We often talk about professional services firms with a broad lens, but I want to specifically address information technology (IT) professional services firms, often called “technology partners,” and how they can better create business impact through new service lines that appeal to tech-buying customers.
Currently, most enterprises and governments worldwide rely at least in part on technology partners to help them with their IT needs. The global IT professional services market size is expected to reach $1.92 trillion by 2030 and has a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.2% over the same forecasted period.
This expansion is largely due to a rise in demand for technology consulting services integrated with rapidly growing cloud deployments, for which technology partners provide design, integration, and support services. In fact, the cloud segment accounts for the largest share of this market, at over 65% in 2021.
The impressive market size and fast growth translate into hundreds of thousands of IT professional services firms in the U.S. alone.
5 Steps to Select New Lines
Now that we have that background, let’s discuss how these IT services firms can best manage the business impact of adding a new line of service, starting with their strategic plan to evaluate and determine where to expand their services:
- Market research: Conduct market research to understand the demand for the new service line, target customers, and competition. Narrow down the research to focus on what the next best service would be for the highest growth customer set, whether it be artificial intelligence (AI), robotics or Internet of Things (IoT), to name a few clear candidates.
- Financial analysis: Analyze the financial implications of the new service line, including the costs, revenue potential, and profitability using systems to manage past performance and predict future success
- Customer feedback: Gather and collect feedback from current and potential customers to gauge their interest and willingness to pay for the new service line; be sure to ask specific questions that test their commitment to utilizing such a service. For example, rather than the generic, “Would you be interested in IoT services if we offered them?,” ask, “Where in your business would you first utilize a service that provided you with IoT design, integration, and management services?”
- Piloting: Implement a pilot project to test the viability and practicality of the new service line in a controlled environment with limited and loyal customers before you proceed to a full launch. This will help work out the kinks. You may consider offering a slight discount for early adopters to accept the challenges that come with being trial customers.
- Tracking and measuring performance: Establish metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to track the performance of the new service line and make data-driven decisions to improve its impact should you decide to launch it.
7 Steps to a Successful Launch
Once you determine you have a potential winner from the multiple service options explored, the real work begins. After all, you selected the winning service because it fits your customer needs and you can operationalize it.
Next, you have to plumb it into the business and create a bonafide offer to the broader market you serve. For this step, you will want to gather your leadership team tasked with the pilot and ask them to develop the full plan, launch, and management cadence. This includes:
- Defining objectives: Clearly define the goals and objectives of the new service lines and align them with the overall business strategy and customer needs in your segments served.
- Assess resources: Evaluate the resources required to successfully launch and run the new service line, including staff, technology, and finances, and the impact it will have on resources for services currently provided.
- Develop a plan: Create a detailed plan that outlines steps required to launch and manage the new service line, including timelines, budgets, automation, management, and risk management strategies.
- Allocate and manage resources: Allocate the necessary resources, including personnel and finances, to ensure the successful launch and ongoing management of the new service line with a clear management system in place using solutions from a firm like Workday to ensure real-time utilization metrics for employees
- Train personnel: Provide or acquire training for all affected staff to ensure that they have the knowledge and skills required to deliver the new service line effectively; remember to pursue technical certifications where appropriate.
- Monitor performance: Regularly monitor the performance of the new service line and make data-driven decisions to optimize its impact across the appropriate customer segments.
- Adjust your plan as needed: Be flexible and willing to make changes and adjustments as needed to ensure the continued success of the new service line.
Technology decision makers hire technology partners to gain ease of deployment, scalability, and reduced costs of implementation, all of which ensure the continued growth of this partner-led segment. By following the steps outlined above, IT professional services firms can effectively plan and manage the business impact of adding a new line of service and maximize its potential for success before, during, and after launch.
Of course, as with all new services, there will be a need to adjust, align, and better provide the service. Building a robust plan and remaining flexible to adapt will radically improve your chances of success.
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