Professional Services Trends to look out for in 2020 2

1. The threat posed by companies investing in in-house teams to replace agency services may not be seen as great as before. 

One area we see this a lot in is the creative marketing industry, according to the insights from marketing agencies Sköna and Hinge. Sköna sees this as a passing fad for several reasons:

  • In-house teams lack the breadth of solutions agencies have when it comes to creative.
  • In-house teams have a limited ability to manage creative teams in the long term.
  • Agencies offer an outside perspective to help develop the creative that goes into the marketplace.

Hinge and Sköna, like any other PS firm, provide a type of expertise and workflow that can benefit companies whether they have their own in-house teams. 

2. With the demand for real-time access to information, tools for things like security and communication are now an expectation.

Good security and communication have always been a top priority. In the past, having some sort of tool to make these processes more efficient was more of a “nice thing to have,” but nowadays, it’s expected. Such tools provide data integrity, which validates a firm’s offerings.

Based on Hinge’s studies, clients seek specialized expertise from PS firms more than anything. Having real-time access to information like company performance, marketing performance, sales, etc. helps to demonstrate this. 

3. PS firms are bracing for a downward pricing as a result of technological advancements.

Technology helps PS firms, but at the same time, it threatens them. It’s difficult to differentiate yourself when everyone uses similar tools. According to Hinge, this has increasingly commoditized the industry. 

Technology can undermine the core offerings of a PS firm. If you can automate its offerings, major revenue is lost. All firms need to be more disciplined about how they strategize with technology because services will need new delivery and pricing models. 

4. Properly conducted market strategies and original research are helping firms stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Top professional services firms are creating go-to-market strategies based on information collected directly from their clients. To do this effectively, PS firms need to work with reputable third-party partners and tools to avoid introducing bias. This information ensures that PS firms are messaging around ways that match the buyer’s behavior. 

Top PS firms also demonstrate specialized expertise by leveraging automation tools to collect information and produce original research. By coming to the table armed with data, they set themselves apart in their client's minds and provide value from the get-go. 

5. Automation is helping PS firms deliver more value.

Professional services firms are tasked with delivering measurable value in a very short amount of time, and automation helps scale outputs effectively and deliver more value to clients.

As a way to combat commoditization, professional services firm EY has been heavily investing in analytical tools and other autonomous solutions. This way, all the tedious work is taken out of the equation so employees can focus on analyzing and making sure everything is materially correct. Their advanced analytical tools helped the firm win over one big client. They were able to go through large amounts of data quickly, allowing them to point out the business risks in a more efficient manner. 

6. The need for individuals with a diverse background, coupled with a shortage of top talent, makes recruitment a challenge for PS firms. 

The growing use of automation tools and new processes has led to a greater focus on hiring individuals who have a breadth of skills. This is something the EY assurance department looks for in candidates. Aside from accounting and finance, prospects in the field are building backgrounds in IT, analytical tools, business processes, and consulting in order to be successful in the assurance industry.

Having such high expectations of candidates has resulted in a shortage of top talent. According to Hinge’s research, PS firms who are able to demonstrate specialized expertise are the most successful in hiring top talent.

A little something from our clients 

As a PS company, it’s important to be nimble in all levels of the project process. IDeaS, a Wrike customer who works regularly with Ps companies, advises them to be nimble in all levels of the project process. It’s important to have a reliable work collaboration tool that can help adapt to the inevitable changes in scope and scale confidently.  Sköna has used the Wrike platform for years for just this reason.

IDeaS also recommends that PS companies look for new ways to improve business processes. You don’t necessarily need a larger staff to grow your business. With the right investments and implementations, you can optimize your workflows and do just as much, if not more, with your current team. 

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