Virtual consulting or remote service delivery is here to stay for Professional Services firms that want to improve profitability, retain talent, and grow.
Professional Services firms have been at the forefront of adopting new technologies and innovative service delivery methods to add value to their clients. Virtual consulting was one such outcome from that frame of mind.
The pandemic accelerated the adoption of virtual consulting. While this acceleration was born out of necessities of those circumstances, it is now here to stay because of the value it adds to both – the Professional Services firms and their clients.
What is remote service delivery and how does it work?
Professional Services has always been a people-centric business. At the core of the business is relationships. Consultants were expected to travel to the client site to meet with different stakeholders and present their ideas in conference rooms, handle any resistance, and drive adoption.
With the advent of new communication technologies, consultants started to meet with clients and collaborate with their teams remotely. This was seen as an add-on luxury and the in-person meetings were seen as the primary way of both engaging with the clients and getting work done with peers. That changed with the pandemic.
Since consultants in Professional Services firms don’t need to go to the office like in a typical manufacturing business, they were able to continue to operate in the virtual environment. The businesses that were able to adapt to the virtual consulting environment and deliver services remotely were able to win new business, meet project deadlines, and grow.
Benefits of virtual consulting or remote service delivery
Now that the work-from home situation has changed to the hybrid model with some businesses exploring ways of going back to the office on a more regular basis, will the need for virtual consulting go down?
Professional Services firms have seen the value in virtual consulting, and the business value of this approach may drive further adoption of remote service delivery wherever possible.
The benefits of virtual consulting for your employees include:
- Reduced travel time and expenses
- Option to relocate to low-cost cities
- More time to work on different projects or spend time with family and friends
Consultants who work on projects with remote service delivery can have a better work-life balance, job satisfaction, and savings. This will make them want to continue working for the business.
For Professional Services firms that are struggling to retain top talent, it would give them a big boost in reducing employee attrition. The benefits of virtual consulting for the business include:
- Increased profitability with reduction in travel costs
- Improved utilization of consultant time
- Ability to grow the team quickly without incurring infrastructure and other costs
Given the business value of virtual consulting, it will be in the interest of Professional Services firms to continue the practice.
What will your clients think?
What happens after a project is complete? Professional Services firms that just move on by searching for new clients will stay in that cycle of constantly looking for new business. On the other hand, business that are able to continue that engagement with existing clients to nurture that relationship and wait for opportunities to upsell or cross sell are in a better position to grow the business and become more profitable.
Having in-person interactions with every client may be a difficult task. Virtual consulting offers you the option for virtual “check-ins” with the clients. If there is an ongoing project, these meetings can be used to share project status updates. If the project is complete, you can offer more value by sharing analytics and new reports while exploring cross sell opportunities. Virtual meetings can also be used periodically to share the latest trends in the industry that would be of interest to the client.
Clients are interested in working with businesses that are able to solve their problems and grow their business. If this can be accomplished with virtual consulting, then that’s what they will choose.
What you need for efficient remote service delivery
For efficient remote service delivery, you need the right collaboration tools to work with team members spread across different geographies and time zones. The team should be able to connect team members with functionalities that include chat, video, and setup meetings. The team should also be able to share documents and collaborate. Microsoft Teams has all the above functionalities and it is capable of doing a lot more.
The other big element of remote service delivery is the team’s ability to access data remotely using any device. This will be easier if your data and applications are hosted on a cloud service like Microsoft Azure. Choosing a cloud service provider like Microsoft is important because you have to ensure your data is secure in the cloud and that the connection to that data is also secure.
What can help businesses reach peak performance is by implementing a Professional Services Automation software (PSA) that is integrated with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions. With these tools and resources in place, the team can deliver consistent results to clients. With consistent results, the consultants will have the confidence they need when they talk to prospects about what they can do for the client’s business.
Want to know how an integrated PSA software can help you build the processes and structures in place for growth? Talk to our consultants today.