For as long as the “billable hours” model has existed, professional services firms have faced the imperative to do more with less. That’s because when a client is paying for your time, they want that time (and therefore their money) to be spent as cost-effectively as possible. Otherwise, the line of thought runs, they’ll get somebody else to do the job just as well but quicker and cheaper.  

In 2021, “doing more with less” hinges on your willingness and ability to drive digital transformation and adopt new game-changing tech. And because you want to be that somebody else – not the firm getting ditched – I’ll explore how to do that. In this case by harnessing the possibilities of low-code development platforms like Microsoft Power Apps for professional services. 

“Hold your horses”, you may be thinking. “Is digital transformation really that important?” I can’t reply vehemently enough: yes. Here’s why:  

The importance of digitizing your processes 

 Although many sectors such as law and financial services have traditionally been heavy on the paper-pushing, we live in a digital age. This means professional services firms increasingly rely on technology to achieve and maintain their edge.  

 When key business operations are paper bound, they’re pose a liability for your organization. Paper-based processes are slowThey don’t call it “snail mail” for nothing, but even within an organization, paper documents don’t always travel smoothly and swiftly from one desk to another, slowing down reviews and signoffs, and keeping colleagues and clients waiting.  

Don’t forget: that’s all ultimately happening on the customer’s dime. And they’re checking their watch.  

Have you evolved far enough? 

 Even when your documents and the processes surrounding them are digitized, they’re often still sluggish:   

  • A contract can languish in an email inbox just as easily as an in-tray 
  • Messages get missed 
  • Mistakes get made when transferring information from one source to another 
  • Clients get irked 
  • Firms lose business  

 Take too many hits and kaboom: another one bites the dust, overtaken in the eternal battle of survival of the fittest 

 Sounds harsh? The coronavirus pandemic has already provided some tough lessons to firms still stuck in the mud of paper-based or otherwise clunky processes, as organizations worldwide strugglto maintain business continuity in the face of challenging times and mass remote working. It’s shone a glaringly bright light on the value and importance of digital transformation for professional services. But don’t just take my word for it.  

Hear it from the professional services experts 

 In the 2021 Report on the State of the Legal Market from Georgetown Law and Thomson Reuters, 2020 is described as a “tipping point”, where firms were mainly able to remain competitive by “fairly aggressively increasing rates” and “aggressively controlling costs”. Clients are unlikely to accept a rate hike if they don’t think you’re doing everything you can to justify it, and it’s hard to keep costs down when struggling with inefficiency.    

Meanwhile, in financial servicesPwC’s Financial Services Technology 2020 and Beyond report is largely in alignment with that assessment. In PwC’s six priorities for success, the top two are:  

  1. “Update your IT operating model…”  
  2. “Slash costs by simplifying legacy systems…”  

 The bottom line hereModernize, evolve, streamline, and get fighting fit to take on the competition.  

 So, now we’ve established why it’s so important to drive digital transformation, let’s turn to the “how”: the huge potential of low-code platforms like Microsoft Power Apps for professional services 

Harnessing vast (and fast) transformative possibilities 

 The beauty of Microsoft Power Apps is its ease and speed of development. That means that anyone, whatever their profession, can take a more active role and exercise greater control in the building of their technology solutions. Development is no longer a dark art reserved solely for “tech people”, which takes place far away, behind closed doors. Because of that, you can ensure that the specific needs of your business and sector are fulfilled, from fitting your business processes perfectly to meeting regulatory requirements.  

As well as greater accessibility and inclusiveness, vastly accelerated development cycles are another huge plus. As PwC puts it, this faster and potentially less resource-and-cost-intensive form of software development gives firms the chance to achieve a “low and nimble footprint, prototyping new services quickly”.  

Use Power Apps to:  

  • Keep up with the competition 
  • Develop innovative new offerings to capitalize on demand 
  • Constantly evolve to be all you can be 

 Want help making the most of Microsoft Power Apps for professional services? 

As skilled and experienced Microsoft experts, the Bauen Group is ready and eager to unlock the full value of Power Apps for professional services firms everywhere. Although this groundbreaking low-code platform puts the power of software development in the hands of non-coders, it’s still a good idea to bring in the professionals to guide you through the process and ensure you’re building the best possible foundation for tomorrow.   

We understand the dedication and craft necessary to create truly effective solutions fit for law firms, financial services businesses, and others. What’s more, our technology expertise gives us the edge we need to sharpen yours. And there’s never been a better time to start.  

If you’d like to learn more about how the professional services industry can drive digital transformation, contact the team at Bauen today

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