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Is anyone seeing a trend back toward in-person Professional Services delivery?
Hi All -
Have you seen any indication of trends from clients whether a return to in-person professional services (PS) delivery is anticipated in 2020, or is the sense that clients will expect PS providers to continue to work remotely indefinitely? If the latter, what does this mean for ensuring client requirements are best understood by all parties, as well as impact on standard ways of working/delivering PS and PS deliverables?
There are a few questions/discussions already posted on topics very similar, but not quite the same - appreciate any insight you all can provide specific to client expectations/trends for 2020!
If you include Education Services into PS then my answer is: Yes. Our training partners are working accross Europe in opening back their classroom training. All those partners are working accross the industry (not only for us), and they are seeing strong requests in general to re-open the classrooms. This trend started last week. As I understood they all expect a slow opening in July to try out how things will work and then launch fully towards end of Q3 if this is accepted. I was last week surprised, when I heard about this. But when reflecting about this I thought about the fact that the de-lockdown in Europe is moving forward quite fast in some countries. So, this seems to be a logical consequence.0
Our larger customers have told us that they will only be allowing consultants on site if there is absolutely no other way to provide the service. Training, business consulting will all remain virtual through 2020. They are not allowed to attend conferences this year. This is true of companies located in the US, Canada and the UK. These companies are mostly in the medical technology, industrial IoT and business software companies.1
Though there are obviously big variations in protocols by country, I don't see onsite PS coming back in the US any time soon, except for some essential service examples. I recently did a webinar on "The Art, Science, and Technology of Virtual Service Delivery" that talks about some of the challenges to remote and virtual PS: http://www.tsia.com/webinars/the-art-science-and-technology-of-virtual-service-delivery0
In our EMEA operation we've planned to be fully remote until February 2021. Our customers are largely still remote, although they anticipate a controlled return to offices here from September onwards. But in discussions with HR and the consulting team themselves, no one feels comfortable with the thought of travelling, staying away and working in different environments week after week. All non-customer travel has been suspended until the end of the year as well as conference attendance.
Remote working proved viable for us, once the initial shock of change wore off and people began to realise we would be working in new ways for some time. We've probably had to be more creative with structuring and planning projects - definitely more agile delivery happening as well as some non-billable time to keep customers on track.0
I have seen companies in Europe (France, Belgium, Germany) deciding to go 100% back into the office already July. I also heard that governments (e.g. Belgium) to not have people working remotely in the future, but everybody going back to the offices (but there is no final date). I also have a first confirmed smaller conference (SPI²) that will happen in person in September in Germany (with a posibility for virtual participation for people not being able / not wanting to travel).
So, I think the speed accros the world and also within Europe will not be the same in each and every country and companies need to act based on local speed. Once we have clients going back to the office we have to assume that in those areas there is a certain security already around COVID19, and I would think we all have to follow the local habits. Putting the facts above together would not rectify a "PS is only virtual" nor a "PS must be F2F" accros multiple countries.0