Most business and professional services companies are relying on IT to improve business processes. This is according to The Business and Professional Services Industry snapshot, which found that the sector places a higher priority on improving business processes (61 per cent) than the all industries average (56 per cent).
The results come from the Harvey Nash and KPMG CIO Survey, where 3,400 respondents across 82 countries shared their IT budget spending plans. The Business and Professional Services Industry sector snapshot contains insights from 290 survey participants.
Overall, professional services companies tend to share the same IT priorities as other industries. While still in the top three, increasing operational efficiencies (51 per cent) and saving costs (47 per cent) are a somewhat lower priority for this sector.
The sector is also more optimistic about IT budgets for the next year than the all-industries average. Almost half (47 per cent) expect an increase in their IT budgets compared to 45 per cent for all sectors.
Implementing Agile methodologies was the top response (51 per cent) for how companies are becoming more agile and responsive. They are also more likely to form strategic partnerships (38 per cent) compared to other industries (32 per cent), but less likely to use DevOps (23 vs. 28 per cent) and multi-mode IT (23 vs. 27 per cent).
The Cloud remains an important investment for many firms, which many already spending (31 per cent) or planning to spend (48 per cent) close to the all-industries average on SaaS cloud services. IaaS (30 vs. 38 per cent for all industries) and PaaS (30 vs. 37 per cent) remain a lower priority, with less investment taking place currently and the next 1-3 years.
The sector is more likely to invest in cloud services because of improved availability and resiliency (40 per cent), which is the same amount as the all industries average. However, more professional services companies (38 vs. 27 per cent for all industries) say it is the best solution available and better enables the mobile workforce (27 vs. 19 per cent ).
As for what concerns companies have about the cloud, data loss and privacy risks top the list at 54 per cent, which is higher than for all industries (49 per cent). Compared to other sectors, professional services companies are less likely to face challenges from legal and regulatory issues (26 vs. 35 per cent).
Most companies (59 per cent) say they have a digital business strategy in place, most often enterprise-wide. This is comparable with the all industries average (58 per cent), indicating that many companies understand the importance of having a good strategy to deal with digital disruption.
The professional services sector seems to face the same sources of digital disruption as other industries, such as new innovative products/services (30 per cent) and new business models (19 per cent). However, they are slightly more likely to face challenges from new business models (19 vs. 16 per cent for all industries).
When faced with digital disruption, professional services firms tend to hire and develop people (both at 26 per cent) to deal with it, which is similar to the all industries averages. They also partner (23 per cent) and contact (20 per cent) to remain relevant.
Partnering for the future
What the survey shows is that professional firms consider IT as a strategic asset for unlocking business process improvements and overcoming challenges to the conventional time-based business model commonly used in the sector. To get there, they will need to invest in major IT-enabled change and build strong relationships with trustworthy business partners.
We’ve already assisted several professions services firms with their digital transformations. If you are looking for guidance with the cloud and how to be Agile, contact us today to learn how we can ensure the best quality experience for you and your audience.