The Consulting Year In Review (Part 3): Tools & Processes for Efficiency
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By: Kevin Plexico, Senior Vice President of Information Solutions at Deltek
Recently, we asked consulting leaders and industry experts to discuss their biggest challenges in 2022 and what they were doing to set themselves up for 2023 success. Part 1 of our Consulting Year-In-Review blog series focused on 2022 consulting challenges, while part 2 discussed 2023 headwinds. Part 3 focuses on the top tools and processes consulting leaders are implementing to optimize efficiency in 2023.
Tools for Greater Consulting Efficiency
The consulting experts we talked with had a myriad of digital initiatives planned (or already underway) to help increase efficiency and simplify business processes in 2023. These solutions ranged from basic project management and collaboration tools to more robust project-based ERP systems. Some of the most popular responses included:
- Collaboration Tools (Microsoft Teams)
- Data Analytics Tools (Power BI)
- Project Management Tools (Smartsheets)
- Sales & CRM (Salesforce & PipeDrive)
- Project Based ERP Systems (Deltek Vantagepoint)
As a leading advisor to engineering and consulting firms, Environmental Financial Consulting Group, LLC (EFCG) has been looking for ways to better manage its existing data and also pull in more external information. Andreas Georgoulias, Director of Sustainability and ESG at EFCG shares, "We brought in a full-time employee who will be helping us with data analytics and implementing Power BI." In 2023 the expectation is that EFCG will have a greater understanding of what they can do better to help their clients and also be able to present data more effectively.
As professional services organizations mature, they often find a need for a more complete solution to help boost productivity and collaboration and increase profitability. Tim Bailey, VP of Global Consulting at Deltek, expanded on this, "Many small firms we work with begin by using tools like Microsoft Excel or Smartsheets for project management and Quickbooks® for accounting. However, as they grow or experience more complex projects, many find they need more robust systems, including financial management, project and resource planning, and CRM modules."
Tim continued, "The consulting firms we partner with often work with disparate systems and many integrations. Firms who implement project-based ERP systems can bring all these disparate systems under one platform giving them visibility into the type of projects that are the most profitable.”
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Digital Transformation Leads to Consulting Growth
Overall, research shows that technology adoption, such as project management, communication and marketing automation tools, pay off in the long run. Kelly Waffle, Managing Director at Hinge Research Institute, discussed research from the 2022 Hinge High Growth Study. She noted, "What was particularly insightful was that the highest growth consulting firms, the firms growing 3.5x faster than average, are not only using more technology, they are using more of the technology (as seen below). The high-growth consulting firms are developing a stronger maturity of technology, and it is paying off for them with greater leads, trust, growth, and profitability."
Many of the experts we talked with also mentioned the importance of LinkedIn for their 2023 sales, marketing, and training plans. In our 2022 Consulting Leadership Roundup Webinar, Andy Jordan, President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., explained, "We have found that LinkedIn is becoming increasingly important for our firm as they continue to offer new features and capabilities. It's a great way to connect with clients and prospects, share thought leadership ideas, as well as drive our customer acquisition process."
Scott Montgomery, CCO at Worldgate, LLC agrees, "Linkedin has an incredible training platform. We expect that working from home will continue to be the norm and figuring out how to integrate and train new people will need to be a priority. We plan to continue leveraging their platform for training, prospecting, and social communication." And Andy Jordan agreed that the power of LinkedIn for training is only increasing, "As an instructor, I have access to some of the statistics, and it's amazing, some courses are getting upwards of ¼ million learners on them."
Optimizing Processes for Increased Efficiency
Some firms are choosing to focus on process optimization instead of implementing new tools. Jason Mlicki, from the marketing consulting firm Rattleback, said his firm is concentrating on optimizing and documenting processes to improve efficiency in 2023. "We've not implemented any new tools. Instead, we are focused on documenting our internal processes, improving knowledge transfer, and becoming more disciplined in our behaviors within the existing tools we already use. For example, we are using Sharepoint to create and store process documents and creating videos of our most common procedures so they can be referenced across the company and used for training purposes when we onboard new employees."
And Speaking of Consulting Challenges & Solutions …
Make sure to join consulting expert Andy Jordan, on January 19th as he reviews the Top 10 Critical Consulting Moves that leaders of professional services firms should make in 2023 to ensure growth and profitability.
Thank you to our consulting partners who helped with this effort:
- Andreas Georgoulias, Director of Sustainability and ESG, Environmental Financial Consulting Group, LLC.
- Andy Jordan, President of Roffensian Consulting S.A.
- Dave Hofferberth, Managing Director, Service Performance Insight
- Jason Mlicki, Principal of Rattleback
- Kelly Waffle, Managing Director at The Hinge Research Institute
- Scott Montgomery, Chief Customer Officer at Worldgate, LLC
- Tim Bailey, VP of Global Consulting at Deltek
Summary: Part 3 of our Consulting Year-In-Review blog series focuses on the tools and processes consulting leaders are implementing to optimize their firms in 2023.
Watch the 2022 Consulting Year In Review Roundtable
Consulting leaders discuss the challenges of 2022 & opportunities for 2023
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