Decoupling the professional services firm

Business consultant Tim Williams authored a recent LinkedIn post that highlights the emerging trend among professional services firms toward “decoupling,” or consciously separating the high-value services that are scarce from the low-value services that are plentiful. SPONSORED CONTENT

August 16, 2014 |
Steven Burns

Illustration: bplanet via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Business consultant Tim Williams authored a recent LinkedIn post that highlights the emerging trend among professional services firms toward “decoupling,” or consciously separating the high-value services that are scarce from the low-value services that are plentiful. 

He references advertising agencies, which differentiate between “magic” services (problem-solving work such as concept development, strategic planning and recommending new marketing initiatives) and “logic” work (the production, execution and implementation side of the business). 

While both of these service areas are important and must be done well, they are valued in vastly different ways.

The client view is that advertising production services can be procured using the same methods and procedures as office supplies, because most production work is standardized, repeatable and widely available. “Magic” services, in contrast, are not standardized, repeatable and widely available.

“In law, ‘magic’ services are still provided by expensive firms in expensive cities, but ‘logic’ services like discovery work and contract review are being done by lower-cost talent in lower-cost geographies,” he writes. “Accounting, architecture and IT services are all being decoupled in the same way, due to the same dynamics.”

Williams observes that many firms fight mightily to continue to provide their clients with both the high- and low-value services, which they proudly point out they can do as a full-service firm, all under one roof. 

“Worse, many of these firms bundle these services together with a blended hourly rate, which is the absolute worst solution because it makes the ‘logic’ work much too expensive and the ‘magic’ work not expensive enough,” he continues.

He advocates that professional services firms innovate their business models, taking inspiration from the progressive firms that are choosing to proactively disrupt themselves, often by turning their firm into two different brands. 

“Because if we don’t do it, the buyers of our services will do it for us,” he warns.

Read more on LinkedIn. 

Editor's note: This is sponsored content. The text was provided by the sponsor company.

Steven Burns | The Business Behind Design

Steven Burns, FAIA, spent 14 years managing the firm Burns + Beyerl Architects, during that time the firm’s earnings grew at an average rate of 24% per year. After creating ArchiOffice®, the intelligent office, project management and time tracking solution for architectural firms, Steve took his management expertise to BQE Software, where he is refining their business strategy and product development.

Related Blogs

Why employee advocacy is key to social media success
December 07, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

Employee advocacy is key to boosting social media engagement, and employee advocacy is about more than just...

5 ways to bring data into marketing and business development
November 30, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

Here are five ways to use data to enhance the client acquisition process

The benefits of selling your firm to employees

Other benefits of selling a firm to employees is the opportunity to mentor the next generation of employees and providing your clients with continuity. Photo: Flickr/401kcalculator.org

November 17, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

One business advisor recommends professional services businesses to develop a group of employees who are wi...

November 02, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

Hiring for culture fit doesn’t mean hiring people who are all the same

August 25, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

By analyzing the “benchmark firms” selected from its annual surveys, PSMJ has identified several characteri...

Understanding the values and aspirations of millennials

Only 28 percent of millennials believe that their organization is taking full advantage of their skills, research from Deloitte revealed.

August 20, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

A recent LinkedIn workplace survey revealed that millennials (defined as individuals aged 18–24) are quite...

How to improve project planning
August 11, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

A recent research project revealed that more than 75 percent of project owners have no consistent method fo...

According to research by talent management firm Development Dimensions International, 89% of leaders with strong interaction skills have more engaged teams. Photo: Sebastiaan ter Burg/Flickr

July 10, 2015 | Building Team | The Business Behind Design

Much of what’s written about employee engagement focuses on how leaders can help their employees become mor...

How to earn respect as a leader
June 18, 2015 | The Business Behind Design

Employees will give you minimum effort if the only reason they respect you is for your authority

Add new comment

Your Information
Your Comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Refresh Type the characters you see in this picture. Type the characters you see in the picture; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.  Switch to audio verification.
ttestetes
Overlay Init