In the last decade, newer and more affordable technologies have entered the consulting market, helping businesses work more effectively and efficiently.
From state-of-the-art ERP packages for consultants to professional services automation solutions, integrated project management tools, knowledge management platforms, and PowerPoint add-ons, technology can serve as a savior for many challenges faced by consulting leaders/employees who run operations and consultants.
One area where technology can deliver significant returns is in knowledge and document management. Chris Smith, ANZ Alliance and Partner Manager at M-Files, discusses how improved information processes can help solve five key challenges consultancies face every day.
1. Higher customer expectations
Consulting firms now have access to vast amounts of data; However, so do your customers. In management consulting, specialist knowledge is somewhat endangered by the widespread dissemination of knowledge and the resulting changes in customer expectations. Clients today want access to real-time information, and consulting firms need to be able to adapt if they want to be successful.
Organizations can address this challenge with smarter content management solutions that provide contextual search capabilities based on metadata, so consultants can find the information they need instantly.
An effective information management system that eliminates friction and avoids duplication of documents and requests can help consulting firms meet client expectations even with fewer resources and higher expectations than before.
2. Increasingly difficult sales and profit growth
Customers can shop around and compare prices more easily, forcing consultancies to streamline their processes and procedures to lower the cost of their products and services and win business. However, this can also pose challenges for companies as they must deliver more for less to remain competitive. This could jeopardize profit margins.
Improving efficiency through automated processes and better content management can help businesses maintain strong profit margins even as they do more with less.
3. Projects are becoming more and more complex
Business transformation has led to more complex projects for many consultancies, especially as clients often involve multiple stakeholders both internally and with third parties. This can lead to more demanding schedules and make documentation delivery more difficult, especially when tasks and documents have to pass through so many different hands.
Managing these processes with streamlined and automated workflows can save hours, keep everyone involved in the loop, and ensure no steps are missed.
4. A workforce that no longer tolerates manual processes
In today’s connected society, workers are less tolerant of time-consuming, paper-based, manual tasks. They are also less willing to settle for roles that lack flexibility or creativity. Businesses that don’t enable their employees to work and collaborate on documents from anywhere, on any device, will struggle to attract and retain talent.
Organizations can meet this challenge with an intelligent information management system that enables employees to be productive from anywhere without compromising data security.
5. Increased risk of data loss
As more and more information is digitized, organizations are at increased risk of data being compromised through a cyber attack or security breach. Failure to address security concerns can also increase the risk of reputational damage. However, security goes beyond investing in firewalls and network monitoring solutions, although these are important.
Consulting firms should also build strong security measures into the organization’s information management layer and establish tight controls around access management. This is facilitated by purpose-built information management tools that incorporate security from the ground up.
Intelligent information management processes, supported by the latest technologies, can help streamline document management by leveraging automation, artificial intelligence, and access management to achieve greater overall efficiencies. This can help consulting firms compete more effectively and provide excellent services to their clients.
About the Author and M-Files. Chris Smith has been with M-Files since early 2021, where he oversees the firm’s partner network. M-Files provides intelligent information management solutions to customers in various industries, including the consulting industry.