Business is booming in professional services. As an industry it makes up 10.7 percent of the UK economy, employs over 1 million people and contributed £176 billion to the British economy in 2015 alone.
Professional services remains an industry of strategic importance in Britain. Its success is set to continue with 75 percent of professional service businesses expecting an increase in turnover this year. However, this is not to say that there aren't challenges facing businesses in the industry:
- Establishing their Unique Selling Point (USP). It can be hard for businesses to differentiate their offering within professional services. After all, there can only be so much difference between one lawyer or accountant and another. Claiming that your client service is your USP is not enough. Customers expect more of a premium service.
- Increased competition. In the last year, 62 percent of professional services executives saw an increase in market competition. More than 30 percent also said that this increase was due to new players in the market.
- Decrease in retainer income. Fifty-eight percent of services organisations now derive their income primarily from projects. This is instead of traditional retainer clients. Clients' preference for shorter term contracts has been driving this change.
- Adaptability and scalability. As the volume of ad-hoc projects increases, businesses need to be more readily adaptable. For example, they may require rapid scalability to meet client demand. It may also mean needing access to specialised skills which in house team members don't have.
- Resource scarcity. Thirty-six percent of professional services firms had to turn away work last year due to a lack of resources.
The great unknown: Brexit's impact on professional services
Without a published governmental plan, it's uncertain how Brexit will affect professional services. However, there are a few areas in which businesses can anticipate and plan for issues that may arise.
- Cross-border business. The EU deal may not include concessions or access into the open market. This restriction on free movement of goods might mean extra costs, so firms should review how they trade moving forward.
- International workforce. The professional services industry has become increasingly global. Because of this, it might be harder to maintain remote or overseas workers due to new taxes, foreign exchange rates and visas. With these potential cost increases, companies might not be able to find the best talent. Or, if they do, that talent will cost a lot more post-Brexit.
- Foreign exchange rates. Cost increases may be inevitable if the pound remains weak against foreign currencies. Firms outside the UK also face potentially lower net revenue if paid in the pound.
These challenges represent an opportunity for software providers to grow their business. Through ISV partnership they can help professional services firms stand out. They do this by offering an expanded roster of IT services.
ISV partnership lets you get down to business
Professional services firms are looking to the future. In a market with increased competition, less guaranteed income, resource scarcity and the uncertainty of Brexit businesses need to stand out. Software providers can help them do this.
However, software providers need to offer something over and above their competition. This is where ISV partnership can bring real value and business growth to their business. By helping them rise above other software providers offering standard services.
Here are a few potential ISV partners which can help software providers stand out in the professional services industry.
In professional services, the process of signing contracts can be a complex and stressful process for clients. This is where DocuSign can help. It's a platform for executing any form of legally binding contract digitally.
For example, a lawyer writing up a non-disclosure agreement can upload it to DocuSign and send it around the world for signing. They carry out the execution of this complex contract quickly, without ever having to print it out.
DocuSign is ideal for professional services firms who want to improve their customer experience in a cost-effective manner. This frees up extra resources and makes firms more competitive as their processes are better.
Watch Jesper Frederiksen, VP of DocuSign, explain how they help businesses do more with less.
With the increase in project-based work within the professional services industry, it's never been more important to scale. Cloud service providers can scale to client demand, but they must be able to do it securely.
Barracuda Networks is a security solutions firm which looks at how you secure your applications within the cloud. It ensures that confidential information is secure, no matter the amount of data involved. Security has become a more urgent issue in recent years, with the number of malware attacks on the rise.
Barracuda protects the data of both professional services firms and their respective clients. They keep their network secure and backup all company data, ensuring business continuity and swift disaster recovery.
Watch Stephen Wagstaff, from Barracuda Networks, explain how extra security is vital to protecting vital business applications.
Fifty percent of executives look for more information after seeing a product or service in a video. If professional services firms want to stand out they should take advantage of this powerful marketing tool.
TV Everywhere provides a platform, Vidcoding, for businesses to manage their video content. It is easy-to-use, scalable and cost-effective. Marketing videos have a huge potential reach as the platform lets you code different formats for all platforms and devices.
Watch Iolo Jones, CEO of TV Everywhere, describe how their drag and drop platform gives businesses more control over their marketing.
The bottom-line for business growth
Here's the bottom line: you will struggle in a crowded market if you don't stand out. Through ISV partnership, software providers can provide professional services firms capabilities which allow them to rise above the competition.
Not only that, by offering an expanded roster of IT services, software providers can find their own success, while enabling their clients. You can grow and prosper together.