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Are you ready to AI-power your firm?

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What does digital transformation mean to your business? Whatever transformation means to you, as technologies evolve and new services come to market, it never stops.

What does digital transformation mean to your business? Moving operations online? Sharing files in the cloud? Maybe it goes further to automating processes or embracing advanced analytics or artificial intelligence (AI)? Whatever transformation means to you, as technologies evolve and new services come to market, it never stops.

Compared to the digitally-enabled leaps made in other industries – connected cars, higher-quality crops, remote patient monitoring – the strides made in the professional services arena may seem a little less ‘radical’. But it’s worth remembering that not successful applications of new technology have to be life changing. Indeed, in the majority of cases , the most significant benefits are gained from incremental improvements that save time, speed things up, reduce costs or make employees or customers happier.

And the best part? You don’t year-long transformation programmes or need to budget for major capital investments to enjoy the benefits. Not if you break transformation down. So let’s get started.

Get AI. Or get left behind

Most organisations are now looking for ways to embrace AI. With good reason – its potential is huge. But creating the strategies to realise that potential can be challenging. There are lots of ways to get it right and invariably these begin by embedding AI into existing systems and processes. AI shouldn’t be done in isolation and you don’t need to completely reengineer your process to radically improve them using AI. And wherever you do start, it’s important to start by unlocking your data to then deliver value through real use cases that help impact, predict or automate outcomes for your clients.

Data can be a major sticking point in AI adoption. A data strategy is not where you store your data. If you have potentially hundreds of sources of data, each one largely unconnected to the next, then the basis for any data-driven digital programme can be chaos. And here’s why. Let’s say you can somehow take a snapshot of all that disparate data and get a specialist team together to lead an AI-based project. By the time they’ve done all the legwork, come to a conclusion, and submitted the results, the data’s already out of date. And the same goes for any decision you make on the back of it.

At Salesforce, when we talk about bringing data together, we’re not talking about where you store it, its really talking about unlocking and accessing trapped data and combining that with Salesforce (CRM) data, achieving a single source of truth with real and relevant context. And the beauty of that is, you can then deploy AI that works, deploy it well and deliver value through real life use cases. Not in isolation with the snapshot of data that rapidly loses its value. But with a 360-degree view you can gain business and client insight, work smarter, and deliver better experiences.

Start your AI Journey

Discover how to gain your own competitive edge by understanding your data and unlocking the power of tools like AI.

Does your talent back up your ambition?

Technology adoption isn’t the only major area of competition in professional services. Organisations know that talent is a key element of success. And as the talent landscape changes – from processes to recruit, onboard, and manage to loyalty incentives and development programmes – companies have to find new ways to secure the best people. Money is no longer the only factor – it’s one of many. So you have to differentiate on more than salary to attract and retain talented staff.

People are more mindful about the career choices they make. More mindful about the type of companies they work for: from their carbon footprint to their investment in staff. About the tools available to them: do I have the technology I need to do my job well, collaborate, and contribute to the success of the business? About the type of work that will fill their days: have the mundane, repetitive tasks been replaced by smarter processes?

All these things overlap to some degree, but they all show that candidates are looking for companies that have modernised and embraced transformation. And they’re talented enough to know from the first touchpoint whether they’re dealing with a forward-looking company or not.

Your clients are in the driving seat

Client expectations are changing too, with subscription models now being the norm in pretty much every area of our lives. As consumers, we like the flexibility and convenience. And companies get financial predictability and more opportunity to interact with clients and make relationships stronger.

The shift to everything-as-a-service mirrors the wider change in firm and client dynamics. However, the professional services sector has been slow to pick up on the benefits. The ones that have are gaining clients fast.

It’s worth noting that the as-a-service model might not be the only one that meets your clients’ needs. Some will prefer a fixed price approach or remain as is. All of it depends on the service you’re providing (complexity, frequency, and any number of other factors), client expectation, and so on. The essential part is flexibility in your approach, and giving customers choice in how they consume and pay for services is new table stakes.

So there’re a lot of changes…

…and it’s natural for highly specialist, complex professional organisations to be wary. Changing systems, business models, and methods of working they’ve relied on for years can be a challenge that’s difficult to face. But to work as smart and as fast as the competition, and deliver services in the way today’s clients expect, it’s a change that needs to be made. And it all starts with data.

Luckily, there are tried and tested pathways, as we’ve seen with customers of our own in the professional services sector. Ones that have found new connections with clients, or solved their talent acquisition and retention challenges.

Are you ready for the AI Revolution?

Discover how to gain your own competitive edge by understanding your data and unlocking the power of tools like AI.

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