INSIGHTS

Professional Services 2.0 - An interview with Adam Roney on the LegalTech Arcade Podcast

October 8, 2021

Can Ghostbusters, 80s lifestyle and digital transformation be on the same podcast? Yes, they can!

In this episode of the LegalTech Arcade podcast Robert MacAdam interviews our CEO Adam Roney to find out where his digital transformation journey started and what Professional Services 2.0 means for professional services businesses around the world.

You can listen to the podcast here:


Here are the biggest lessons that professional services businesses can take from this insightful conversation:

The competitive landscape, shifting customer expectations, new working patterns and disruptive technology are the main challenges the professional services industry is facing.

Some organisations have moved faster than others and embraced technology and new models, stealing the march on some traditional players. Initially, some of the big firms didn't think that this would impact them. But it did, and now the competitive landscape is fundamentally shifting with new entrants to the market appearing all the time (from start-ups to spin-outs from existing businesses).

Customer expectations have also radically changed. People now want to purchase services online, from insurance to legal advice, they expect a seamless digital experience. 

The pandemic has brought massive changes in the way we work. The biggest of all is remote working, which allows employees to work from anywhere, transacting with customers all over the globe. When businesses meet people virtually, take instructions virtually, deliver their work virtually and receive payment digitally they are essentially acting as e-commerce businesses. Re-framing every business an an e-commerce business requires a fundamental shift in thinking - how are customers on-boarded? how is customer service provided? how do we track the status of their work? how is collaboration facilitated?

This shift is fundamentally changing what it means to be a professional services business, opening a whole new world of opportunities, but also challenges.

Professional services businesses need to address these challenges. If they don't they will become less relevant and slowly but surely lose market share. 

Find the sweet spot between off-the-shelf and completely bespoke technology to launch digital products and services faster and more effectively.

Businesses are still too often presented with a binary decision between off-the-shelf products or completely bespoke solutions. However, it's all about finding the sweet spot between the two to get the best of both worlds. Solutions exist where you can use a platform to launch your digital products and services without starting from scratch, but which also allow bespoke development and custom functionality.

“It's not the technology that matters, it's the outcome. But, you have to use technology to get there as fast as possible. Getting the blend of technologies right is one of the biggest challenges that firms are facing now.”

Whatever technology you choose, to be successful, you still need to think strategically. What's the market opportunity and what are your unique differentiators? After launching your solution how will you maintain it? What is the total cost of ownership? Do you require an internal team to run and maintain the solution? What are your ambitions for the solution in the future?

Augment your internal team with the right external capability and experience to scale faster. 

Professional services firms are sometimes guilty of only looking inward to implement transformation and innovation, missing all the talent, knowledge and skill that is outside their organisation or sector. 

Experimenting with a blend of internal resources and expertise and external partners that bring in their rich experience from outside the organisation will help businesses get the most out of their investment, stay competitive and scale faster.

Risk-averse culture stops change. 

If the organisational culture isn't right, then the business will not get the outcomes it expects. Organisations that are too risk aversive look for reasons not to change and focus only on the risks they envisage and ignore or underplay the benefits.  

When you invest in transformation, you don't want to set your people up to fail. You want to give them all the tools and support they need to succeed. This means creating a people-centric and agile culture that allows your team to take calculated risks and build something great. 

“Building technology that is going to fundamentally change the way you do business is not easy, and the cost of getting it wrong can be very high.”

Hybrid digital/physical offerings are the future of professional services.

The fight for market share within the professional services sector is intensifying. At one end of the spectrum you've got the managed services giants, and at the other end you have disruptive digital-first businesses, often start-ups or scale-ups. Where do you sit? 

“The reality is that if you've got talented people and physical infrastructure, then you can launch a really interesting hybrid digital/physical offering that brings together the best of both worlds.”

You can combine the human touch with automation to save time and money, providing a first-class customer experience whilst increasing efficiencies and driving growth across the business.

What it means to be a Professional Services 2.0 business. 

In the 1.0 world we have outdated business models, inefficient ways of working and one-size-fits-all customer experiences. Moving from Professional Services 1.0 to Professional Services 2.0 means:

New business models:

  • Hybrid digital / physical offerings.
  • Flexible pricing.
  • Productised services.
  • E-commerce options as standard.

Better ways of working:

  • Connected digital workplaces.
  • Workplace analytics (productivity, health and wellbeing).
  • Collaboration.
  • Progress automation.

Improved customer experiences:

  • Omni-channel experience (physical, digital, hybrid).
  • 360° view of the customer.
  • Personalisation.
  • Meet customers where they are.

This transition from 1.0 to 2.0 has started but will accelerate more in the next 2-3 years. 

A Digital Transformation Audit is crucial for your transition from Professional Services 1.0 to 2.0. 

COVID-19 has permanently impacted how people think about technology, how they buy new services and how they work and live their lives. To understand what this means for your business, you need to go through an auditing process to identify where digital has the best impact on your organisation. Calls9 has developed an audit process that does precisely that, and it does not take months or cost the earth.

Following a people-first approach, Calls9 involves your key stakeholders, customers and employees to identify areas of improvement from their perspective. Your market sector as a whole is then examined to identify changes that could affect your business, and finally, a competitor benchmarking analysis is carried out to see how best to differentiate you in your field.

“Because change not managed properly, can at times be worse than doing nothing at all.” 

Once the audit is completed, the planning begins. We create a digital strategy built around your specific business needs. Typically, we help organisations to develop new business models, better ways of working and improved customer experiences. Examples of the actions that Calls9 customers have implemented include:

  • Productising their services and selling them digitally.
  • Building or Improving their customer portals.
  • Re-imagining how they use their intranet to connect and communicate with their teams.
  • Developing membership and network services
  • Enabling process automation and better knowledge management. 

These are some of the key themes an organisation needs to consider to transition to Professional Services 2.0.

What makes us different?

What is unique about Calls9 is that in the morning we can work for a multi-million-pound organisation with thousands of staff all over the world, and in the afternoon, we can be dealing with a start-up that has a much smaller team but a great idea that is prepared to shake up the market. Understanding the needs of both enterprises and start-ups gives us a unique view that we share with our customers.

Are you ready to become a Professional Services 2.0 business?

Thanks to Rob MacAdam, VP of Product at BusyLamp and Host of the LegalTech Arcade podcast: 

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