Adapting to today’s professional services landscape requires firms to increase operational efficiencies across the entire portfolio, maximize billable hours, reduce expenses, and use their data to make smarter business decisions.
It’s too much for humans to handle by themselves – and as such the use of automation is becoming an essential part of running a business.
It’s not enough to automate manual tasks or use AI/ML to reinforce best practices, governance, regulatory compliance. These use cases are vitally important – but they’re largely preventative.
They help organizations avoid wasting time and money and keep them out of trouble.
To secure a competitive advantage, service-based organizations must learn to leverage intelligent automation in new ways to actively create value. Read on and we’ll explain what, exactly, that means for professional services firms.
Automation as a Means of Value Creation
Per Zapier’s 2021 State of Business Automation report, 90% of knowledge workers say automation has improved day-to-day work, 65% say they’re less stressed while at work, and two-thirds say they’re more productive. At the same time, nearly 95% of respondents said their role involves repetitive, time-consuming tasks.
Generally, organizations are automating things like data entry, document management, lead scoring, and inventory & logistics management.
But – according to McKinsey’s 2021 State of AI survey, firms are increasingly using AI-driven automation to optimize service operations and aid in the development of new products and services. They’re still automating manual tasks like data entry – it’s just that more service-based firms are looking at automation as a tool for proactively delivering more value to their customers.
Take for example, Openwork, Microsoft customer and UK wealth management firm.
After struggling with inefficient processes and a fragmented network of customer service tools and processes, Openwork used Dynamics 365 Customer Service and Sales to build a customized engagement platform with built-in automations that populate reports, streamline compliance, and most critically, reduce friction for the customer. And – as a result, advisers are completing core admin tasks up to 60% faster.
Openwork’s Wealth & Platform Director, Mike Morrow says it doesn’t matter if advisers are helping clients navigate retirement planning, the home buying process, or growing their wealth in general, the point is, advisers should be focused on helping clients improve their lives.
Ultimately, automating admin tasks allowed advisers to spend more time providing personalized service to their clients and minimal time searching for information, logging data, and worrying about security threats and regulatory non-compliance. What’s more, Openwork is now focused on using customer data to develop new solutions for existing clients and bring new ones into its network.
hhpberlin is a German firm that provides fire engineering services to support “special construction projects” such as schools, shopping malls, hospitals, nursing homes, business parks, and high-rises.
Though hhpberlin is on the smaller side (~200 employees spread across six locations), the firm takes on 1000+ complex projects per year. The company initially sought out Microsoft Dynamics 365 as an ERP and CRM solution that could serve as the IT foundation for its agile business strategy – enabling employees to solve complex challenges and take quick action based on real-time insights. But over time, D365 became more than that.
These days, hhpberlin sees D365 as an operating resource. The company uses it to continuously refine its business processes, roles, structure, etc. and design new functionalities that better align with its current priorities and its customers. Solutions like Power Automate’s process mining, process advisor, and task mining can help firms ID inefficiencies and use those insights to streamline workflows and automate processes. But you’ll need to make sure you’re working with clean, comprehensive data sets and a clear picture of where you’re at right now and where you’d like to be in the future.
See, the reason hhpberlin is able to drive improvements with automation is because they have a strong digital foundation and a deep understanding of their processes.
It’s important to consider your business goals, user requirements, and existing business processes first. What problems can be solved with deeper insights, automation, or AI guidance? What processes might be enhanced or replaced? Then, use that information to inform future automation initiatives.
It’s also important to understand that automation is a pretty advanced part of any transformation initiative. It’s a complex and layered process that’s hard to pull off without the right partner on your side.
Velosio’s automation experts can unify large, expansive data sets across your entire portfolio – even if you’re operating in multiple countries and currencies. We’ll work with your team to turn that data into actionable insights and powerful automations that not only save time and money, but actively create value for your customers. Contact us today to learn more about your options.