A £19bn reason why professional services have changed for good
01st December 2021
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By their very nature, businesses in the professional services sector are built on relationships. But the old, face-to-face way of doing business has gone for good.
So what does that mean for the sector as a whole?
Our latest report with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) looks at the effects that continued investment in digital transformation could have on organisations across the UK.
The findings were a silver lining in all the cloudy uncertainty of the pandemic. In fact, the Cebr report estimates that Covid-driven digital change could increase GDP in the professional services sector by approximately £19 billion in 2040. That’s a gain over the baseline of around 4%, bringing the size of the sector to £482 billion in 2040.
The firms that are already making the move are seeing the benefits. Those with a digital-first mindset have weathered the crisis of the past two years and their digital transformation projects are already paying dividends.
What digital tools are enterprises using?
So what does ‘Covid-driven digital change’ look like in the service industry?
The Cebr report found that changing working policies and the digital delivery of services are the most significant areas of change.
Businesses are investing in cloud-based collaboration tools. Hybrid working increases productivity and gives employees an extra two hours of ‘me time’ every day. That’s good news for customers and for colleagues too.
At the same time, tools for collaboration are becoming ever more sophisticated. Enterprises are embracing technology to carry out client-facing work.
Meetings with clients that were once held in cramped offices not quite fit for purpose can now be conducted more efficiently in virtual spaces.
Enterprises are also introducing technology that improves the digital delivery of services. Cloud, analytics and digital payment tools all make interactions quicker and easier for customers. To take just one example, legal firms are adopting technology to enable lawyers to create and send documents directly to customers using cloud-based applications, rather than relying on back office support staff.
Many are also looking at tools that can ensure it will always be business as usual. Cybersecurity, for instance, that stops any malicious attack from getting anywhere near all that customer data that’s recently moved to the cloud.
Hybrid working enhances the experience for everybody
The Cebr research shows that the digital changes implemented during the pandemic will have a lasting positive impact.
Firstly, it makes financial sense for the enterprise. Rather than paying high rents for premium locations, organisations are rethinking their built environment. And lowering total fixed costs.
There are cost savings throughout the business. Even just going paper-free can save substantial sums throughout the year.
And the benefits stretch beyond the balance sheet. Customers appreciate the simplicity and efficiency of digitalised services, with contact centres that can be reached from anywhere, on any device.
And hybrid working is good for the environment. One extra commute-free day a week adds up to 10 million fewer miles driven every year.
It’s good news for all of us. So now is the time to keep the digital momentum going and make sure that it works for you, your people and your customers.