4 Key Challenges Facing The Professional Services Industry

The professional services industry faces a number of unique challenges from project management to resourcing and legacy technology. Below we explore 4 key challenges and how software like D365 Project Operations can help.

The author of this page: Brianna Bracken
Brianna Bracken, Marketing Executive Apr 13, 2023

Still in a period of growth, the professional services industry continues to form an important part of the economy across the globe, with findings from the professional services global market report predicting an expected growth rate through 2026 of 5% and an expected global market size of $7,700.09 billion by 2027. The professional services industry’s core role is to provide a set of services or specific expertise rather than a set product to its customers. This can span multiple industries such as technology, legal, finance to energy. Each of these professional services companies operates in a highly competitive landscape which brings a number of unique challenges, such as the complex nature of the project management in this space, maximising resources and outdated technology to name a few.

Below we explore the top 4 challenges the professional services industry is currently facing.

Complex Project Management

Within the professional services industry, there are many different project types, with few being straightforward. Each project involves a number of variables for each organisation delivering it, for example, the project could be taking place across multiple locations, employ a number of different contractors and involve different business partners. For these organisations, the challenge is not only managing complex projects but doing so efficiently and in line with rising customer expectations. To help manage this, professional service firms need to have strict project management processes in place with a strong project management solution usually key to this.

Resource Utilisation

In order for professional service firms to provide specialist services to clients, they work on the basis of billable hours. The number of billable hours for resources directly correlates to the organisation’s profitability. There is a lot of often admin-heavy work involved in managing billable hours and ensuring each employee has enough hours while making sure they are not double booked. Further, it is important that employees remember to log their billable hours correctly. There are a number of technology solutions available that can help organisations manage this more efficiently and maximise resource utilisation across the board.

Achieving Project Visibility

Project management in professional services businesses involves a lot of moving parts, with the business managing multiple live projects at any one time as well as planning for future projects. In an environment like this, having good project visibility is essential, to ensure you can identify any potential project bottlenecks early on to prevent delays and readjust timelines as needed. It also helps organisations predict capacity requirements ensuring one business area does not have too much demand in terms of capacity when other areas lack projects. Managing this correctly ensures optimum productivity and profitability while minimising bench time and managing individual workload effectively helps improve overall employee morale. Project management solutions can help businesses manage this with access to real-time business insights enhancing project visibility.

Legacy Software in Place

Many professional service businesses are still heavily reliant on manual processes and legacy technology solutions which can have a negative impact on business performance. With customer expectations on the raise, businesses need to keep up. However, this can prove challenging with legacy software that is frustrating employees and impacting productivity, leading to lower customer satisfaction. Further, with hybrid and remote working a key factor in today’s working environment the ability to collaborate using technology is a necessity. Although legacy systems can be difficult to collaborate on. Updating legacy systems can not only deliver a better employee and customer experience but help transform project management, break down operational silos and boost productivity.

For those experiencing issues like these, Microsoft has launched Dynamics 365 Project Operations, a tool that brings together business solutions from the entire project life cycle from sales, to project delivery and project finances. This solution can optimise project management, simplify resource management and deliver real-time business insights to deliver greater project transparency.

If you would like to learn more, read how the solution has empowered our client EM3 or contact us to speak to a specialist.

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