. For complex services, customers may break down the project and allocate it to different firms. For instance, they may offer pest extermination service and deep cleaning services to two different firms.
Increased modularization raises the need for increased collaboration at all levels. Firms will have to collaborate with entities outside their traditional ecosystem. They may have to develop quotes and execute projects in collaboration with their competitors.
Related Reading: 5 Ideas to Successfully Transform Your Field Service Business
6. Data-driven decision-making
Data analytics allows the professional services industry to make informed decisions.
The visibility offered by data analytics enables firms to:
– Get insights into operations in real-time, to make timely interventions:
For instance, the field management suite offering real-time visibility into technician movement allows estimating ETA at the customer location. Managers may intervene proactively to fix issues.
– Understand the customer better and deepen customized engagement:
Attracting and retaining clients that provide value and best sustain the business for the long term. Conversely, data allows firms to offload clients that hamper profitability.
– Decipher trends to make changes to business models:
For instance, real-time and accurate data on COVID-19 allows business managers to scale-up or scale-down as required. Online deliveries may correlate data to avoid delivery in hotspots or provide extra protection for their staff. Cleaning companies may correlate data to secure their supply chain, and scale-up and match the expected increase in orders. For an HVAC service firm, the lockdown associated with COVID-19 means the planned service schedule going haywire. They will have to redraw the schedule, and scale-up to handle the rush when small businesses reopen after the lockdown.
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