Predictions for 2024 are popular as the end of the year approaches. Enterprise Times likes to ask vendors for their predictions, asking a few simple questions to gain some insights about what the wider industry thinks will happen in the coming 12 months.
This year, Enterprise Times asked eleven vendors operating in the PPM, PSA or Work management sectors for their thoughts. Accelo, Asana, Certinia, Kantata, Klient, Wrike and Unit4 responded.
The vendors were asked to respond to specific questions about business trends, technology trends, generative AI (how could that be missed out!) and the phrases that will be most popular in 2024. There is one real consensus across all the responses, and that is that 2024 will continue to see AI at the top of everyone’s agenda.
What three business trends will affect the professional services sector during 2024?
There was little consensus around business trends in 2024 except around AI. AI is becoming both useful for professional services firms and an opportunity to deliver transformation programs.
Sanj Bhayro, GM EMEA, Asana, believes 2024 will bring “Intelligence transformation: In recent years, organisations have focused on digitising processes and products, and now with AI, they will prioritise optimising workflows, resources, and business planning through AI.”
Andy Campbell, Director, Solution Marketing at Certinia, sees a massive opportunity, noting, “The AI conversation will shift from theory to practice as professional services firms begin offering advisory services to clients in both tech-savvy sectors and other industries eager to leverage AI.”
Geoff McQueen, CEO of Accelo, makes an even bolder claim, noting, “AI will transition from an impressive demonstration tool used by early adopters into a core business capability. Any businesses not actively using AI in 2024 are unlikely to be in business in 2025.”
Another view that emerged included a focus on delivering customer success and improving the client experience. Ken Ringdahl, Kantata CTO, noted, “As new client acquisition becomes harder, a higher premium will be placed on exceptional client experiences, and value engineering will become more prevalent as a means of refining and driving outcomes.”
What three technology trends will have the most impact on the professional services sector during 2024
Every respondent flagged AI as a key trend for 2024. There is little surprise in that, with companies investing heavily in developing AI capabilities. McQueen summarised the importance succinctly, saying, “AI is also a massive technology trend. The ability to automate, replace or accelerate over 80% of the work a knowledge worker does isn’t theoretical anymore.”
Campbell noted, “2024 will be the end of the ‘AI wild west’ as enterprises move away from the experimental phase of AI to a more focussed, value-driven approach that emphasizes tangible activities and measurable returns, closely tied to specific business outcomes.”
However, Bryce Wolf, Senior Manager of Industry Solutions, Unit4, had a nuanced prediction noting the emergence of voice and Natural Language Processing (NLP). He said, “Enhanced capabilities in voice recognition and NLP to automate and improve client interactions, document processing, and data entry, thereby increasing efficiency and enhancing customer service.”
Both Bhayro and Ringdahl noted that 2024 could be the year when organisations consolidate their solutions onto one platform. Bhayro commented, “Research from Asana’s Work Innovation Lab shows that the majority (74%) of workers would prefer that everyone in their organisation use the same set of core collaboration technologies. Because of this, businesses will have to think more strategically about their tech stack and streamline accordingly.”
*Correction, this comment was wrongly attributed to Ken Ringdahl
Professional services firms are also likely to focus on resource management technology. Campbell commented, “Advanced resource management that matches employee aspirations with emerging work opportunities supporting their personal development goals will play a crucial role in attracting and retaining top talent in a highly competitive market.”
Yannick Abraham, CEO of Klient, took a slightly wider view, noting, “Professional services in 2024 will be shaped by the widespread adoption of advanced project management and automation tools, optimizing resource allocation and enhancing operational efficiency.”
How will generative AI deliver meaningful change to your clients’ organisations in 2024
There is little doubt that generative AI will have a substantial impact on businesses, both vendors and professional services firms. Several vendors noted in this article released updates around generative AI.
Jeff Lee, Director of Professional Services at Wrike, commented, “The teams that have a strong understanding of how they can benefit the most from generative AI will begin to incorporate AI into their best practices and standard ways of working.
“Automating work will be a powerful way for professional services teams to eliminate time-consuming tasks and improve productivity in 2024. We’ll also see these organizations create playbooks and frameworks to ensure these key learnings are recorded and can be easily shared across departments and teams for others to replicate this success.”
Wolf offered three specific areas where generative AI will make a difference:
- “Innovation in Content Creation: Automating and enhancing content generation, from marketing materials to reports, with efficiency and creativity.
- “Personalization at Scale: Using AI to tailor services and products to individual client needs, enhancing customer experience and engagement.
- “Enhanced Decision-Making: Providing deep insights from vast datasets, aiding in strategic planning and informed decision-making, particularly in dynamic market conditions.”
Bhayro also made a pertinent point about the foundation of AI data. He said, “Without accurate, reliable data, organisations won’t be able to deliver these results. In the year to come, organisations will need to prioritise data quality in order to pilot and test how GenAI can best serve and advance their organisations at large.”
Words of the year
Our final question was to elicit which will become the popular terms in the industry. In 2023, generative AI, Quiet Quitting and Resource Management were popular. In 2024, the vendor experts had some alignment and the full responses are detailed below.
|Sanj Bhayro, GM EMEA, Asana
|Ken Ringdahl, CTO at Kantata
|Yanick Abraham, CEO. KLient
|BI before AI
|Prescriptive Project Management
|PSA as EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System)
|Andy Campbell, Director, Solution Marketing at Certinia
|Geoff McQueen, CEO, Accelo
|Professional Services Automation
|Client Experience Innovation
|Employee Skillset Acceleration
|Bryce Wolf, Senior Manager Industry Solutions, Unit4
|Ethical AI Governance
|Jeff Lee, Director of Professional Services at Wrike
|Machine learning/Deep learning
For some of these, the vendor marketing messaging may be familiar. However, there are a few that stand out and align with my views.
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
2024 will be a year in which several vendors will deliver pragmatic AI. Those who listen to their customer’s needs should be deploying. There is little doubt that Ethical AI governance will continue to be an issue. Governments are rushing to complete legislation, and organisations are clarifying how their AI systems work. Explainable AI, a term that was used a lot in 2022, may come back to the fore as well.
It is, perhaps, disappointing that sustainability is not mentioned more frequently. Only Wolf, in his response to our first question, did mention it, saying, “Increasing focus on sustainability and social responsibility, driving firms to adopt eco-friendly practices and engage in community-oriented projects, influencing client expectations and industry standards.”
Customers, employees and other stakeholders are likely to increase pressure around ESG and PPM/PSA vendors should not remain unaware. Is this an area where someone will take the lead?