4 Forces Changing the Technology Landscape

By Drew West

As a consultant, you are a road warrior. You are constantly on the go, traveling to and from client locations, and frequently turning to tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter, and other social web-based tools to collaborate and execute work. You need the ability to communicate seamlessly with clients, prospects and your engagement team on a regular basis. You need access to your enterprise systems at any time, from any location, and from any device. You need a user experience that is simple, efficient and puts complexity behind the scenes.

Do your firm’s current systems support these needs? Or, is your technology unable to keep up with the changing landscape? If your firm’s systems aren’t helping you work more effectively and efficiently, then it’s time to embrace the 4 Forces – Mobile, Social, Cloud and Information – to become more nimble, more intelligent and, of course, more profitable.

We live in an incredibly connected world. Chances are, you texted with someone close to you, or answered a critical email before you even took your shower this morning. Mobility, at its core, is about being connected to what’s important.

In the fast-paced world we live in, clients want and expect quick responses. You can’t afford to wait until you’re back at the office to research an opportunity, submit a proposal with a tight deadline, or track how an opportunity is progressing. You need to be able to do all of this from the palm of your hand with a mobile device.

Imagine how much faster and more efficient your business development processes would be if you could view key information and make critical decisions on the road from any location? Investing in technology that supports mobility gives your firm the ability to have real-time access to information, whenever its needed, so you won’t lose any more valuable time—allowing you to focus on winning more projects and driving more revenue for your firm.

The way we interact is changing. In today’s culture, using social platforms is the norm and people have grown accustomed to collaborating online to get the information they need quickly. Nobody wants to waste time sifting through silos of information in emails, desktop folders, and network files, searching for answers.

Implementing a social platform at your firm can help boost productivity and increase client satisfaction—giving you the ability to collaborate with clients on projects, communicate together in groups, and stay connected as business partners. With key functions such as task management, file management, security, and on-boarding/off-boarding capabilities, businesses need a social platform to connect and unite your firm with your clients.

Tying a social platform, such as Deltek’s Social Collaboration tool Kona, to your project management system would speed up decision-making, and allow you to quickly get a conversation going around a key issue instantaneously.

Imagine if you could instantaneously open a social collaboration site from your project management system, and immediately start a conversation space about the new project problem that is global in scope. The project team could discuss what to do about the project delay with complete context and understanding about the issues at hand without a million emails going back and forth. Imagine how fast you could get your project back on track, and what that ultimately means for your business. That’s the power of social collaboration.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that “cloud” is one of the game changers of technology today. You have probably heard all about “the cloud”, and your firm may have already adopted certain applications in the cloud. The benefits of cloud-based systems are undeniable; they are cost-effective, scalable and secure. But, more importantly for your resource-constrained firm, cloud solutions help alleviate the workload of your IT resources.

Imagine having an IT staff that is solely dedicated to your most important projects. Having a fully-integrated, project-based system in the cloud frees up time for your IT resources. With cloud solutions, your IT department no longer needs to worry about maintaining hardware, deploying and updating software, and keeping everyone connected—these tasks are the responsibility of the cloud vendor. This allows your IT team to focus their time on strategic initiatives that will help take your firm to the next level.

Successful consulting firms know the ins and outs of their business. Business intelligence and analytics are critical tools that enable you to stay on top of what is happening in your business, allowing you to make adjustments and solve problems accordingly. These tools also provide your firm’s executives with the insight they need to measure performance, harness opportunities, maximize growth, and plan better for the future.

Having the ability to capture information on every interaction, and every engagement puts your firm in the position to develop “big data” about every aspect of your operations. But any amount of data is only useful if you can quickly access—and easily understand—it.

Imagine a practice manager that has a consultant dashboard to help minimize bench time, and maximize training time and utilization on the right projects—providing you with the metrics needed to be more productive, and problem solve more easily. You need an effective way to run your business today. Make sure the four forces of technology are working for you in 2014.

Drew West is the Product Director at Deltek.