Professional services firms strive to create a lean and efficient business development function. Despite investing in several technology-enabled solutions, Partners still do not have access to timely and relevant intelligence. If leveraging tools and technology is the right approach, then what’s falling short?
Partners constantly worry about accessing timely and relevant intelligence that is critical to making impactful business decisions
Professional services firms have traditionally relied on Partners/fee-earners to be rainmakers, leading client acquisition and new business development efforts. However, as client delivery invariably takes precedence over new business development, very limited bandwidth is available with the Partners for pursuing business development initiatives.
Nevertheless, Partners require timely and relevant intelligence to draw actionable insights and make impactful business decisions. Being able to achieve this is more vital now than ever, with the coming of the age of sector convergence and creative disruption. For this, they rely on business development teams to provide in-depth research on not only their client’s sector but also on competitive intelligence. The best use of Partners’ limited bandwidth should be in providing subject matter expertise and being in front of prospective clients necessary to close the deal, while that of the business development professionals should be in preparing targeted pitches rather than worrying about gathering intelligence.
There’s no question then that leveraging technology-enabled solutions is vital to bringing in efficiencies in the business development value chain. The right technology-enabled solution should free up the already lean business development bandwidth to focus on higher order problems and create incremental value.
AI and ML may automate data gathering, but can they lead to real return on investments (RoI) on their own?
Professional services firms have been flooded with all sorts of tools promising to provide intelligence by implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies. Sometimes, even a tool with a few basic rules programmed in a deterministic fashion, is being pushed as AI / ML. But far from delivering intelligence that can call for action, the sheer quantity of information can overwhelm business development professionals with data that is inconsistent, sometimes irrelevant, and almost always disconnected, thereby slowing progress.
In tandem, AI and ML technologies may minimize human intervention by automating certain rule-based tasks associated with data gathering. But can they deliver intelligence just on their own?
Evalueserve argues AI has not yet reached a stage where it can be expected to deliver a complete end-to-end solution. In other words, AI tools might be essential for automating certain rule-based tasks as part of some use cases and support the minds, but they are not (yet) able to provide truly actionable insights or automate verifications where a judgement call has to happen. The problem is not the AI engine itself, rather it is the complete neglect of the rest of the value chain it is to sit in. Therefore, the better approach is to have a master plan in place that addresses the overall pain point in a comprehensive manner. This should not only include the actual problem, but also include the equally important workflow aspects especially from a human angle. It is only when mind and machine work together in an optimally balanced fashion, will the RoI be generated and the end user benefits be achieved. A combination of mind+machine™, technology and human minds complementing each other, is vital in delivering higher efficiency and greater quality.
Therefore, professional services firms need to find solutions that not only leverage technology but combine it with human intelligence. This will act as the growth engines professional services firms need to scale their business development activities across practices and functions.
Insights generated but not readily accessible at the last mile do no good
Oftentimes insights are lost or isolated in static spreadsheets or PowerPoint presentations that are not accessible to Partners when in front of the clients, who need them the most. An efficient insight generation platform should directly equip Partners, anywhere and on any device, with timely insights needed to make impactful business decisions. In other words, the solution should have the ability to disseminate insights to the last mile on any device, lowering response time and giving power to end-users right where they are presenting their pitch to prospective clients. Additionally, users should have the ability to slice and dice data through visual interactive dashboards.
In summary, Partners struggling to scale their business development efforts should equip their business development teams with technology-enabled solutions that combine the power of mind+machine™ to provide timely and relevant intelligence that can call for action while anticipating threats and opportunities alike.
Benefits that the Right Technology-enabled Insight Generation Solution Should Offer
To learn how Evalueserve’s cloud-based AI platform, Insightsfirst for professional services firms leverages Mind+Machine™ to provide actionable insights for your business development needs, write to PS@Evalueserve.com