About Services Virtualisation
Services virtualisation is transforming the consulting industry by enabling the capture of existing knowledge and intellectaul assets in new ways, enabling the creators to earn revenue each and every time their intellectual property used. See below for our whitepaper on Services Virtualisation
Services Virtualisation Whitepaper (Abridged)
This document was created with HyperQuestions - Services Virtualisation Technology
Services virtualisation is an approach to delivering the benefits of a consulting service, without the need for the expert to spend time delivering the service.
Services virtualisation has been demonstrated to enable consulting firms to dramatically expand the price points, type of service and jurisdictions in which it operates, without the need to hire staff. This has been achieved by taking existing services and utilising a virtualisation platform to develop an interactive, logic-based questioning process and deploying it in a global services virtualisation marketplace. The field of services virtualisation has emerged as the development of software and artificial intelligence-enabled end-customers to obtain consultant like outcomes by either using a less qualified consultant or employing their DIY technology experience to undertake a virtual consultation themselves.
Why should you care?
Because services virtualisation has been proven to dramatically increase the total revenue of services firms by de-linking the typical relationship between time and income. This enhances the ability to further leverage the firm's experience, knowledge and intellectual assets and increase average revenue per consultant.
Numerous successful consulting businesses are spending the time required to virtualise their services. By doing this through utilising a services virtualisation platforms they are able to rapidly build and deploy a set of virtual services through existing and new marketing channels.
Three services virtualisation techniques that have been successfully used by other business are:
1) HyperQuestions - this technology and platform converts logic into questions and content,
2) Manually leveraging survey systems combined with an interface such as a spreadsheet to develop proprietary solutions, and;
3) Developing processes to enable services to be outsourced to lower-cost jurisdictions via BPO.
These approaches have been proven to deliver a new form of revenue that is not linked to time. Once developed, consulting firms are then deploying these services in an accredited marketplace where they retain control of the intellectual property. The marketplace enables them to benefit from the combined power of international marketing machinery and network of delivery consultants, enabling them to earn revenue without spending time.
Services virtualisation typically starts delivering results when the consulting firm has invested a few hours to understand how the platform can virtualise their services. Most platforms offer a free trial period, to enable the virtualised service to be designed, following the trial period there is often a monthly fee per service (for hosting and platform maintenance) a document output fee (system processing) and a marketplace fee to recover the cost of global promotion. When services virtualisation is taken seriously, as a new line of revenue, most firms start making additional revenue within 2 weeks of the development and testing, with some firms reporting that the new revenue stream exceeded that of their original business within 2 years.
Services virtualisation can be used on any service that involves interaction with a client results in a deliverable. Ideally, when selecting a candidate for services virtualisation, one would specifically consider those services that are repeatable and can be marketed in volume. For example; a service to create a strategic plan for religious insurance companies maybe a little too specific to result in significant revenue. With an appropriate services virtualisation platform, you should be able to cater for a broader range of potential requirements. Hence consider either a strategic planning process for insurance or a strategic planning tool for not-for-profit organisations.
Services virtualisation offers a way to transform the economics of a services business, disconnecting time from income, and therefore enabling the optimal services business model of 1/3 wages, 1/3 Admin and 1/3 profit to be transformed by either reducing or eliminating the wages and reducing the administration cost through the use of a services virtualisation platform and enabling customers to interact directly with a virtual consultant via a global services marketplace.
Services Virtualisation makes sense when your consulting business offers one or more services involving consultation, judgement or expertise and deliverable. Most firms that benefit from virtualisation are currently delivering services within their nearest capital city or within a 3-hour flight. An ideal candidate for services virtualisation would be a volume service where the delivery team has a depth of experience in understanding client issues and potential recommendations. Ideally, consider virtualising a service that would have applicability more broadly than your current target delivery radius. Additionally by offering the service in non-competitive jurisdictions at a range of lower price-points should drive an increase in the volume of services purchased. To cater to this market a focus should be given to design the solution in a way that is internationally portable. This means that the services business can expand beyond normal resourcing and geographic barriers, becoming a global services business without the usual drawbacks of expanding staffing and having international teams that require training.
To build commitment to services virtualisation it is critical to determine if reducing reliance on time-based billing is critical for the business as it moves beyond 2020. A clear business plan can help to determine the strategic fit and to quantify the benefits driving a strong commitment to change and ensuring appropriate resources are allocated to drive success. Services virtualisation delivers the best return on investment when a consulting firm dedicates resources to identifying relevant services related to their skill set to virtualise (based on market research) and then specifically develops these services with a global marketplace in mind (transcending compliance requirements of each country). Services virtualisation can be used to virtualise almost any service, however, developing a clear scope of the tool helps set the usage context and drive continuous customer satisfaction. When selecting and designing your tool, determine if you plan to deploy it as a) an internal productivity tool, b) as a method of expanding your team or c) as a way of offering your services at a lower cost to a broader cross-section of the market. A method of understanding the usage profile should be built into the tool development platform and will help you to select services, determine scope and design and build your tools. Services virtualisation has delivered real results for consulting businesses because it utilises technology to either virtualise services or support consultants in service delivery, ensuring substantial productivity increases (A 10X reduction in the time taken to produce a deliverable), or to enable people to have a virtualised interaction (similar to having an interactive conversation with a consultant) and then directly producing an expert quality deliverable.
Services virtualisation, when utilised correctly, will fit into your overall business strategy as the core driver of business growth. It doesn't rely on your current market or marketing approaches and therefore can enable you to obtain a step-function increase in revenue and or profitability. The core elements of a successful services virtualisation strategy are diverse;
- A consulting firm could choose to use a services virtualisation platform to drive a 10 fold increase in the productivity of their consulting team,
- Reduce the skill level required for consultants to deliver a service, or;
- Increase the quality and consistency of deliverable production.
Further strategies relate beyond internal consulting teams to third-party consulting firms or even facilitating a virtual interaction with the client themselves (no consultant required). Successful small and large consulting firms are developing a clear strategy to diversify their revenue from time-billing and then appointing a Virtualisation Manager (often part-time Initially) to ensure that the virtualisation strategy is not de-railed by operational (Business As Usual) or the need to focus on billing-related activity to meet utilisation targets.
Individual consultants and consulting firms can expect to see a return on services virtualisation i once their service has been tested and deployed on at least three consulting engagements, the duration is heavily dependent on the consulting service offered and the frequency with which those services are undertaken.
Services virtualisation is being adopted by a broad cross-section of the services industry from small one-person firms to large top-tier firms. The driving force behind the change is the need to compete, grow and specialise on a service line, often requiring a greater international scope. Consulting firms can get started with a services virtualisation strategy by identifying your requirements and which virtualisation platform best meets your requirements (facilitates the creation of the services you are seeking to deliver).
- HyperQuestions have been designed to facilitate virtual consultations that produce the following content types: Agreement/Contract, Assessment/Analysis/Report, Chatbot, Compliance/Policy Document, Creative Content, Decision/Selection/Recommendation, Diagnostic, Email/Newsletter/Communication, Essay/Article/Blog Post/EBook/Book/Narrative, Guide/Problem Solver, Historical Documentation of Fact, Interactive Checklist, Interactive Interview, Proposal/Potential Scenario, Requirements/Scope/Charter, Simulator, Strategy/Plan or Future Scenario, Technical Documentation, Training Program/Curriculum/Policies and procedure documentation. A major driver of the need to virtualise services is a demand on the client-side to reduce the risk of cost-over-runs, shifting from time and materials billing to a fixed price arrangement. The result is that those that are still delivering services the old way (and taking 10 times longer) will no longer be able to compete.
Services virtualisation has been developed to bring service delivery into the 21st century, enabling services firms to obtain a return every time their intellectual property is used. The top 5 reasons you should use services virtualisation are
- That it is cost-effective to try (Most platforms enable you to build your first virtual service at no charge
- Building a virtual service is much faster than just delivering a one-off service
- You will build additional value in your firm as you are capturing intellectual assets that currently reside in the heads of staff (who can walk)
- The potential revenue opportunities are substantial (possibly even greater than your current revenue)
- 5) Everyone else is doing it and if you don't you will be left as the only firm delivering services the old-fashioned way, making your firm less competitive.
Leading consulting businesses are embracing new technology that enables them to work less and earn more. Some have moved to virtualised service only delivery models and their core team are now exclusively focused on building virtualised services, rather than directly servicing clients directly. They have found liberation in “working for themselves” rather than being beholden to the whims of clients. These firms have been most successful when they focused on developing numerous different virtual services for global markets (facilitated by a proven virtual services marketplace). Additionally many have experimented with different delivery modes (phone, virtual voice, virtual text on mobile, virtual text on desktop, etc). The technology has been proven to transform the level of effort required to deliver a service to a customer. A project that would currently take 10 days of effort to deliver will now take just 1 day, therefore if you are able to sell the service in volume at 50% your current fee, you will increase your revenue by 5 times, and our your profit by more than 5 times. Services virtualisation has now been proven in 52 countries around the world and opens up your services to the rest of the world, making you a knowledge specialist rather than someone who is continually reacting to client demands.
Don’t delay, start your virtual services journey before a client calls and distracts you.
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