Digitisation and increasing competition are seeing companies across a range of industries face significant disruptions, and the professional services sector is no exception. Studies have now provided insight into the major trends that will influence professional services over the course of 2018.

Market research from Research Now, alongside Mavenlink, a global professional services firm, indicate the challenges and opportunities present for the sector as it progresses, highlighting what will shape professional services in the foreseeable future:

Expectations of Clients

Client expectations are increasing, regardless of the industry. They want more value for their money, they expect a better quality of work, and above all, they want their solutions and services to be delivered quicker. In addition, they ask for more accountability and transparency in the services they receive. Of course, this is going to create a great amount of pressure and can be one of the biggest challenges for professional service firms.

For organisations trying to offer a range of services can run the risk of over-stretching resources and may even offer services outside of their core capabilities, in the hope of creating client satisfaction. Ultimately, this is not sustainable and can result in negative results in the long-run.

Marketplace Competition

One of the other reasons why professional service firms expand their operations is to rival competing organisations. According to the survey, 80% of executives have noted the increasing sense of competition over the last 12 months, in comparison to 62% from the previous year.

For many, consumer loyalty and advocacy will be one of the key ways to stand out in the marketplace.

Changing Business Models

Research indicates that many organisations have had to turn down work because of a lack of necessary resources. Outsourcing is increasingly being viewed as the best solution, allowing firms to avoid large investments associated with recruitment, employee training and wages. The need for an effective outsourcing policy is of paramount importance, but many find it difficult to find good contractors. Organisations that will be successful are the ones that can build and manage talent networks; something which is already being seen in the industry, with the vast majority of high performances utilising external talent networks within their operations and stressing their importance to their success.

The Sum?

Clients are demanding higher quality services at quicker rates, whilst digitally-capable competitors are presenting themselves in the industry, and business models are evolving to match the changes. These pressures are seeing the professional service world go through a time of significant transformation, making it harder to operate a services-based business. Some of the top challenges businesses will face includes trying to meet profit and margin targets through traditional methods.

The key to success, according to the survey, boiled down to winning new business, increasing profit margins through effective budget planning, improving operational processes, and business expansion, highlighting the need for professional services to seize opportunities and encourage resourcefulness.

Get in touch with our experts today to see how we can help you make strategic plans for business success. Our experts in professional services procurement will ensure your organisation runs at its best, regardless of disruptive trends.

Article by: Jason Adderley and Simon Atkinson