Digital Transformation for IT Consultants - 3 ways Consultants can Leverage the Benefits
Thriving in the new consulting climate is no small feat. The digital revolution, paired with a global pandemic, has transformed consulting as we know it. With competition more fierce than ever, consulting businesses and consultants alike need to evolve to meet client expectations. To build and sustain a successful consulting business, you must transform, expand your offering, be a thought leader, use technology to streamline your process and do all of this strategically and efficiently.
Technology is at the forefront of this evolution, and the success of consulting needs to be accordingly redefined to measure up to technological advancements. Consultants are helping companies to transform; however, many use archaic and outdated tools and methods.
It’s time for consultants to step up and embrace digital transformation before they are pushed aside by vying competitors. This article will look at the requirements for building and sustaining a consulting business in the ever-evolving IT landscape.
The future of IT consulting - what's changing?
The intertwining of technology and business strategy continues to become more pervasive in the digital era. In the past, business strategy dictated enterprise technology decisions —making technology an afterthought or a secondary consideration. Clients had strategic partners and execution partners to manage their tech stack. Today, technology reigns supreme, and businesses need to realize and harness its power themselves to succeed. The world has changed and now Business strategy is enabled by technology, and this is redefining success for consulting businesses.
To remain competitive, companies need to transform digitally. Like other businesses, consultants have to develop coping skills to deal with and adapt to the fast-evolving digital and technology market. As more and more companies seek digital transformation, today’s successful consultants excel at highly adopted technological implementation - from project start to finish. A complete package of strategy, technology, and implementation is required for today’s top consultants to remain competitive. Choosing the right technology and tools for consultants is a fundamental component of success. Consultants that leverage the right software will deliver more with less effort and will see their clients reap the benefits.
3 ways consultants can leverage the benefits of digital transformation
1. Use technology to strengthen your business strategy
Today’s business strategy is technology-enabled, so consultants need to leverage technology to inform strategy instead of the reverse. When technology is used correctly, it can help companies achieve their business goals and deliver measurable results. If technology is embraced as an integral part of business strategy, rather than shoved aside as a back-office function - exponential growth can occur.
For consultants, leveraging the benefits of digital transformation requires creating a strategy, getting the input of stakeholders, and deeply understanding business needs. This sets the stage for an effective technology evaluation process that guides you to the right suite of solutions that deliver business value.
Successful transformation requires getting the input of key stakeholders, deeply understanding the unique needs of your customers, and then evaluating the solutions available.
Ironically, lengthy waterfall processes and old-school tools are still used to evaluate a handful of solutions. Transformative and innovative as the process is supposed to be, there hasn’t been much innovation within the system of finding the right solutions. Innovators are using outdated technology to innovate. They are clinging to the ‘old way’ for dear life. Many are married to a nightmarish waterfall process that is too slow for today’s rapid pace of innovation.
A quick google search of “software for consultants” results in a mish-mash of ambiguity and often suggests a suite of 10 solutions, half of which may not integrate. Cross-referencing spreadsheets and multiple productivity tools slows you down, creates more admin work, and increases the risk of human error. Focus on finding the right software that enhances your output and set yourself up to facilitate an agile, collaborative process.
2. Automate your technology evaluation process
For other professions, we see automation take place at rapid speeds. Let’s take the example of marketers. Marketers have plenty of technological tools at their disposal - such as CRMs and CMSs, to make their jobs easier and automate tedious tasks and processes. However, up until now, consultants have been stitching together multiple tools to run their processes, such as excel spreadsheets, project management tools, and word docs for gathering requirements.
Smaller consulting agencies and independent consultants have a huge opportunity right now, blatantly obvious and staring them right in the face, that many choose to ignore. We can see our world transforming and our business processes becoming more agile. Smaller companies are by nature more agile, and therefore able to adopt new technologies with higher success to automate and streamline their processes. Those consultants taking their niche expertise, and combining it with solutions that streamline their evaluation process, are reaping the benefits. They may even have a leg up on the ‘Big Five’ consulting agencies, which still use spreadsheets and outdated waterfall methods and tend to be less agile due to their size.
3. Using technology to facilitate agile collaboration
It’s commonplace for leaders to have lightbulb ideas and think that their ideas are ingenious, and often they are. Yet, without identifying or listening to the right stakeholders, these ideas can fail miserably. According to a report from Capgemini Digital Transformation Institute and MIT Sloan School of Management;
“Digital transformations are lagging or even failing for several reasons, including poor leadership, disconnects between IT and the business, lagging employee engagement, and substandard operations.”
Capgemini Digital Transformation Institute and MIT Sloan School of Management
That’s why taking the time to effectively gain consensus is crucial to successful outcomes, especially when it comes to digital transformation and technology evaluations. Many digital transformation efforts fail because a solution is not implemented correctly or adopted by the organization because it does not meet the needs of the business. A major roadblock in finding the right technology is understanding exactly what stakeholders and collaborators need in their ideal solution. Aligning departments and stakeholders will streamline the process for assessing the needs, gathering requirements, discussing and evaluating the right options.
Traditionally this is done by identifying the right stakeholders, interviewing & surveying them, shadowing them to understand their perspective, pain points, needs and wants. All of this information is manually tracked in word docs, spreadsheets, or project management tools. Anyone who has done this even once can attest to the countless meetings where the squeaky wheel gets the spotlight while other voices are drowned out. All this before a single vendor has been engaged or had a chance to respond to the requirements. Not to mention all manual collation and comparison that must be done using emails and spreadsheets after receiving vendor responses to requirements.
Using collaboration tools like Olive can make this process more streamlined and far less painful. Capture feedback from around the organization without the overhead of having to meet with everyone individually. Giving everyone a chance to provide input will not only give you a broader perspective on your client’s business needs and wants, but will drive to easier user adoption afterwards The collective buy-in of the team is critical, so make sure that gaining consensus comes top-of-mind when making business decisions, and when it comes to using tech to collaborate and build consensus, Olive will certainly deliver better results faster.
Niche expertise, combined with the right technology can help consultants leverage the benefits of digital transformation
Building and sustaining a successful consultancy business takes grit, effective strategy, and relentless determination. Olive aims to help consultants digitize their process and release time to build a successful business.
Olive’s process facilitates an agile collaboration process with robust requirement libraries and internal survey features, making it easy to capture, prioritize, and manage the business needs and requirements, no matter the complexity. Olive guides you through the technology evaluation process and lets you compare vendor responses to the requirements - getting to a shortlist of solutions often in less than four weeks.
Reap the benefits of decreased admin time, store data in one consultancy tool, manage all clients and projects in the app. You can make templates out of your projects and access requirements and surveys to reuse on future projects and evaluations. With Olive, you can avoid months spent evaluating vendors, only to get to implementation with something going south: users don't adopt it, the vendors have over-promised and under-delivered, or a crucial stakeholder was missed during the software selection process.
With Olive, you’ll be able to speed up evaluation time. Decreasing time evaluating, gets you to implementation and ultimately revenue faster.