A major challenge for professional services firms is that the employees must be able to access and process a lot of unstructured information in the course of creating client deliverables — typically documents and digital files.
Many professional services firms could achieve valuable productivity gains and other benefits by using a corporate intranet to improve information sharing and communication.
Being able to find and access information is especially critical for professional services firms at the department level. Since highly compensated people are involved in the process, such as attorneys and finance specialists, any opportunity to increase their productivity could have a significant impact on the firm’s growth and profitability.
But how do you know whether your company needs a corporate intranet? Here are a few factors to consider:
- Your firm is growing in size and complexity: Large and small professional services firms face similar issues with communication and sharing information. For example, you could have a 10-person law firm in one office that doesn’t communicate very well. But greater size and complexity heighten these challenges.When you have multiple offices spread across the country (or around the globe), different time zones and variations in workplace culture tend to create obstacles. If you’re going through mergers and acquisitions, for instance, an intranet could help manage the complexity of bringing in new people and trying to merge company cultures.
- Problems with project execution and client satisfaction: Many studies have shown that poor communication is one of the main reasons that projects fail. When projects go over budget or miss deadlines, you’ll probably find that there wasn’t good communication between the team and the customer in terms of expectations and deliverables. You might also find communication problems within the project team and when the team escalated issues internally for resolution.If your professional services firm experiences a jump in customer complaints on a project level, that’s often a sign of communication problems that must be addressed, whether that’s through a corporate intranet, customer-facing portal or other communication platform.
- Need for higher quality and creativity: While a corporate intranet is often seen as a way to drive productivity in professional services firms, there are also considerations for innovation and creativity. If you have an hour to draft a document, and you end up spending 35 minutes on research instead of the five minutes you’d planned for, you now have only half the time left to complete the main task. You’re going to lose time to think creatively, and the first thing that’s going to suffer is the quality of your work.That’s why improving communication and information sharing allows for greater creativity and innovation, to the extent that you remove the impediments that drag them and their productivity down. Removing the friction in your information flow leads to more ideas, which helps you create more value for your clients and differentiate your firm in the marketplace.
While a corporate intranet offers a good solution for many professional services firms, you could use other mechanisms to facilitate communication and information flow, such as software and service applications or mobile apps. With any of these tools, the challenge is to deliver the necessary capabilities with great usability, and that means focusing on the employee experience.
Learn more about helping your organization leverage today’s content management and enterprise collaboration solutions by contacting Portal Solutions