Business Outlook in 2020
The 2020 middle market outlook will be the year of the customer, talent and economic climate according to the C-suite executives surveyed across the nation in LBMC’s third annual Business Outlook Survey.
Leaders are laser focused on digital transformation, business intelligence and talent development with a keen eye on the national and global economic landscape in 2020. Confident in their capitalization and current talent pool, they are investing strategically on improving productivity and efficiency of current products/services unlike last year’s focus on expanding to new locations and entering new markets.
We see a slight projected decrease in the rate of employment as well as a decrease in increasing compensation looking at alternatives like flexible work schedules and enhanced benefits to attract and retaining talent.
While there was strong growth in 2019 at 80% and anticipated a growth in 2020 83%, we see a strong increase in companies showing signs of slowing with one exception might be where private equity is involved and an increase in savings efforts or tightening of the belts until the election on the national front and global economy stabilization.
Changes in Technology Shape Customer Experience
Advances in technology, from artificial intelligence to cloud computing to the ever-increasing use of mobile devices, is radically reshaping the core activities of business as well as the client experience companies are having with professional services firms.
Perhaps the most fundamental change is the automation of complex and repetitive tasks via artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and innovations in software. That creates the opportunity for professional services firms to focus more on being a trusted advisor and less on processing information. While professional services firms have always served as advisors, the increasing focus on that activity should prompt a beginning-to-end review of the firm’s operations and the needs of clients to determine what they expect from a trusted advisor and how to deliver it. Fundamental changes in firm culture may be called for.
Companies across virtually all industries are also having to address the reality that customers are increasingly using mobile devices to access information, and professional services is no exception. Firms must insure that their mobile sites provide outstanding value, both in the information they can access as well as their ease of use.
Advances in technology never stop, of course, so in their review of the client experience, firms may wish to consider not only how today’s technology is reshaping their role, but also what tomorrow’s changes, such as block chain, may mean.