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Broadening Horizons: Automation and “Hybrid” Strategic Consulting

Content sponsored by IAG (Independent Automation Group)

As all businesspeople already know, the year 2020 has brought major changes. We were able to experience things we hadn’t even seen before and discover solutions that had been with us for a long time, but only now could we understand their real benefits. One such area is the use of video conferencing, which used to be despised by managers, but is now a permanent part of our toolbox. And despite quarantine rules being having been lifted in most regions, this tool has stayed put. This, in turn, creates a serious competitive situation in the market, as in the professions where physical presence is not required, competitors are not just local; competitors from other countries and other continents have appeared. This process is also gaining momentum in the field of automation.

The easy choice

Nowadays, more and more people hear from business decision-makers that “a video meeting is ideal”. Understandable. Managers are past the first baby steps, the initial fearful attempts, and by now everyone has learned to handle this technology safely. In addition, during the learning process, it was hard not to notice how much simpler and more efficient it is to not have to travel for hours due to a half-hour or even an hour-long discussion. Of course, this does not mean that personal contact is no longer important. Hardly! With the advent of video conferencing, personal relationships have become even more important, as today two businesspeople meet when they really want to get to know each other, not when the need arises. Although globalisation has taken on a great deal so far, we still like to stick to traditions – this adhesion level depends on the generations – and when it comes to cooperation, the partner we believe is more accessible always seems to be a better solution. The emphasis here, of course, is that we believe the physically closer partner is readily available, so we are often disappointed in our own decision. After all, traveling within a given continent is no longer a great novelty, and with the return of normal life, it is not an impossible mission to get from one continent to another. Obviously, there is a priority among the continents of where you can really travel from and who you can trust in a potential business in this regard. In addition, for a business, a business acquired from a remote location is somehow always more special, so the partner can count on top-notch support and a really high level of service. It all works emphatically in those sectors where an operational presence is not constantly required, and strategic work is more important in terms of end results.

Hybrid automation consulting

This sector is ripe for consulting. It’s no coincidence that businesses are looking bolder and with a broader horizon if they want to find a solution to a current challenge. This is especially true for projects where an internationally unique solution is needed. Today’s modern manager already focuses on the content and quality of the service that can be obtained, and location -– as a decision-making aspect – is pushed into the background. We could say that advice can be given from afar, but this is not true in itself, at least not on a professional level. On the other hand, after proper personal contact, discussion, location, and situation assessment, consulting is really a strategic job, about which most of the discussions are now taking place via video. Not only because of the distance, but people within the same city are still choosing this solution mostly due to time efficiency. It’s an old saying, but it’s true that time is money, and if it’s true somewhere, it’s definitely consulting. That is, partners use this opportunity wisely, and consultants are also happy to be able to focus on a specific task and not travel hundreds or thousands of miles with minor questions or a general report. In terms of the digital nature of automation, it has moved more easily towards “hybrid” consulting. The explanation is simple: customers do not want to see professionals, but technology that works efficiently and safely. And experts know the extent to which this requires a physical presence or just a video discussion. Nowadays, it is more suspicious for the customer if many people from the professional side are physically present because it always raises questions about whether the work is really going well. After all, the real professional focuses on the task, they speak when they have something to say, and then leave if they are not needed. They want to go without a question, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It is important that the “hybrid” solution can really work in the case of automation, as it is a very dynamically developing business. Here, strategic-level expertise is still very rare and doesn’t focus on one location, so partners are happy to be able to achieve a truly professional background without caring about how many kilometres the solution comes from. And it is already the job of the consulting company to make the distance feel minimal so partner will feel secure throughout the project. But to be sure, it doesn’t have much to do with the profession in terms of how many hours it takes to travel to an appointment.

Several sectors can rightfully claim that they are the winners of the change of mindset that has taken place over the past year and a half, but automation, especially strategic automation consulting, is definitely on the podium.