Professional service firms have a reputation for being slow to change and highly risk-averse. Yet this view fails to take into account that the majority of professional firms are highly entrepreneurial organisations. Many professional firms have already developed innovations in online client services, new pricing models and services delivery through offshore centres.
“Firms that fail to put innovation at the front of their strategic thinking, will find it increasingly difficult to grow, or even survive, in a complex and challenging professional services market.”
A recent Meridian West snapshot survey of the innovation activities of a range of a professional firms dispels the myth that they do not embrace innovation. Contrary to the stereotype, the majority have already developed innovations in a range of areas and many more are planning a significant innovation focus over the next 12 months. A noticeable proportion identify that they will focus on innovations in client journey mapping (41%), diversifying into new service areas (29%) and forming joint ventures with other suppliers with the intention to provide joint offerings to clients (29%) over the next 12 months.
Even artificial intelligence (AI) – once thought to be futuristic hype – is making its mark within the professional services sector. Although it does appear at the bottom of the list of innovations currently embraced by firms, as many as one in five (18%) are using AI today. A quarter of firms (24%) plan to invest in AI during the year ahead, which means that soon over 40% of firms will be using AI as part of service delivery.