Consultants in Professional Services firms need to find clients, deliver projects, build new skills, and bill against different work, all of which requires effective collaboration.

Why collaboration is important for Professional Services firms

As Professional Services firms grow, they need to cater to clients who have a presence in multiple countries. This compels businesses to open offices and spread their presence across geographies. Some firms expand by acquiring or merging with other businesses. This creates the challenge of collaborating, especially when different geos are used to functioning as a separate unit having their own systems and software.

Having siloed processes and systems creates inefficiencies. You have to choose which legacy IT systems to keep and connect with other platforms and solutions from across the globe and which solutions you need to let go of to implement new solutions with better capabilities and integrations. No matter what you choose, managing the change will not be easy.

More than integrating the different IT systems and software, what is important is to get people to align to a common goal and have a collaborative approach to achieve common business goals.

How collaboration can drive revenue growth

When consultants from across the business collaborate effectively, they are able to leverage specialized learnings from different regions and the specialists from the same domain can come together to share knowledge and grow. This will build the capabilities of your consultants, which will help them deliver better results to clients.

Once clients are satisfied with your project delivery capabilities in one area, they may be interested in working with you to solve their challenges in other areas of their business as well. This creates natural cross-sell opportunities with the clients already having a buy-in with their previous experience.

With specialized knowledge in different areas in your vertical, and with a large and increasing portfolio of offerings, you will set your business on a high growth path, all thanks to an effective collaboration strategy that is at the heart of this approach.

How can you drive this collaboration? Leadership can encourage collaboration with building a conducive culture, offering training, but more importantly by having the right technologies to enable effective collaboration.

Leveraging new technologies can help

The pandemic forced Professional Services firms of all sizes to take up their journey to the cloud on a war footing. Remote access to data and online collaboration tools became an essential part of that journey with immediate requirements to deliver projects while working from home. Businesses that were able to adapt to virtual consulting were able to deliver on time and remain profitable, while the others started to lag.

Although many businesses have adopted the hybrid mode of working and a few have chosen to go back to office completely or offer a permanent work from home, the need for digital collaboration technologies is undeniable.

New technologies have made collaboration and virtual consulting easier. What’s more is that these technologies are also helping consultants build better online relationships with clients, with more frequent meetings to touch base and solve problems without having to travel.

Consultants today have more free time to work on collaborating with colleagues across the business and meet clients. Automation software is doing the heavy-lifting of gathering and analyzing the data, which lets consultants focus on what’s important – building relationships both within the business and with clients.

What technologies can you implement to enable a collaborative environment? There are many to choose from.

Some technologies to get you started on improving collaboration

A collaboration toolTo begin with, you need a collaboration tool that does more than help your team setup meetings. The collaboration tool should be able to allow consultants to setup temporary groups to collaborate on projects, share files, assign tasks, and monitor progress.

Microsoft Teams is a good option to consider for this.

ERP, CRM, and HCM solutions in the cloud. Collaboration is not just about people working with each other. It is also about the systems that enable effective collaboration. If you have a connected Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions it becomes easier to build smoother workflows and enable collaboration opportunities across different business functions.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a good option to consider. With is modular approach to each function like Sales and HR, you can choose what you need and then add new modules based on your needs.

Add to this Professional Services Automation (PSA) software, which gives you greater visibility across projects and the requirements for each. It will also help create better synergy among service delivery teams and other functions like finance, marketing, sales, and HR.