Thoughts on ways to improve the management of professional services firms

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Interlude - Things of Interest

A short diversion from my professional mudmaps posts to point to some of the interesting things I have noticed in my screening of the electronic world linked to professional services.

I mentioned in an earlier post that Dilanchian Lawyers & Consultants (Sydney) had launched a new blog, Lightbulb, focused on commercialisation. The site is content rich and therefore of interest to all those with an interest in intellectual property, innovation and commercialisation. However, it is also of interest to all those interested in the use of the web as a marketing device, an area where Noric has very considerable expertise.

One of the common beliefs in professional services - another example in fact of an element in many professional's mental mudmaps - is that professional services is first and foremost a people business and that, consequently, clients will not buy services on-line. Web sites are therefore seen as a device to support other marketing, rather than a client attraction tool in their own right.

Noric's site is therefore interesting, because both the old and now the new site have in fact directly attracted new clients. So the site is worth a browse.

Interesting post on Bruce MacEwen's Adam Smith Esq on the merger between between US law firms Orrick and Dewey Ballantine, interesting because it draws out in a simple way some of the issues involved in a major merger of partner based firms. I looked in a preliminary way at some of the issues in my earlier post on Professional services : mergers, acquisitions and goodwill.

Another interesting post on the Juris sponsored morepartnerincome blog reporting the results of their latest survey of US law firms. To quote: "The disparity in per-partner income between the top performing 25 percent of firms and the rest of the pack is eye-opening. Partners in the top 25 percent earn twice the income of the next quartile and more than seven times the per-partner income of the lowest 25 percent. " As I remember the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, I do not have them in front of me, the position in Australia is somewhat similar for both accounting and law sectors.

I am pleased to see that even David Maister asks himself and others the same type of questions that I ask myself, posing the question in his latest post "Help me with my strategy, please."

In my first post on this blog on 3 July I said: This blog has been created to encourage debate about and to provide information relevant too the management of all professional services firms. With time, I hope that it will develop into a valuable resource.

Two months and 36 posts later I and my Ndarala colleagues are starting to get a feel for some of the challenges involved. This is a business blog. We want to encourage debate and provide information, to share our experiences. But we also want to encourage people to use the services we can offer. In my own case, for example, assisting firms at both the strategic and business improvement levels.

A core challenge lies in making the blog interesting and useful to a diverse audience.

How do we get individual professionals to read the blog when so many see management as someone else's responsibility? How do we balance the need to keep the blog interesting and readable for a general audience and yet provide the depth on particular topics that people really need if our material is to help them solve specific problems? How do we overcome the silo divides between professional sectors so that people can see linkages and draw lessons?

I do not pretend that we yet have answers to these questions. For the present we are simply trying to build content on particular topics such as the series on people management, while also adding in shorter more current posts.

With time, we hope that we will attract both browsers (regular visitors who are interested in seeing what we have to say and perhaps contributing their own thoughts) and those who want to use the site to follow up particular topics as required.

No comments: