Digital Transformation key to Reaching Business Ambitions

Deltek report finds appetite for AI investment and integration is high, with embracing digital transformation key to achieving business goals

Digital transformation represents a fundamental shift in the way businesses operate, interact with their customers and compete in the global marketplace. By embracing the power of data, cloud computing, AI and other cutting-edge technologies, businesses can unlock opportunities for innovation, efficiency and competitive advantage.

According to Gartner, digital transformation can refer to anything from IT modernisation to digital optimisation to the invention of new digital business models. Organisations choose to implement digital transformations for a variety of reasons, often motivated by the desire to remain competitive and relevant in a rapidly evolving digital world.

Now, research published by Deltek has found that professional services businesses are optimistic about growth opportunities and plan to invest significantly in technology to realise their ambitions. In the latest research: Deltek Clarity Trends and Insights for Architecture, Engineering and Consulting Firms, the majority of project-based businesses (84%) expect to increase profits in 2024, compared to 71% saying the same in 2023.  

Digital transformation, the report says, is key to realising these growth ambitions, with 67% stating they will not lose market share if they make significant progress in this area.

Firms are rapidly embracing AI 

AI has emerged as a game-changing technology that professional services firms are rapidly embracing. According to research by Deltek, an overwhelming majority of firms (98%) are leveraging traditional AI and machine learning (ML) techniques, while a staggering 97% claim to be utilising generative AI (Gen AI). The expectations surrounding AI's transformative potential are high, with 74% of firms expressing confidence that investing in AI will expand the range of services they can offer to the market, and 41% believing that successful implementation will boost profits. 

Consequently, around three-quarters (74%) of firms believe that investing in and successfully implementing AI will grant them a significant competitive edge. However over two-thirds (75%) of firms express extreme or somewhat significant concerns about their competitors implementing these technologies at a faster pace. 

Futurist and strategic business and technology advisor, Bernard Marr, cautions against rushing into AI investments: “In addition to the findings from Deltek highlighting the appetite to implement AI and the pressures to do so fast and gain first mover advantage, firms must not take a scattergun approach to their AI investment and sign up to the next new craze. It’s vital to set objectives and benchmarks to identify where new technologies will really move the needle. With the rate of evolution in the AI space, businesses could, in theory, be updating their strategies almost every week to incorporate new solutions. 

“The key is to understand where inefficiencies are, where technology can aid people in their jobs to streamline operations, and frequently review the effectiveness of solutions against objectives and what is new in the market,” he adds.

Neil Davidson, VP EMEA and APAC at Deltek comments: “Despite optimism in growth opportunities, firms are at risk of not being able to accurately measure their success and understand where they are doing well and where changes need to be made. As projects become more complex, the metrics that firms need to track need to evolve. Investing in Project ERP as a backbone, will provide insight into business metrics, optimisation of processes, and support the productivity gains needed to help firms ensure they stay on-track and can demonstrate success confidently to key stakeholders.

“We are in an extremely exciting time for technological development. As AI becomes more integrated into our daily lives, we will start to see it become an enabler for our jobs, much in the same way as search engines revolutionised knowledge acquisition or video conferencing has advanced connections between multi-national teams. Not only is it a tool for productivity, it is seen as a must-have for advancing business capabilities and is fast becoming a key attraction for top talent looking to do more with their skills, without being hampered by administration.” 

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