Christina Gurgu, Growth Manager
After 20+ years of providing services to clients in various industries, Christina Gurgu joined Fortech in 2021 as a Growth Manager to establish a new strategic direction focused on supporting Professional Services firms.
Her professional experience, customer relationship management skills, and deep understanding of the professional services industry enable her to provide prospects and clients with the support they need to access Fortech’s custom software development services.
Christina enjoys spending time with her family, playing with her cat Max, traveling, gardening, and playing squash.
1. Can you describe your understanding and vision of how technology is adopted within the professional services industry?
The professional services industry is unlike any other:
- it is expertise and knowledge-intensive, whereas other industries rely on tangible products;
- it assists end clients from various industries in managing a specific aspect of their business;
- it is fragmented into many segments (such as consulting, accounting, law, human resources, real estate, education, marketing & advertising, and so on), each with particular needs;
- it is traditional and formal, resistant to change;
- the demand for technology comes from two directions: internal implementation of new applications and assisting clients with digital transformation.
And all these specifics are reflected in the way technology adoption is approached. While there are many off-the-shelf platforms and tools on the market, many professional services firms decide to use custom-developed software to ensure the technology fully responds to their and the clients’ specific needs.
Technology adoption in the professional services industry is still in its early days but will catch up quickly to keep up with increasing client expectations and budget pressures. Professional services firms are dedicated to achieving digital agility and are putting forth significant effort to develop the best strategy and implementation plans.
2. What do you see as the biggest challenges professional services firms experience when considering and implementing new technologies?
I see three major categories of constraints professional services firms experience when looking into new technology implementation:
- Strategy: Due to the highly competitive landscape and the client fee pressure, budget constraints frequently affect technology investments in professional services firms. In some cases, the partnership structure and dividend policy may make it difficult for partners to allocate short-term profits to long-term investments. Furthermore, some small and medium-sized firms lack a defined vision and strategy for structured technology adoption.
- Internal constraints: The shortage of skilled IT resources and the rapid pace of technological advancements further hinder the adoption of new technologies. Also, technology solutions may not always work well with current systems or procedures. And getting stakeholders’ buy-in might be difficult in some situations, as assessing the ROI of digital transformation projects can be challenging.
- Technology solution providers: There are too many IT players to evaluate, making it difficult for professional services firms to select the best partner for their requirements. Furthermore, many “ready to use” solutions only cover a portion of what is required.
3. What is the role of the tech partner in the professional services industry?
Internal teams of professional services firms often lack the resources and expertise needed to work on complex technology projects. As a result, seeking the help of an IT partner such as a software development company is the most practical answer because the advantages are numerous: they can provide a fresh perspective, specialized knowledge, and skilled resources, speeding up the process and even generating cost savings.
Tech partners play a crucial role within the professional services industry. According to the research we conducted among professional services firms, 90% of our respondents have used and/or are using external software partners – whether to supplement in-house skill sets or during peak load periods, to license commodity products, to develop innovative or proprietary platforms, to address client needs, or to respond to internal team requirements.
4. What are professional services firms looking to obtain by implementing new technologies?
Professional services firms deal with massive amounts of client data, and to a large extent, the processes consist of manually handled tasks.
By implementing new technologies, professional services firms want to take advantage of the benefits generated by technology adoption. Some want to transform business processes, but most of them seek to simplify tasks, optimize workflows, automate redundant work, ensure consistency and efficiency, and keep up with their peers.
But there are also some professional services firms (the forward-thinkers) that aim to innovate and develop technology-based products, resulting in a broader service portfolio, new revenue streamlines, and improved services for their clients.
5. Can you briefly describe a project that Fortech delivered to a professional services firm?
An excellent example would be the complex web-based benchmarking and cost-engineering platform we worked on for a consulting firm. The platform is used by both – consultants on client projects and end clients based on a subscription.
The first request was to provide full-time maintenance, including technical support, bug fixes, and minor enhancements. Later, the client chose to broaden the scope of the project and requested assistance in extending and adapting the platform to be used in other industries.
Throughout the seven years of collaboration, Fortech:
- enhanced the platform by adding new modules;
- brought significant performance improvements by fixing a large set of bugs;
- ensured reliable development by adding testing procedures;
- onboarded users for new end-customers.
For more insights, take a look at the case study, and don’t hesitate to contact us for more details.
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