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How IT is changing the professional services industry

Stephen Pritchard

Financial Times

3 July 2013


PA’s Andrew Hooke has been interviewed for the Financial Times' Connected Business podcast.

Andrew talks about how not only technology in itself – but the way we analyse and report on data – is changing the way consulting firms operate, deliver results for their clients, and attract new talent. Andrew says: “Technology is having a huge impact, both on the way we run ourselves internally and on the way we provide consulting services to our clients. Whereas a number of years back the outputs of consulting services were mainly written, we’re now using technology on a number of fronts […] We actually use tablet technology to present information to senior executives in a much more usable format. So it’s having a huge impact on the way we do business with our clients.”

Andrew is questioned about how technology has transformed management consultancy as an industry over the past decade. He explains how the arrival of mobile technology and the widespread accessibility of data has increasingly enabled consultants to work remotely on clients’ sites in locations around the globe.

He adds: “Going back to that time period, 12-15 years ago, a lot of consulting was about using market research to solve a problem. Now data is readily available and it’s actually about using that data and providing real insight to clients.”

Andrew explains how PA is helping clients to create value from data using technology-enabled techniques: “It’s about using some of the newer techniques such as social intelligence and gathering data from those sources to provide more information, but also applying it to improve a business […] The skills required to analyse data now are quite different to what they were a few years ago. And of course, we have additional data sources and new data sources.”

When asked whether the conservative approach of many businesses towards technology may be an obstacle in attracting the next generation of talent – who expect mobile technology as standard – Andrew explains: “A number of clients are conservative and probably rightly so in a number of aspects, because there is a balance to be had in investing in and taking up new technology and also ensuring that it’s proven and works in the workplace. 

“As you say, the link between talent and technology is a very important one, and it is one that wider professional services firms will have to address, as we will as a consulting firm […] the generations behind me will be far more tech-savvy than people were when they joined the firm in my era, they will have a demand for technology which is probably more than they expect in the household. 

“So firms like PA will have to ensure that no only do they have the right and leading technologies in place for their consultants to use, but also that we train them to use them to their maximum. I believe strongly that technology and how we apply it to talent, to succession and to career development is extremely important for us a consulting firm.”

For more information on how PA can help your organisation get the most out of IT, click here or contact us now.

For more information on PA's consulting services click here or contact us now.

You can listen to the interview in full here. The interview begins 1 minute into the podcast.

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