Around six months ago, I wrote a White Paper for the enterprise software company Epicor titled “The Seven MegaTrends of Professional Services: The Forces That Are Transforming Professional Services Industries and How To Respond”. The paper has attracted a huge amount of interest, however up until now, it has only been available on sites requiring registration. The White Paper is now available for free download from this site (no registration required!) as a pdf here:
I will also serialize the paper on this blog in 13 parts:
- Introduction (below)
Responding to the MegaTrends
Not so long ago now, professional services were a solid, predictable domain, performed by gentlemen (and only rarely ladies) who played by gentlemen’s rules. The world has changed, and pine as they might, those who yearn for the “good old days” are finding that the nature of their chosen occupation has irreversibly shifted.
Those who protest that professional services has been a stable haven in a world of change, and that they work just as they did decades ago when they began their careers, need only look at email to belie their statements. It is just 10 years since it became commonplace for professional firms to use email internally and with their clients. Today the vast majority of internal communication, and much client communication, happens by email. Even those who refuse to stoop to using a computer themselves, insisting that their assistants print out all their messages, find that it changes how clients communicate and their expectations. For example, a reasonable time to respond in writing to a letter posted by a client may have been a week. Today many clients fume if they have to wait 24 hours for a response to an email.
Yet technology is far from the only factor changing the nature of professional services. Public perception of business ethics (“what ethics?”) is a powerful industry driver on multiple levels. Domestic and international politics play a powerful role in shaping the competitive landscape at home and abroad. The ever-increasing access to professional education and information changes the role and value of specialist knowledge. Generational change, with baby boomers shifting into retirement, and impatient, switched-on Gen-Yers wanting their share, shakes traditional structures.
Professional services firms must strive to understand the critical shifts that are driving their businesses now and into the future. In this paper we will study the seven MegaTrends of professional services. This will provide us with a sound foundation for responding strategically, and taking advantage of these fundamental changes. The seven MegaTrends are:
* Client Sophistication
Let us now examine the MegaTrends in detail.