Digital strategies for business services

Leveraging technology to empower your people

Sep 13, 2021
Business services Management consulting

Organizations providing business services such as staffing and recruiting, public relations, advertising and marketing, environmental consulting and facility management have unique needs that must be met to achieve their profitability goals. Whether monitoring the revenue cycle, tracking projects, allocating resources or overseeing field services, firm leaders must manage a variety of complex systems and processes.

Taking an eye off one area or neglecting to maximize resources in another can mean project delays, write-offs or even failure. Numerous risks, challenges and pain points can span the entire project delivery cycle, from the initial pursuit and estimate phase through closeout, and may include the following:

Business services digital strategies chart

First step: A digital road map

Technology is critical in addressing these myriad issues and ensuring project success. Effective use of digital resources can benefit all aspects of a business services organization, including the customer experience, project delivery, back-office functions and field operations. Potential benefits include a reduction in labor costs, process waste, work hours and error rates; and improved controls, transparency, and visibility into operational and management reporting.

Creation of a digital road map is the first step in optimizing technology for your firm—and below are key areas to consider when planning your itinerary:

Creation of a digital road map - chart

Elements for success

In developing and executing your overall digital strategy, consider how your organization’s business processes and technology systems can work more efficiently to meet the needs of your customers, employees, operations team and executive leadership.

Here are six tips to guide you to success on your digital journey:

  • Begin with a strategy: Define your organization’s digital goals and outline steps to achieve them.
  • Have value-focused conversations: Elevate the discussions of key business owners and executives by focusing on critical trade-offs and time-to-value estimates.
  • Examine use cases: Identify pain points and then examine underlying business issues to address the root causes rather than just treating the symptoms.
  • Develop employee skills: Assess and advance the skills needed to drive automation and ensure organizational readiness to adopt digital change.
  • Tap executive leadership: Create clear ownership, not just sponsorship, of digital investments, and encourage the leadership team to model digital thinking and behaviour.
  • Cultivate key external partners: Leverage strategic partners that have deep knowledge of digital technologies and have successfully applied them to organizations like yours.

Questions to consider

Identifying your organization’s unique challenges and concerns is vital to developing your individual digital strategy. Important questions to consider include:

  • How well do you measure project margin, in terms of both accuracy and real-time access to data?
  • What methods do you currently use to measure project health (i.e., timing, budget trends and critical path items)?
  • Do you undertake a regular resource planning process, even if manual? What resources are dedicated to project scheduling? Do you forecast resource needs to inform future hiring decisions?
  • How do you collaborate with your customers? What is the customer experience when engaging with your organization?
  • How complex are your billing requirements between services and hardware, and what is the impact on revenue recognition? How manual is the current billing process?

RSM contributors

  • Karen Wiltgen

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