The professional services industry has transformed significantly in the past decade. Digital disruptions, increased competition, and changing market demands are forcing firms to change the way they operate and serve customers. The business management consulting industry is no exception to this and there’s increasing pressure to do more with less in order to stay competitive.
So, what can firms do to navigate this transformational landscape? How can firms curb competition?
One place to start is looking at projects and project documents. Why?
In the world of management consulting, the client experience is everything. And a firm’s ability to deliver according to client expectation is directly tied to how well a firm can manage and deliver on projects. And the projects we’re seeing now in this industry are growing increasingly complex.
A Case for Project Document Management
Now when people think about project management, they often only consider aspects like task management, planning, setting milestones, delegation, etc. All of this is important, of course, but within all these discussions about project management, there’s an information management piece that’s often overlooked. And it deserves attention because most projects in business management consulting are wrapped up in documents.
Any given client project can result in hundreds of documents. Many of these documents flow from the beginning phases of the project until closeout, touching the desks of various individuals in between. Many of these documents have a particular lifecycle and context that must be managed. For instance, a document might have specific requirements for verification, review, and approval. Or it might have restrictions over who can access it and when. Or it might need to be disposed of or retained according to a particular standard. This is all to make the point that project documents require their own kind of management and when companies do this well, it can have a significant impact on their delivery capabilities and how they ultimately serve their customers.
What an information management system does is help consulting firms manage their project documentation so that it is accessible to the right people, organized in the right way, and managed the way it ought to be. All of this is done with very little human effort, which facilitates project lifecycles and reduces the burdens of manual work on staff.
From a business operational standpoint, an information management strategy can set the foundation for how projects are executed. Common automation and governance features like document permissions and workflows allow firms to automate and standardize how projects are carried out, with the ability to easily demonstrate to clients how their sensitive information is secured and managed.
For those managing the project, information management gives visibility into what’s happening with the project so they can better work with the customer and steer the project accordingly.
For those executing the project, documentation easily flows to all those who have stake in the project without messy versioning issues. Collaboration features like document co-authoring, sharing, and version control eliminate the typical ailments that are the result of document collaboration, like the inability to make sense of who has done what and when, or figuring out which version is the latest and most correct.
Overall, what I hope to communicate in this post is how using an information management system for projects can solve many project delivery challenges. Furthermore, it’s important to note that when project documents and information are managed efficiently and processes are automated, it not only reduces operational waste, but it enables staff to do more with their time. This results in better customer service and increased efficiency across the entire organization.
For more on how smart business consulting firms are managing the flow of information, click here.