The 2017 State of the Services Economy Series: An Introduction to the Service Level Economy

Nov 17, 2016

The 2017 State of the Services Economy Series: An Introduction to the Service Level Economy

I see more opportunity for businesses in the services sector than at any other time in my 30 years of experience in related industries. Economic forces are driving a tremendous amount of demand for a myriad of services.During the last decade, the workforce has shifted dramatically as companies are required to act more quickly while being more nimble than ever before. To compete, high-performing businesses have created a more fluid workforce by strategically leveraging external service providers in increasingly large numbers, and developing a go-to network of on-demand contractors and vendors. These “talent networks” have given companies the ability to scale at will.

The Future is A Networked Economy

The benefits of this network workforce model are compelling. External providers allow a business to better engage the right skills and resources at the right moment, and reduce large investments of time and costs associated with recruiting, training, and managing resources and careers for company personnel. Organizations, therefore, can stay lean and focus on their core business while leveraging highly specialized expertise that drives their businesses forward. It’s a model that maximizes flexibility and speed while optimizing costs — networked business for a networked economy.

Opportunities for the Services Sector

Today, the global professional services industry represents a staggering, $3 trillion commercial opportunity. For most businesses, taking advantage of the opportunity has proved challenging. Saddled with antiquated business systems, processes, and inadequate frameworks for managing high-performance, services providers struggle to adapt quickly to this new world order. It’s an intersection of disruption and transformation.

Growing Anxiety Amongst Service Leaders

I speak with services leaders every day and what they share in common is an overall sense of anxiety. What used to work just fine has become inadequate today. Services leaders know if they can’t figure out how to manage their businesses through these pressing challenges, they will fade. And they’re right.

The State of the Services Report Overview

The State of the Services Economy Report and its underlying market research were driven by our desire to better understand the transformation taking place, and use data to identify the stages of evolution currently facing us. Hundreds of executives from the consulting, IT services, and marketing services industries participated in the survey to talk about their current business practices and share their perception of opportunities and challenges. The results are both illuminating and compelling.

It’s an exciting time. The new Service Level Economyis creating an environment that encourages the elevation of the art and science of professional services. It is a pivotal transformation which will propel us into the next era of business. What is required to compete in this new economy will reshape services firms as we know them, and what will emerge are highly efficient, scalable, networked, and geographically-diverse organizations. We view this data and findings as a manifesto for change. We hope it serves you well as you begin your journey into the Service Level Economy.

Research from our State of Services Report suggest that the services sector will soon experience…

1. Uncharacteristic growth in 2017.
2. Pressures from increased competition.
3. New practices and models to fit a new global landscape.
4. Shorter client engagements, and a shift to project-based work.

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