The future of professional services lies in amplifying networks


In all my extensive work in professional services, I have long focused on the powerful role of networks in success and value creation. The central role of networks in professional services is now being amplified even further.

This is one of the points that came out in the fascinating conversation I had with Daniel Newman, Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and Hans Kroes, Global VP and Head of the Industry Business Unit for Professional Services at SAP in a webcast on Transformative Trends Influencing the Professional Services Industry. 

You can watch the full webcast below. More comments on the intensifying role of networks in professional services below.

One of the most important points is that we must understand professional services firms fundamentally as talent networks. If they are not richly networked then they are essentially a set of individuals, and there is no value to dealing with the firm with its overheads rather than a best-of-breed professionals. Firms amplify the value of their professionals by how they connect them so they can share knowledge, learn from each other, and complement each others’ skills to create composite value.

As we world becomes increasingly complex, no organization can have all the talent required to deal with the most challenging problems. Even the largest firms need to access external networks in order to fully meet their clients’ needs. A good example is Deloitte Pixel, which offers ‘enterprise crowdsourcing’ to its clients, tapping the best and most relevant talent in the world to service its clients.

This requires rich networks not just inside the firm, but also beyond. The nature of these networks is not just one of connection, but also one of trust, the ability not just to know who to draw on, but to get them to want to participate in your projects.

Firms must also structure themselves and work to amplify the value of connections between themselves and their clients. They must help their clients be better networked, and build stronger and more interlaced ties between the capabilities of both organizations. All the highest-value professional engagements are designed as co-creation, generating outcomes that neither professional firm or client could create on their own.

Economies and societies are becoming ever-more intensely networked. This creates enormous opportunities for the professional firms that have the capabilities to amplify value-creating networks, within their firms, extending to global talent networks, with their clients, and across industries.