Secure Growth By Following In The Footsteps Of The Top Consultancy Firms
When you're a small but growing consultancy firm, agility is your best friend. It helps you 'turn on a sixpence' should the industrial wind change direction.
But, as you grow, relying on your ability to react may not be enough. As you get bogged down with more people, more clients and more bureaucracy, you become less malleable and flexible.
The solution is, according to Fergus Gilmore, managing director of Deltek UK, to leave the impulsive days behind you and become more prepared as you expand.
He says: "Growing firms should follow the lead of the top performers in their industry - companies that never leave anything to chance and that have the resources to plan and prepare for every eventuality."
Capitalising on opportunity
Having closely watched and worked with some of the movers and shakers in the consultancy industry, Gilmore has formed an insight into how firms manage growth and respond effectively to the changing environment.
He says they focus on improving their professional services automation (PSA) capabilities as a means of gaining visibility into and improving control over a firm's number one revenue generator: The project.
Growth supporting projects
"Adopting systems and tools to better manage front office activities such as project management and resource utilisation gives larger and more established firms the insight they need to prosper.
"Focusing all processes and data into the project and then linking all projects with back office processes means they are able to make project-related decisions that will strategically direct the business and take it in the direction they want it to go."
Ahead of the competition
"For instance," he explains, "market analysis has told these top performing firms that they will continue to face stiff competition, so they've taken action.
"They use PSA to create better cost estimates, impress new clients by analysing past project performance information and use what they find out to establish new revenue streams by crafting new, modern products and services ."
Utilising for profit
PSA technology is also helping these established companies fight back against squeezed margins - another major challenge in today's consulting sector.
Pinpointing where consultants are being utilised and then assigning them to projects that generate the best revenue will improve profitability. They are also using tools to support time and expense tracking and improve customer retention through enhancing service reliability and offering useful project insight.
Winning and retaining clients
Top consultancy firms are using PSA to win and retain new business which is a major contributor to growth and a priority for any sized firm.
"Spotting and retaining the right type of clients - those that will benefit most from a firm's particular skill set and will in turn reap the most reward - will continue to be a real challenge for firms moving forwards,” says Gilmore.
"Best in class firms are relying on their PSA platforms to analyse past and present data to reveal where the most profitable business is and how to get more business out of existing clients."
Tight flow of information
From Gilmore's insight we know that following in the footsteps of the top performing consultancies means overcoming the challenges in consultancy by improving project visibility and control. It also involves intrinsically linking front of house activities with back office processes through PSA platforms so that better, more strategic decisions can be made.
With these tools in place, ambitious firms can look forward to releasing themselves from the confides of their own bureaucracy and forging ahead with their growth aspirations no matter how big they get.
If you want to know more about using PSA as an enabler for growth, download our free 'PSA for Dummies' guide.