The 2020s have been a time of uncertainty and upheaval. From COVID-19 and remote work to a global skills shortage and potential economic headwinds, professional services firms have navigated unprecedented change over the past three years. As a result, leaders must ensure their business models and financial plans are poised to deliver a new level of agility to navigate this change.
“We hear firms saying it’s more important now than ever to have a good handle on your business,” says Patrice Cappello, global head of professional services industry strategy at Workday. “Because we don’t know what might happen, we have to plan for every eventuality.”
However, “Closing the Acceleration Gap: Toward Sustainable Digital Transformation,” Workday’s global survey of 1,150 senior business executives, found that only 38% of professional services leaders say their organization is digitally well equipped to ensure business continuity in times of crisis.
Perhaps even more concerning, only 29% say they’re confident in their organization’s current financial and business plans or their future digital transformation plans. This compares to 40% and 45% of all leaders, respectively.
What’s causing this crisis of confidence? A lack of visibility across the organization. Almost 2 in 3 (62%) professional services leaders say their inability to connect operational, people, and financial data to business outcomes impairs the organization’s agility.
“You can’t make big decisions to adjust to external pressures if you don’t know what areas of the business are most impacted,” says Cappello.
Many leaders are adapting the way they plan for the future, as they see both the supply of skilled talent and the demand for services continuing to flux. To avoid overextending themselves in a tight market, they need to make strategic decisions about the services they offer.
Using Tech to Inform Real-Time Decision-Making
How can leaders get the information they need to make more confident decisions? The first step is creating a single source of truth for the entire organization.
“Many firms that haven’t gone through digital transformation will tell you that the first half of most executive meetings is spent arguing about who has the right set of data,” says Cappello.