App Advisory is really about understanding and solving problems with better systems and processes, facilitated by technology. You’re really looking at what’s going on in the business, what their goals are, and then finding ways to help achieve those goals. It’s not all about the technology providing the solution, you still need processes and people in place that can use the technology.
Once you’ve understood a problem you use your knowledge or research to ascertain whether apps, or integrated app stack solutions, can be used to solve those problems within the budget constraints of the business. You may then offer setup, training, and support services related to the app(s), or app stacks.
A useful way to categorise the type of App Advisory Services you offer is whether they relate to your clients’ administrative or operational problems and processes.
You’ll almost certainly start your App Advisory journey by offering administrative related App Advisory services. This is because:
These are the apps related to the financial processes you already have a good understanding of, and
You’re probably already going to be, or have the skills to be, providing data processing or business advisory services that these apps help with (we covered these in our blog – What is an App Stack?).
You will either:
Use apps to support you in offering services yourself, with the client not being aware of or using the app themselves, except where providing data input (i.e. data capture apps). Or:
If you’re not carrying out the related services for them, you may still advise them on the apps they should use to get to the outcomes they want on their own. Alongside this you might provide setup, training, and support to them.
In either case you need good processes in place that are regularly reviewed and updated, alongside staff that are trained on how to use and improve them.
Operational processes are related to admin and finance processes, but you’ll have less of an understanding of what these processes are because you’re likely working with a diverse range of clients, who will have diverse processes.
There are a number of ‘entry points’ that make it more likely clients to ask you to support them with operational processes.
You may be the only professional advisor that they engage with regularly, and they trust your advice.
There is often crossover between what might be considered admin processes (i.e. invoicing) that you are already supporting clients with (i.e. bookkeeping/management reporting), and what is considered operational (i.e. job management). You’ve already supported them with streamlining aspects of their admin, so they now want you to help with their operations.
This type of App Advisory less related to your existing accounting and tax services. Offering these services is unlikely to lead to much in the way of internal efficiency for you. If you don’t have a process for delivering these service then there’s a good chance it’ll cost you more than you gain.
Advising businesses around operational processes carries more risk because these are systems which are more likely to be vital to the immediate effective functioning of the business. If they go wrong then the business is more likely to suffer loss of customer goodwill than they would if admin processes went wrong. For instance if the bookkeeping goes wrong then it can be fixed later and the customer isn’t impacted, but if the customer can’t place an order because the system isn’t working then they might not come back again.
Because of that it’s really important that any recommendations for system change are fit the needs of the business, and are implemented properly.
If you want to offer operational process app advisory then start with industries that are more relevant to your client base. Check out our Knowledge Base article on assessing your client base for App Advisory service potential. Use our App Stack Builder to find App Stacks for your client verticals.
Delivering profitable App Advisory Services starts with understanding the services that you could be offering to your clients. We think there are 5 key areas of service provision:
Fact finding or Digital Discovery – Your lead assessment tool
System Reviews / Process mapping / Scoping – Understanding your clients processes and requirements
Research & evaluation – Discovering and documenting apps that may fit the requirements, analysing, and recommending apps to use
Implementation – Planning, testing, training, and using the apps
Support – Helping clients with using apps
Head to our Knowledge Base article for a short video.
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