3 Professional Services Tech Trends: Cloud, Security & Mobility

4/30/15 11:42 AM iCorps Technologies

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Businesses today face a rapidly changing technology landscape that is driving fresh standards – as well as new customer demands – for how we work, how we communicate, and how we deliver our services and products.

As a result, IT is no longer just about managing performance and reliability. (Tweet this!)

In the world of professional services, your ability to adapt to and adopt technology advancements can either inhibit or springboard the development of your competitive differentiators and opportunities to “step up” service to your customers.That’s not to say that you have to – or even should – embrace every new technology or trend. Instead, your focus should be on honing in on the technology areas that:

  • Equip your employees to be more efficient and productive to meet customer demands
  • Are most relevant to your specific services offerings
  • Differentiate your services for a competitive edge

For professional services firms, keeping pace with your clients means keeping pace with these three technology areas

MOBILITY – The mobilization of audiences is the most prevalent trend right now, according to Mark Power, founder of Concep.1 Mobile devices – smartphones and tablets included – are the “preferred devices for consuming and sharing content on the go,” says Power. This includes email, voice and video conferencing, collaboration and productivity apps for your employees as well as for employee-customer communication and collaboration.

Action: Make sure your client-facing teams are suited-up with the technology they need to reach – or be reached – and remain productive anytime-anywhere in order to be highly responsive to customers and to collaborate effectively among their internal teams.

CLOUD COMPUTING Cloud-based offerings such as Microsoft Office 365, Skype for video conferencing, and Dropbox for file-sharing make communications and collaboration more available, portable and global – and less reliant on the type of hardware your users have. This is a good thing, since you don’t have control over what devices your customers are using – and trends like Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) add endless diversity to your employees’ device types. This shift enables easier, more seamless connections for your back-office staff, client-facing teams, and your clients.

Action: Focus on “application, network, and content environments that drive and enable” connections,” says ITBusinessEdge.com. These may include collaboration tools such as SharePoint, client portals, and unified communications.

SECURITY – Professional services businesses are not immune to cyber threats. In addition, many services businesses (financial and legal service, in particular) are required to comply with industry and government regulations in order to protect clients’ personal and account information.

Action: Consider As-a-Service solutions (i.e. Software-as-a-Service) which provide easy access to applications and other services and often have tight built-in security measures. But do your homework and make sure that the service provider meets your requirements for compliance (e.g., reporting and authentication processes) as well as appropriate service level agreements (SLAs) that you require to support your own client-facing services.

Time is money for a professional services company. With business as your main focus, IT often takes a backseat – until an application crashes or a server fails. Certainly, the resulting business interruption can be frustrating and costly in terms of your productivity and customer satisfaction – even your bottom line. Ensure that your business-critical technology supports – rather than impacts – that motto in your services company.

Taking advantage of technology advancements while maintaining that critical focus on your business may not be possible with the resources and/or skills that you have internally. In that case, be sure to choose a reputable IT services company with a broad range of skills that can keep your IT infrastructure performing reliably AND that can implement relevant technologies that differentiate your services and help you keep pace with your clients’ needs.

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With more than two decades of experience, the iCorps IT consulting team is dedicated to delivering excellence to our customers by staying ahead of market trends and understanding new technologies that could impact their business. iCorps delivers superior IT outsourcing, IT support and technology solutions implemented by the best consultants in the BostonPhiladelphia and New York (NY) areas.

 Sources:
Concep. Top 5 Trends in Professional Services Marketing, http://www.concep.com/future-trends-professional-services-marketing/#.VS6-oCFVhBc Mark Power, August 22, 2013]
ITBusinessEdge.com. Top Five Business Communications Trends for 2014, http://www.itbusinessedge.com/slideshows/top-five-business-communications-trends-for-2014.html]
LegalCareers.About.com. 10 Trends Reshaping the Legal Industry, http://legalcareers.about.com/od/careertrends/tp/10-Trends-Reshaping-The-Legal-Industry.htm Sally Kane]