Professional Services Meeting Image by Werner Heiber from PixabayKantata has published a brief report entitled “Key Trends in the Professional Services and Consulting World. The report is only nine pages long and based on a small survey of 129 US respondents working in the professional services industry. Censuswide conducted it.

The report is separated into five main sections, with details about Kantata and its solutions in a further two. The six are:

  • Research Methodology
  • Industry Changes (the key trends)
  • Organisations challenges (and the various forces they face)
  • Adopt and Adapt (how companies are approaching the challenges)
  • Overcoming the challenges (how software can help overcome challenges)

The report finishes with a Kantata plug, highlighting three areas in which its software can assist organisations.

  • Data-Driven Decision Making
  • Insight into changing client expectations
  • Robust resource forecasting and planning

At the start of the report, the authors provide the only graph, which surprisingly is used for the industry breakdown of respondents. However, it seems flawed at first glance, with the industry sector and function seemingly confused. For example, 35% of the respondents were from IT, 3% HR, 3% retail, catering and leisure and 2% Architecture and Engineering. It brings into question the validity of the data set.

The report could have used more graphs to illustrate the data points in the bulk of the report.

What is in the report?

Respondents were asked to identify the key trends within their industry, and five stood out.

  • Technology Advancements (31%)
  • Increasing Globalisation (20%)
  • Data-driven decision making (16%)
  • Changing client expectations (16%)
  • Growing interconnectedness (12%)

One could argue that data-driven decision-making is also initiated by technology advancements; it is clear that technology changes are playing a key part in the industry. The emergence of generative AI Professional Services Automation and resource management is important, and one that Kantata’s own Professional Services Cloud can play a key role.

The report highlights two disruptive forces that PSOs are challenged by: AI and technology-driven disruption. What is unusual is that economic challenges were not highlighted, nor was talent in this mix. Without access to the question mix, were these even an option? Most surveys have, they are key issues.

The authors cited that PSOs are taking different approaches to meeting these challenges. The approaches were:

  • Innovation in that experimentation 22%
  • Agility and flexibility 19%
  • Continuous learning and upskilling 15%
  • Future-proofing strategies 12%
  • Process improvement 11%

The report expands only a few of these concepts without going into any details nor adding anything in the way of a qualitative element to the research.

It does dive into changing client expectations.

The top three identified were:

  • Emphasizing quality and consistency 26%
  • Measurable ROI 13%
  • Knowledge transfer 12%

It also notes that organisations are turning to software to solve these challenges, looking for them to provide data analytics/insights (19%), knowledge management/expertise sharing (19%), and enhanced decision-making support (13%).

The report does not delve into the Globalisation and growing interconnectedness trend, though, which seems an omission.

Enterprise Times, What does this mean

Whilst brief, this report provides insights into some of the challenges facing professional services organisations. The inference is that organisations are increasingly turning to technology to keep ahead and meet their challenges. In turn, this brings further challenges. The Kantata view is espoused by Michael Speranza, CEO of Kantata, who said,

Michael Speranza, CEO of Kantata
Michael Speranza, CEO of Kantata

“It’s more urgent than ever for PSOs and consulting firms to balance efficiency with scalable growth in constantly changing macroeconomics and market dynamics. The continued adoption of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and vertical SaaS solutions, will play a significant role in finding that balance. PSOs that leverage purpose-built technology effectively can stay ahead of the competition, better engage their resources, exceed client expectations and improve efficiency for success today and tomorrow.” 

Could the authors have done more with this data. Certainly, the layout, with data visualisations, could have been improved. There were also some odd omissions from the data points around the trends and challenges that are present.

At the heart of this report were some trends that are important to the industry. Technology change is covered well. However, the impact of Globalisation and growing interconnectedness were generally ignored despite being worthy of further investigation.

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