In late 2021 we conducted a series of interviews with CIOs, CFOs, and other key staff from professional firms around the world to gain insights into current market conditions that will help shape existing and future services to better serve our customers.
The questions focused on the current information technology challenges and the strategies each firm leader is developing and planning to execute.
The research findings highlight the impact of the COVID pandemic on information technology strategies and tactics for firms. Important projects were put on hold as firms focused on enabling a work-from-home workforce and implementing hybrid work arrangements. The digital experience and collaboration became top priorities for successful client engagement. However, firms are now revisiting their backburner projects and re-evaluating technology initiatives in three main categories:
- Moving business applications to the cloud;
- Deploying new business technologies, particularly in the area of marketing technology applications; and
- Focusing on enterprise data governance and architecture, including advanced analytics and other topics.
Common challenges centered around the areas of talent and client demands.
A common challenge for firms is the struggle to find, attract, and retain technology and business application talent. The scarcity of resources with industry-specific technology knowledge and the preference of talent for industries applying cloud and AI/ML technologies are contributing to the talent shortage. The "Great Resignation" phenomenon has further exacerbated the issue, as employees seek better opportunities and pay. This strain on resources and increased competition for talent is a significant challenge for firms.
"There is a feeling that employees have an inflated sense of value that is causing them to go to market... As a result, there is increased strain on the budgets and the affordability of hiring new experienced resources. This is perhaps the greatest challenge in the market."
Client demands also impact technology strategies, particularly the movement to the cloud, which is hindered by perceived cybersecurity risks. Although firms recognize the need and inevitability of cloud migration, the burden of client requests for information (RFIs) and the risks associated with non-compliance are still considered high.
The role of business partners
To address the talent gap, there is a shift in attitude towards using business partners, such as managed service providers, to access the right resources at the right time. Firms are outsourcing lower-level tasks and increasingly seeking partnerships for skilled resource needs like business application setup, maintenance, and administration. The key needs identified across interviews include training and adoption, data and business analysis, data science and engineering, business process augmentation, and application support.
"The need is becoming much greater, and the firms would appreciate a deeper partnership relationship based on a deeper understanding of their needs."
Our response to the research
In response to these challenges, we're adapting our services to offer expertise through subscription-based models. These solutions aim to provide learning and tech enablement services in identified areas of need:
- Managing training programs including onboarding and upskilling;
- Providing analytics capabilities combining data science, engineering, and domain expertise; and
- Managing enterprise applications including finance systems, business intake, time & billing, and marketing tech.
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