Boosting consulting operations with information management

14 November 2022 Consultancy.com.au 3 min. read
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For consulting firms to demonstrate value, they must differentiate themselves from competitors and streamline their operations. Ville Somppi, Vice President at M-Files, outlines three ways how information management tools can help firms satisfy client and employee expectations while minimising risk.

Winning and retaining business

In an industry teeming with competition, business consulting firms must differentiate themselves in front of both clients and employees. Creating modernised workspaces with new technology that, for example, automates tasks so employees can focus their time on clients’ needs, helps firms stand out against the competition for talent.

Many consulting companies are also differentiating themselves by expanding their expertise. Developing additional knowledge beyond the firm’s core competencies not only draws the attention of clients but helps offset the cost of lower-priced offerings.

Ville Somppi, Vice President, M-Files

The efficiencies gained in modernised workplaces let organisations focus on improving the client experience, which is essential to winning and retaining business. Using technology to streamline contracting processes and providing real-time visibility to the progress of an engagement is highly appreciated by new clients.

Furthermore, having important documents from previous engagements be easily accessible creates a positive experience crucial for retaining clients. The ability to manage and access client information quickly and effectively helps consultants become more productive and spend more energy in their actual deliverables and updates to their clients. Thus, an end-to-end collaborative information flow is essential for consulting firms to win and retain clients.

Minimising risk

Consulting firms regularly deal with information about client's business or future plans. Breaches of confidential client information easily leads to a broken client relationship or even damaged reputation. A damaged reputation can be devastating to a consulting firm in a crowded industry. Furthermore, failing to manage compliance and security risks can also subject the firm to fines from regulatory bodies.

To lower these risks, protect against fines, and control reputation damage, organisations should concentrate on improving information security measures along with regulatory compliance and audit procedures.

To ensure airtight security measures for clients’ confidential information, access and permission control must span across systems, roles, and data lifecycle phases. Furthermore, every interaction with client data must leave a digital audit trail usable as evidence of compliance. A holistic information management approach keeps information accurate, access compliant and auditable, and leaves no room for human error.

Streamlined client engagements

The best way to streamline operations is through implementing technology that helps improve processes and enhance operational efficiencies. With the right technology, firms can reduce the amount of time spent on administration, finding information, reinventing the wheel, and completing manual tasks. These efficiencies help employees meet their full potential and invest time scaling up their client portfolios.

Another important area for consulting firms is ensuring projects are completed on time and budget. Consultancies often deal with complex projects with many points of contact from multiple parties. Information management technology is paramount in streamlining the flow of information between stakeholders across company boundaries. At worst, these inefficiencies can push timeframes and budgets, weighing heavily on the company and the client.

These key areas should always be top of mind for consulting firms. The impact of new technologies and ability to adapt to the fast pace of change are challenges that will continue to influence the way firms work. With a better information management strategy, firms can achieve strategic growth, streamline engagements, and minimise risk.

Leveraging information management tools will help consulting firms to focus resources appropriately, reduce operational costs, automate processes, and drive collaboration securely. All of these aspects help create a trusted and valued business consulting firm.